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Pedro’s Festivus Holiday Rumtini!! December 20, 2007

Filed under: cocktails,mixology,tasting — liquorandlibations @ 5:53 pm

So although we’ve been slack at posting since the summer, our dear friend Pedro has asked that we share his holiday miracle cocktail – Pedro’s Festivus Holiday Rumtini. Pedro’s sheer enthusiasm for tasty beverages is the inspiration for this fantastic twist on eggnog. He’s made it tastier and more fresh than you’ve ever had it before. Take time to pull out the shaker and a juicer (or in his case an improvisation with the garlic press) and enjoy. Pedro also cautions that all quantities in this recipe are approximate and that you should experiment at will.

And now, the ladies of Liquor and Libations bring you…

Maui_fall 2007 065



– 4 ounces dark rum – nothing too acidic.The poorer the country and better the packaging, the better.
– 6 ounces fresh squeezed (sweet) tangerine. In the boxes. Yumtini !! I use my garlic press. If it’s clean it won’t affect the taste.
– 6 ounces festive holiday nog. Soy nog can work also for vegerans and anti-lactite hermaphrodites.
– 1 splash of lime cordial. Sweet.
– 1/4 cup fresh strawberries. Or not fresh. Sweet.

Shake heartily in a martini shaker (perhaps shrink quantities by 80%, add 19 of your favourite albums of 2007, and voila! Pedro’s Festivus Holiday Rumtini.

Hope you all have a fabulous holiday season with those you know and love.


MXMO: Blog Love for the Tart Gin Cooler July 16, 2007

Filed under: cocktails,mixology — liquorandlibations @ 2:04 pm

mm-17.gifThis month’s Mixology Monday is all about the love – blog love that is. It’s our chance to post about drinks we’ve tried and sites we love. Summer is the ultimate time for a refreshing cocktail, and we hope you’ve been trying your fair share while basking in the sun on a patio somewhere (or making it ahead and heading to the beach with your thermos). I always look for something refreshing when it’s hot out, and citrus is at the top of that list. Which is why I salute Cocktail Nerd’s Tart Gin Cooler as my drink of choice to send along some MxMo love. Originally crafted by Gary Reagan in both New Cocktail Classics and the Joy of Mixology I particularly enjoyed Cocktail Nerd’s taste test of the two versions. I made version 2 of this cocktail and loved it! but the best part was the revelation that two of my favourite mixers – tonic and grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed of course) are fantastic together.

From the original post:

Tart Gin Cooler ver. 2

  • 2 oz gin
  • 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 oz tonic water
  • Peychaud’s bitters to taste

Build in a collins glass filled with ice and serve.

A revelation! This is a great drink. I put a good sight more Peychaud’s bitters in the drink than in the first version (4-5 dashes) and I believe the reduction in tonic water serves the drink very well. The finish of the drink was much cleaner and crisper and the whole experience was improved from top to bottom of the glass. I still used London Dry gin even though it doesn’t specify it to keep the comparison as even as possible. The additional bitters also provides an additional pink hue to the drink that makes it more attractive (Peychaud’s is a deep rose color). It was also extremely refreshing and perfectly suited to a hot August dusk under the Magnolia.

Now make yourself up a glass of this, and go sit in the sunshine. Happy Mixology Monday!


Oh Canada – The birth of the Caesar June 29, 2007

Filed under: cocktails,mixology — liquorandlibations @ 12:17 pm

clamato.gifWe’re just about to kick off Canada Day weekend up here in the great white north, and while those of us in Vancouver are still praying to Environment Canada to bring us some sunshine, the rest of the country will be at the cottage having some drinks and a barbecue.

So, to send you off on this holiday weekend, we bring you a truly Canadian drink – the Caesar. I’ve been told it’s called a Clamdigger in the US, so if you thought I was talking salad, this name might be a little more familiar to you.

Here’s my favourite way to make it, although everyone seems to have their own variation, whether it be the amount of spice or the type of garnish:

The Caesar

– 2 oz. vodka
– 5 oz. Clamato juice
– 4 dashes Tabasco sauce
– 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
– Celery or seasoning salt
– black pepper (fresh ground only please!)
– A wedge of lime
– A pickled green bean or pickled asparagus

Rim the glass with the lime wedge and celery salt and then add lots of ice. Add vodka, Clamato, Tabasco, Worcestershire and stir. Then grind fresh black pepper to taste and garnish with green bean or asparagus.

I’ve seen many variations of Caesar garnishes. Celery is standard, but I like the pickled vegetables best. I also like mine spicy and strong, so there are two shots of vodka and lots of Tabasco and Worcestershire in this recipe. If you’ve never made it before, you can stick with a couple of dashes to start and then tailor it to your taste.

So where exactly does the Caesar come from?

The cocktail, known in the U.S. as a clamdigger, was invented by bartender Walter Chell at the Owl’s Nest Bar in the Westin Hotel in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1969, to accompany the opening of a new restaurant, “Marco’s”. In its original form, it contained tomato juice and mashed clams; Clamato had only just been released (with the assistance of Chell) by the American Mott’s company that very year, and was not yet widely known or available. Link Wikipedia.

I would hazard a guess to say that the caesar might be the closest thing to Canada’s national drink (although Molson’s would like to have you think we all drink Canadian and run around shouting about it), or it is at the very least, a cocktail we can be proud of. It’s tasty, like the martini it inspires great debate about the best way to make it, and it has quite a kick. They’re also a hangover good cure, and if you’re up in Canada for a visit, don’t be surprised if you see a caesar on the Sunday brunch menu. Happy Canada Day!


drink of the week: an ode to gin June 26, 2007

Filed under: cocktails,drink of the week,liquor — liquorandlibations @ 12:50 pm

Thank you Epicurious for your excellent tribute to gin! Apparently gin is having a 21st century resurgence, but for me it never left as my spirit of choice. This is a great article covering everything from tasting notes on different brands, to how gin is made, to pre-prohibition era styles (London Dry, Dutch-style, and something called Old Tom gin). While I already knew a fair bit about juniper and the other aromatics used in the production of my favourite spirit – thanks to the Bombay Sapphire bottle for piquing my interest – it was interesting to learn more about how gin is made and its sordid history.

From the Epicurious article Gin Blossoms:

How gin is made
Gin begins very much like vodka ends — as a neutral grain spirit — but then is flavored with a world of seeds, spices, herbs, fruits, and roots that are known collectively as botanicals. Some gins are made in the belly of the still; the botanicals are left to soak in the base spirit. As soon as they’ve imparted their flavors, the spirit is distilled and then cut with water to a drinkable strength. Others are made by boiling the base spirits and passing the resulting vapor through a chamber that holds the mix of botanicals. When the steam is cooled back into liquid, it’s gin.

Typically, common flavorings such as angelica, coriander, and lemon peel take a backseat to the piney aroma and flavor of juniper berries, gin’s defining characteristic and the very root of its name. (The word gin is a distortion of genever, the Dutch word for juniper.) Gin’s restored popularity, however, has spawned a flood of new brands, including some — cucumber-and-rose-petal-spiked Hendrick’s Gin, for example — that challenge the dominance of juniper.

And while you can’t go wrong with classics like the martini or the much beloved gin and tonic, the wealth of gin recipes out there should be enough to get even the most seasoned gin drinker inspired to try something new.


A liquid lunch has never been easier June 14, 2007

Filed under: cocktails,tools — liquorandlibations @ 3:13 pm

liquidlunch.jpgVia Liquor Snob, I found this awesome mobile martini set called Liquid Lunch for 2, and while I’m a little worried that Amazon is billing it as a “great wedding gift” it looks like handy idea for picnics or any BYOB party. A portable bar is a cool idea, as not everyone wants to always drink beer or wine at a potluck. If you love making cocktails, why not it’s portable and you can look like 007 when you open up the silver case.

The fact that they named this case the liquid lunch is pretty hilarious. I don’t know about you, but the 3 martini lunch certainly wouldn’t fly around my office, and I work with a bunch of laid back programmers and tech types.

Now all the need to create is another case for you to cart around your booze.


ice cider & Desperados: An Eat Vancouver roundup June 13, 2007

Filed under: events,local,tasting — liquorandlibations @ 12:19 pm

eatvancouver.jpgThis is a little later than I’d hoped, but here is a quick recap of Eat Vancouver. The event was a rousing success – Vancouver’s BC Place stadium was packed with people eating, drinking, collecting copious samples and watching celebrity chefs all while trying to avoid the sea of people and strollers.

We wandered around the whole exhibition, but ended the afternoon at the tasting pavilion and beverage stage. Two things that really caught my eye were Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider and Desperados tequila flavoured beer. The ice cider was very tasty, a little too sweet for me (not surprising considering the sweetness of ice wine), but had a great rich flavour. The tequila flavoured beer was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It was a lot better than I thought, but I can’t say I’ll be drinking it regularly. It did inspire me to start thinking of tequila-beer cocktails, so maybe something good will come of it.

One of the highlights for me was a man on the beverage stage opening champagne bottles with a large machete-like knife. I thought he was crazy until I was searching around Wikihow today and found this fantastic post on how to Open a Champagne Bottle with a Sword, which promises you will:

Amaze everyone at your next social function with le sabrage, or opening a bottle of Champagne with a sword. Napoleon’s officers did it — you can, too! Teaching yourself to “behead” a bottle of champagne isn’t hard, but takes a little practice (and a case or two of cheap bubbly) to perfect.

Sounds exciting, and may just be an idea for my next camping trip – I think a few rounds of practice outdoors might be in order before my next social function.pekka.jpg

One final note on Eat Vancouver, congrats to friend of l&l Pekka Tavela, pastry chef at A Kettle of Fish, who placed third in the Belcolade Chocolate Competition. Yay Pekka!


Sites we love: cork’d June 7, 2007

Filed under: general — liquorandlibations @ 11:44 am

Walking into your local liquor or wine store and blindly trying to choose a new bottle of wine can be a challenge. While some participate in tasting groups to learn more before they buy, others just close their eyes, grab a bottle and hope for the best (and yes, I am speaking from experience). Sometimes you get a winner, and other times you get a bottle of wine better suited for a white wine clam sauce than an enjoyable after work drink on a patio. What it really boils down to is that there is so much choice it’s hard to know what’s good. This is where cork’d comes in.

cork’d is a free site for wine enthusiasts that let’s you rate and recommend what you are drinking. Started over a year ago by a couple of wine loving designers, the site is easy to use, very well designed, and provides a great jumping off point to learn more about wine. The site now has over 20,000 users and was recently acquired by Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV.

If you love wine and you haven’t yet checked out cork’d, go set up your free account and get tasting. Here’s how it works:

Keep track of wines you’ve tried in your Wine Jounal. You can rate, review and tag wines, and these “tasting notes” end up attatched as comments to each wine in our database. You can also build a Shopping List of wines you’d like to buy (think of this like you would a Netflix queue), and a Wine Cellar for wines that you own. Keeping track of what your friends are tasting is as easy as adding them as a Drinking Buddy. You can also recommend wines to your buddies after you’ve rated and reviewed a bottle.

Whether or not you’re a wine fanatic, a heavy participant or a lurker, you will find something of interest on this site. If nothing else, one look at Cork’d before you hit the wine store, and you’ll never have to choose blindly again.