Saturday, 29 June 2013


Last Wednesday I went to the Toronto Island and now I'm hooked. Happily, I'll be going back tomorrow for a bonfire on the beach.

Despite the fact that I've been living downtown for two years where the island docks are just a bike ride away, I haven't made the short trip over once. I reasoned that it was a schlepp, not that fun, something I didn't have time for. I was wrong. Going to the island is so rewarding. The atmosphere is warm and relaxed and it's incredible to be in such a drastically different and beautiful environment without even having to leave the city. I came back to the city with the same feeling you get coming home from a great vacation. 

This wine is delicious! (And cheap!) 


Gavin and I spent some time at the beach and then went over to the Island Cafe to see Matthew Bailey and Charlotte Cornfield play a show! It was so nice. Then I rushed off to the Cameron House to see Dear Sister, a band that I recently made a cocktail in honour of! 

It's always nice to have those days when you realize you are happy to be exactly where you are.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Dear Sister Cocktail: Strawberry Rhubarb Smash

I'm so excited to present this next cocktail, inspired by one of my favourite bands Dear Sister.  My boyfriend Lucas Gadke hit the nail on the head when he described them as: "Dreamy folk in the vein of Gillian Welch. Effortless Americana. Two girls harmonizing to the sounds of the south, well beyond their years". 

It was important for me to make a drink with ingredients that blended together as beautifully as the voices of Raven Sheilds and Bri Salmena. I knew the cocktail had to have whiskey in it. Then Raven picked some rhubarb from her garden and presented it to me at the last show. Not only was it one of the most thoughtful gestures I've ever encountered, it was the jumping off point for this delicious drink. 

You can catch them this Wednesday June 26th at the Cameron House. I won't be able to make it. So grab yourself something to sip on, sit back and enjoy this amazing music. 

 To make this cocktail you muddle a lemon wedge, 5 fresh mint leaves and 3 strawberries with 1 oz of rhubarb simple syrup in a shaker. Then add ice and 2 oz of whisky to the muddled mixture. Shake it all together and strain into a glass with a few ice cubes in it. Garnish with a strawberry and mint. 

To make the simple syrup combine 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of chopped rhubarb in a pot on the stove. Let it simmer for half an hour until the rhubarb gets totally mushy and syrup thick and pink. 

Big thank you to Michael Morris for taking these photos, and for single handedly making this drink look like it spilled from the pages of Food&Drink. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

I Think I Need A Drink: The Hanson Brothers Do Beer

The Hanson Brothers were my first concert. I was in the 6th grade, wearing sparkly jeans and a blue crystal bracelet that I lost in the arena and quietly mourned over. I had decided after much thought and consideration that the youngest brother was my favorite since he was the closest one to my age, so there was more of a chance.

Well I grew up and started drinking and turns out they did too! These guys are on their 9th album (or something!?) Who is still listening to them? I would like to meet one person who owns their latest CD. Anyways, they've capitalized on the one song that shattered me into a million little pieces when I was in elementary school. MMMBop. Who could forget that catchy little tune? They've teamed up with Mustang Brewery in Oklahoma to put out this highly marketable IPA. Would you try it?

image sources 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Practice makes perfect punch

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a lot to learn when it comes to the art of mixing great cocktails. I’ve only made one phenomenal libation off the top of my head, and that occurred three days ago, when I combined st germain (elderflower liqueur), Bulliet rye whiskey and lime juice. The balance was just right.

I’ve learned something from making this punch: Follow the recipe. I tried Jen Aggs version from the great book How to Host a Dinner Party by Corey Mintz. I should have put myself entirely in her hands, since Agg is the mastermind behind the Black Hoof’s cocktail menu and has years of experience as a bartender and restauranter. Instead, I was lazy about getting all the ingredients I needed and just went ahead and made a few substitutions. Needless to say, it didn’t work at all! The liquor was sickeningly sweet, and the citrus too sour. It was a headache in a glass.

In the St Germain bartending booklet that came with the bottle, they wrote, “Truly impressive cocktail making is anchored by the art of balancing flavors and subtleties. Take the time to measure each and every ingredient. Exactement! Your guests will pay notice, to be sure. Free your mind, not your pour.” Agg also wrote in the recipe, “Once you’ve got the hang of this, you can experiment with the ingredients, so long as you stick to the ratios. What you could do is take out the mint or the spiced rum, or have all gin and no rum or you could switch out the citrus. You could just do lemon and orange. You can take anything out so long and you replace it with something that adds the same character.” This is where I went wrong.

Punch has always seemed so easy to me. Just pour a bunch of stuff in a bowl and voila! I’ve learned that making punch taste seamless involves “exactement”, since punch recipes can involve the mingling of 10-15 different elements.

Here is the original recipe with my substitutions in brackets (Serves 4)

1 lemon, zest of
1 orange, zest of (I used tangerines ughh)
2 oz gin
3 oz rum (I used a maple spiced rum – extra sweet)
2 oz spiced rum (I used Grand Marnier)
2 sprigs of mint
1 oz Crème de Casis (or simple syrup, fruit puree, maple syrup – I used maple syrup)
4 oz ginger ale
4 oz club soda
2 oz lemon juice
2 oz lime juice
4 oz of orange juice (I didn’t have oranges so I just used more grapefruit juice)
4 oz of grapefruit juice
5 dashes Pechauds Bitters (I used Fee Brothers Peach Bitters)
6 oz of Sparkling wine.

In a mason jar, combine all the liquor and zest and let sit in the fridge for 1-3 days. Strain.
Have all the ingredients chilled to start. Rub the inside of the jar with the mint sprigs. Pour the liquors in. Add the crème de casis, the sodas, and the juices. Stir.
To finish add the bitter and sparkling wine. Stir and top with fresh mint.

I’ll let you know how my next batch of punch goes!

Sunday, 2 June 2013


Right before Lucas left for a six week tour, we were lucky to go up to his cottage for a short getaway. It was really nice to find that after seven months of a solid relationship, I could become even more bonded to him. These pictures were taken when we canoed over to the next lake. We spent the day sipping on beers from Muskoka Brewery, dipping our feet in the water, enjoying the heat on our shoulders, and just talking to each other.  Tomorrow I'm flying to Cincinnati to spend some time with my friend Sam and then I'll be taking a bus to Columbus, Ohio to catch one of Lucas' shows on the tour! I'm excited to see them play off of their third album, released last Tuesday. I'll be back on Monday with a new cocktail! Have a great week. 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Envisioning Eames Chairs

For months I'd been pining after these Eames chairs but I pushed the idea of ownership to the very back of my mind (they weren't in my price range and that was that). But one day, I was on my way to do a mountain of laundry, and I spotted two of the chairs in white at a garage sale. I left my hamper full of clothes with the nice folks and went to the bank to pull out some money, all the while wondering if it was a good idea (to buy the chairs, not leave my laundry with strangers). But now that I own the chairs, I couldn't be happier. They look great and add impact to every nook and cranny of my house which makes it hard to settle on where they should live. These pictures generate a few ideas...

Putting them at the head of the table is a great option considering that I just bought four vintage floral kitchen chairs from the Salvation Army this week. 

I kind of put this picture in because it is the living space of my dreams. But look! There's an Eames rocking chair right smack in the middle (of course there is!)

These chairs are so comfortable they'd make a great office seat. Although, lets be honest, I do most of my work from bed. 

One day I'd like to own an orange one. I'm getting greedy!