Apple Feni cocktail 

I like to fish and I like to drink cocktails, so when I saw a fish-shaped spirit bottle at our local liquor emporium, on sale no less, I had to have it. I then read up on feni, which is a liquor made in Goa, India from cashew apples, the fruit of the more famous (around here, anyway) nut. It has a very strong taste and aroma, and I thought for a cocktail that I would lighten it with apple. Even with the added apple flavour, the nut taste comes through. The liquor I used is called Fish and Feni; apparently fried fish and feni go together like a horse and carriage.

  • 1 oz cashew apple feni
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz apple vinegar drink (purchased, as I did, in an Asian grocery, or you can make an apple shrub)
  • 1/4 oz apple syrup (purchased, or recipe here)

Shake well over ice and strain into cocktail glasses.

Caramelized Pineapple Mai Tai

Don’t pay the ransom – I’ve escaped! I know I have not been posting cocktails on this blog for awhile. It’s summer and that means other stuff is getting done. But it has been hot, and my mind went to classic hot weather cocktails like the Mai Tai. It gets a bad wrap because of tiki chic and paper umbrellas, but it is a great summer drink. I heard on the Mixology Talk podcast about a Mai Tai made with caramelized pineapple purée, and I have been dreaming about it since then. I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for the pineapples and just whizzed them in my blender, syrup included. Feel free to order the purée though if you are in the U.S., which I am not. I used two kinds of rum, orgeat syrup, Cointreau, lime juice and ginger bitters to round out the drink. 

  • 1 oz aged rum
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 1/2 ounces lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup
  • 2 heaping teaspoons caramelized pineapple purée
  • Three healthy shakes of Dillon’s ginger bitters

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; strain into a wine glass filled with ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Vanilla Ice cocktail

Not named after that guy, but after the ingredients. Really. I usually try to avoid making cocktails with difficult to obtain ingredients, but I am quite taken with this ice syrup. It has a lot of possibilities. This is a light refreshing summer drink.

Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Charge with about 1 ounce of sparkling water. Serve with a pretentiously large ice cube.

Ice ice baby! (Okay I had to do it)

Mixology Monday cocktail: North of 7 Rhubarbian

I have been on vacation and neglecting this blog, but it is Mixology Monday time again,  and the theme this month has inspired me to get out and about in my own city. The theme is “hometown hooch” and was set by Stuart Putney of the Putney Farm blog:

One of the best recent developments in the world of cocktails and spirits is the reemergence of regional, craft distillers. And we say “reemergence” because 100+ years ago, before the twin scourges of Prohibition and virtual monopolization “industrialization,” distilling was often a truly local endeavor. Not so long ago, if you wanted some booze, it was often made in your neighborhood and for the tastes of the locals. Sadly, for a few generations, that wasn’t the case… But, quite happily, those days are back… There are literally hundreds of local and regional distillers making some seriously tasty spirits… and now is the time for our monthly online cocktail party to send them some love.

Your quest is simple. Create a new cocktail, or refashion a classic, using your favorite “hometown hooch” (and we can expand the definition of “hooch” to include spirits, liqueurs, aperitifs and beer)… A little local flavor or history on your “hometown hooch” is very welcome.

Now, not very long ago this would have consigned me to a beer-based drink, but luckily, a distillery opened in Ottawa in 2013. Thanks to MXMO I paid a visit to North of 7 this week. Located in a very unprepossessing strip mall, North of 7 may be a no nonsense enterprise but is no industrial hooch factory. Co-owner and head distiller Greg Lipin explained that they wanted to create some good local spirits, affordably and without hype. Inspired by rock-climbing trips to Kentucky, he and partner Jody Miall make vodka, gin, rum, and have a bourbon-profile Canadian whisky in cask that they expect to be ready in 1 1/2 years. The name of the distillery is inspired by where Greg’s cottage in located, near Calabogie north of highway 7, west of Ottawa. I asked about the name of their Illuminati vodka, which is the basis of their juniper-forward gin, and he revealed that it is popular with local “secret” societies. But my interest was mainly with their Triple-Beam gin, named after the scale they use to weight the botanicals, which are locally sourced to the extent possible (we are sadly short of local black pepper!)

And so to the cocktail. Even more local than the hooch is my back garden, where I have a bumper crop of rhubarb. I made a rhubarb syrup this week as well, and decided to do a gin-based cocktail to celebrate late spring. The intense botanicals of the Triple Beam work well here; since the only place this gin is currently available is at the distillery, you can substitute another juniper-heavy gin.

  • 1 1/2 oz Triple Beam gin
  • 1 oz rhubarb syrup (recipe here)
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Shake ingredients well over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Here is the round-up of local hootch cocktails!

Mixology Monday

Victoriana Cocktail

It is Mixology Monday again and for a change I am not weeks early. It is Victoria Day weekend here in Canada. The theme for this MXMO is “I’ll take Manhattan.” I well remember my first Manhattan. My college roommate had a part time resto job and came home all enthusiastic about them. We had cheap whisky, cheap vermouth – I didn’t like it at all. But since my taste buds have refined somewhat with age, it has become a favourite.

Still – how to reconcile such an American theme with Victoria Day? Well, the only way I can – with a typically Canadian compromise.

Victoriana Cocktail

  • 2 oz Dark Horse whisky
  • 1/2 oz Dolin sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Pimm’s #1 cup
  • 1/4 oz black currant simple syrup
  • Few dashes Dillons DSB bitters

Stir in an ice-filled shaker until frosty and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Rule Britannia! Or maybe I should say Cool Britannia!

Here is the wrap-up of all the fabulous Manhattans!

Please visit the web site of our convivial compère, Frederic

Mixology Monday

On Some Faraway Beach (improved cocktail)



In September 2012 I created this drink in honour of Blair’s show of new paintings, and for the Brian Eno tune that inspired the name of the series. I was not really satisfied with it at the time, though, because the drizzled colours sank quickly and the pretty painting effect was lost. However, thanks to the Mixology Talk podcast, I realized that egg whites could save the day. Chris of A Bar Above tested powdered egg white in cocktails and reported they are a good substitute, so if you are concerned about salmonella that is a fine way to go. If you are using powdered egg white (needs to be pure powdered egg white, not meringue powder), reconstitute it prior to using (2 tsp egg white powder in 1 oz water = one egg white). The egg white gives the drink a silky mouthfeel, plus it lets you enjoy the abstract image right to the bottom of the glass.

  • 1 oz Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum
  • 1 oz mango nectar
  • 1/2 oz passionfruit juice
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 5 drops Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 egg white or reconstituted equivalent

Pour ingredients into a shaker without ice and dry shake to incorporate well. Add ice to the shaker and shake until the outside is frosty. Pour into a cocktail glass, then drizzle with 1/2 tsp Blue Curacao and 1/2 tsp real pomegranate grenadine in an abstract pattern.

Grenadine is easy to make at home; the colour and flavour are far more intense than the Roses brand you commonly see in stores. Here is a video on how to make it.

Death and Taxes Cocktail


In Canada the tax deadline is April 30, and I did mine today. Thus this drink, which is a variation on a cocktail called The Taxman. I added the other “certainty” in the form of Death’s Door gin.

  • 2 oz Death’s Door gin
  • 2 oz sour cherry juice (jus de griottes)
  • 1/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/8 oz blood orange bitters