Alta Vista Old Fashioned

Call me old fashioned!

It’s Mixology Monday time again and, as usual, I can’t wait for the deadline to experiment with the theme. This month we were challenged by Laura of Sass & Gin to come up with a newfangled Old Fashioned:

The Old Fashioned is the original “cock tail,” dating to the early 1800′s. In this humble bartender’s opinion, it is the pater familias of all other drinks, and it has taken its place as such in the recent cocktail revival. We have seen many variations of the Old Fashioned (i.e. Mayahuel’s Oaxaca Old Fashioned, PDT’s Benton’s Old Fashioned) and the resurgence of similar cocktails (i.e. the Sazerac). The bitters market has exploded over the last decade, with more flavor profiles than ever before, and with a more health-conscious public, your local grocery store is likely to carry a selection of sugars to play with (agave, coconut sugar, turbinado, etc). So, here’s the challenge: We will be sticking to the traditional ratios of spirit, bitters and sugar, but I’m challenging you to step outside the box with your selections. In addition, how will it be chilled or garnished? Do you want to add a secondary spirit or rinse? Go to town!

I had previously made a blood orange old fashioned and since it is still blood orange season, my thoughts drifted that way again. But things took a bit of an odd turn when I found finger limes in a produce store today. These small, not terribly attractive fruits, when cut in two and squeezed, produce tiny pearls (juice vesicles) that pack a big tart citrus wallop when you bite into them. So I decided to add a bit of lime juice and to throw in the pearls for good measure. So basically this is a riff on a Canadian old fashioned, which uses Canadian whisky, a triple sec and lemon juice.

So here we go:

  • Sugar cube
  • Dillon’s Bitter Lemon bitters
  • Blood orange slice
  • Maraschino cherry
  • 2 oz Canadian whisky
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau or triple sec
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Optional: finger lime pearls

In a chilled old fashioned glass, soak the sugar cube in the bitters and muddle with the blood orange slice and maraschino cherry.  Fill glass with ice cubes and add the whisky, Cointreau, lime juice and finger lime pearls if using. Stir well.

Note that the finger lime pearls will sink to the bottom; when you encounter one, bite it to release its flavour.

The round-up of old fashioneds!

Mixology Monday

Sass & Gin


Old Tomorrow cocktail


There has been a lot of hoopla this past week about marking the 200th birthday of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. It’s easy to idealize this Father of Confederation that we Canadians all learn about in school. Looking back at him with mature, modern eyes leaves me much more conflicted. He was a terrible racist, creating a head tax on the Chinese workers who had been so necessary in the building of the national railway, because he consider them an “inferior species.” He was revealed to have been involved in graft on a major scale to get the railway built at all. But possibly the most reprehensible thing was his treatment of aboriginal peoples, with a ruthless program of assimilation, the results of which are still being felt today. But, back when I studied him in school, the most negative thing that tended to be said about him was that he was “a drinker.” Which is probably the main thing I liked about him, that and the fact that he was such an avid procrastinator, he earned the nickname “Old Tomorrow.” Which brings us to today’s cocktail.

There is an existing Sir John A cocktail, but I could not really figure where the peaches came in. In his part of the country, apples would have been the thing. He was friends with (and received generous campaign donations from) Hiram Walker, and there was plenty of rye whisky around in his day, so although there is no concrete proof that this would have been his tipple of choice, I went with that (it is known he enjoyed wine, the occasional ale and brandy, and that he would drink gin while pretending it was water). This cocktail is made with all-Canadian ingredients; I am sure Old Tomorrow would have wanted it that way.

1 1/2 oz Canadian Club 100% Rye Whisky
1 1/2 oz fresh pressed apple cider (no added sugar)
1 oz good quality sharp ginger beer (I used local favourite, Harvey & Vern’s)
3 dashes Dillons DSB bitters

Stir together in an ice-filled old fashioned glass.

Mixology Monday: Crabapple Jelly cocktail



One of my earliest memories is of sharing an apple with my mother. She would cut slices with a sharp knife: one for her, then one for me. I did not realize at the time that people bit into apples or that she used a knife because of her dentures; I thought this was the way everyone ate apples. My family drove to a local U-pick orchard every fall and it was a major highlight for me. When my husband and I bought our house, I wouldn’t say that the fact it had a crabapple tree in the front yard and a heritage variety apple tree in the back yard was a major selling point, but it didn’t hurt!

So when Frederic of CocktailVirgin set the Mixology Monday challenge this month, I knew I had to take part. This is a variation on two of my earlier cocktails, the Uisge Apple Sour and the Apple Jelly cocktail. I used my homemade crabapple jelly, but you can substitute any nice store-bought apple jelly. I added lemon juice for zip and Peychaud’s for added flavour and colour.

2 tsp apple jelly
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Shake the jelly and juice together over ice. Then add

1 1/2 oz rye whisky
1 oz Berentzen Apfelkorn apple liqueur (you can substitute applejack or Calvados)
1/4 tsp Peychaud’s bitters

Shake well and strain into an ice-filled cocktail glass or, if feeling nostalgic, into a jelly jar. The jelly will likely settle a bit into the bottom of the glass, no matter how hard you shake. Consider it your end-of-cocktail reward!

Here is the MXMO roundup with all of the yummy apple drinks!

Mixology Monday


Canadian Premium cocktail


Earlier this month we heard whisky expert Jim Murray on the radio talking about the best whiskies in the world today, a surprising number of which are made outside of Scotland. He mentioned in passing that we in Canada have one of the top whiskies in the world that we can buy in plastic bottles, very affordably, and it isn’t available anywhere else because we simply don’t market it! He was referring to Alberta Premium rye whisky. I hadn’t bought a bottle in awhile (I was enjoying their Dark Horse rye instead) but in honour of this recognition I did so, and it is super smooth in this tasty end of fall cocktail. It’s a 100% rye, which is a rarity among Canadian whisky these days, even though they are pretty much all referred to as ryes informally.

1 1/2 oz rye whisky (Alberta Premium preferred)
2 oz cranberry juice
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice, fine strained
Generous dash cranberry bitters

Big Black Mariah

“Here comes the big black Mariah,
Here comes the big black Mariah,
Here comes the big black Mariah,
Here comes the big black Ford.”
Tom Waits, “Big Black Mariah,” Rain Dogs

2 oz Dark Horse Canadian whisky
1 oz wild blueberry juice (unsweetened)
1/2 oz Cointreau

Shake over ice and strain into a rocks glass; serve over ice.

Canadian Gold


Canada finished the Sochi Winter Olympics today with a gold in men’s hockey – a match for the women’s. Bars were open and serving at 7 a.m.! This is my small tribute.

1 oz apricot nectar
1 oz Alberta Dark Horse rye whisky

Shake together well with ice and strain into a small wine glass. Top with champagne or sparkling wine,

L-Man Sour


The name comes from a line in “Big Shot” by the Bonzo Dog Band, performed by the unforgettable Vivian Stanshall:

She said: “You’re a man with a thousand Gs, right?”
“A thousand what?” I quipped.
“G-man: girls, guns, guts. You’re my type.”
“Wrong, baby” I slapped her hard. “I’m a ‘L’ man: strictly liquor, love and laughs.

2 oz rye whisky
1/4 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz lime juice
1/3 oz lingonberry syrup