Tag Archives: Martini Club

Beaver Love

Lovely Liliana pours us some cocktails made from Gibson’s Finest Canadian Whisky at Roots on Bloor Street

I love to shop, I have the shopping gene:   Thanks, Mama.  It doesn’t matter where either, I can blithely wander the aisles of hardware stores, drug stores, grocery stores, dollar stores.  I am just as happy in Holt Renfrew as I am in Walmart.  I can justify almost any purchase, and by the way, this is why it’s good for you to hire me when you go shopping for a house.  I have all the patience in the world because it’s actually fun for me.  The only time I am disinterested in the retail wonderland is at Christmas.  I hate when it’s early December and someone randomly asks me:  ” Are you done yet?”   Done what?  Don’t make the fine art of shopping sound like a chore.  So in December, I don’t “shop” per se, I acquire crap and wrap it badly and throw it all under the tree that I still don’t have yet, by the way.  Sometimes I don’t even wrap, I just roll it in its own bag and tie it with the ends.  I am a brutal Santa SeeYouNextTuesday.

Last week, however, Roots on Bloor Street had a 25% off all purchases in their store.  Whoopee, is what you are thinking, you probably scratched and saved 30% somewhere and have it all wrapped in paper you bought last year 75% off on December 26.  But!  Upstairs in the General Store, they set up a bar sponsored by Gibsons Finest Canadian Whisky by our friends at the Martini Club, Michelle and Laura.  Now there is a brilliant idea all shops should implement.  I spent 90 minutes in that store going over the merchandise (and back to the bar).  There was lots going on at the General Store and no sticker shock.  Those American Jews know how to make Canada cute and Christmas not seem like a plastic landfill.  Here is what the store looks like, check it out and have fun shopping.  Meet for cocktails when you’re done:

Gibson’s Canadian Whisky: Only in Canada…Pity

Gibson’s Finest Whiskey: something old, something rare. something sterling, and something you might regret later:  pace yourself

I’m a little foggy today.  Last night the girls at the Martini Club in the Distillery District hosted a party featuring Gibson’s Finest Canadian Whisky.  There is nothing more fun than a Martini Club party, last one had me drinking Hendricks gin, and I hate gin, or I thought I hated gin.  What I really hated was the thought of gin, it turns out the actual drinking of the gin is a lot of fun.  And also because Laura and Michelle are incredibly innovative mixologists.  In fact they contribute recipes for the LCBO magazine.  Their current mission is to get women drinking whiskey.  Twist my rubber arm, ladies, I love a brown drink.  Bourbon is very cool and I have created a few interesting cocktails of my own featuring Wild Turkey:  try drinking it with chocolate soy milk, yum!  Last night’s drinks included the classic Manhattan along with some new ideas:  Mint Divine which was lemonade and mint, and True North,  which was a sour mix with blueberry juice and ginger beer.  They also served it with heated apple cider.  Most fun (and educational) was trying the whiskies straight up.  Gibson’s has a range:  Sterling which is great for mixed drinks, the 12-year-old which is barrel aged and ultra smooth, and Finest Rare which is the one you give to your favourite blogger for a Christmas present.  If tequila makes people crazy and vodka makes people promiscuous, then sipping whisky makes you smarter.  Did you know that “whisky” is Scottish English and “whiskey” is Irish English?  I have been spelling it both ways.  Anyway, thanks to Steve Wright, Gibson’s Finest Canadian Whisky Ambassador, and Michelle and Laura for a really fun party and a new appreciation for Canadian Whisky!

Dennis, serving us straight whisky.  Mixing in a bit of water is not considered wimpy, in fact it helps the taste buds by minimizing the burn.

Drinking the Mint Divine:  Gibson’s Finest Sterling shaken with fresh mint, lemonade, and wild cranberries

Kristin’s Gin Soaked Adventure

I never thought I would say this but:  Forget about vodka and George Clooney.  It’s all about gin (Hendrick’s) and Xavier Padovani (Global Gentleman Mixologist and International  Bon Vivant).  First let me preface the story by saying that gin and I have never been very good friends.  Usually the only alcohol we had in the house when I was growing up was a bottle of Beefeaters and when I was in Grade 9 I once poured some in a cup of tea, thinking it would be a good mix because of the British dandy on the bottle.  Well it wasn’t.  And I did drink the whole thing, even back then I wouldn’t waste alcohol.  But that was it for me and gin (gross!) and I would have a Pavlovian barf reaction every time I would smell it.  I wanted to like it though.  Gin drinks are sophisticated and have cool names like the Negroni.  Then last summer at the Roger’s Cup, they were pushing a gin based drink called Pimm’s and it was yum.  I like to go to the Roger’s Cup and not so much watch tennis as hang around in the tent and drink cocktails.  I developed a taste for gin sort of but it only lasted for part of the summer, I forgot about it after Labour Day.  It seems like its one of those Waspy rules where not only that you can’t wear white after Labour Day, you have to switch from gin to scotch.  Then last week,  my gym buddy Michelle Hunt invited me and my friend Lorraine to an event that featured cocktails with Hendrick’s and hosted by “the sexiest man alive”.  How could I say no to free cocktails and a hot guy?  Michelle and her partner, Laura, own the Martini Club http://www.martiniclub.com/ in the heart of the Distillery District.  They cater events and also do the recipes for the LCBO magazine, totally a dream job!  Last night they had a cocktail party featuring Hendrick’s gin http://www.hendricksgin.com/ and their mixologist , Xavier Padovani.  There is something to be said about European men, they’ve got all the mojo.  The party had a very glam 1920s vibe.  We started with what looked like tea (there’s that gin and tea thing again) but was really mulled gin with cinnamon, cloves, and pineapple juice…so gin is not just a summer drink, it was delish!  Then we went on to something called Smash….move over mojto….the Smash is similar but with gin, and replaced the mint with basil.  We also had a martini with cucumber and lemon.  Hendrick’s gin is infused with cucumber which makes it unique and interesting.  Cucumber and booze have a perfect symbiotic relationship because cukes are so watery and fibrous, they also work well in the morning as slices over the eyes to reduce puffiness.  I think I had 4 Smashes and I don’t remember the other drinks, and I am hoping the recipes will be featured in an upcoming LCBO magazine.

Here we are, The Bon Vivants: Michelle, Xavier, and me

And as all great parties do, it hopped in a cab and went across town to Barchef http://www.barcheftoronto.com/ a fantastic martini bar on Queen West at Augusta.  Now I know I blog about east end neighbourhoods but I do go outside of my box for time to time.  And speaking of my box, the mixologist (Frankie)  had his share of mojo.  Here he is in action all fired up, mixing something:

I had to sit in front of a 50 pound bar of ice to cool down.  We had more drinks made of Hendrick’s, they take their cocktails pretty seriously here.  Everything is hand squeezed and painstakingly mixed together.  By the second cocktail, Lorraine and I were so crazed we ordered a beer.  You can only consume so much exquisiteness in one evening.  And I was walking around with a giant grain of sugar stuck to my nose.  We were drunkity, drunk, drunk but you know, I woke up this morning and was clear and perky.  Must be the cucumber in the gin!!  It was the funnest night and I would like to thank our hosts. And for sure I am going get me a bottle of Hendrick’s today, but this time I won’t mix it with tea, maybe just some soda and lime.