Archives for category: Drink of the Week


We were in Mexico a few months ago, when I got back I had an e-mail in my inbox asking if I would be interested in making drinks at The Stop Night Market. Last year the event was such a hit that this year they held it over two nights. I was scheduled for night number two and was asked to come up with a cocktail using Meukow cognac.
If you aren’t aware, traditionally, cognac is associated with colder climates. Consumed after hearty meals in front of fires on bear skin rugs or sitting in terrifically ornate, throne-like chairs.  Working this delicious cognac into a summer time drink was a challenge.


Meukow in particular is very oak heavy so mixing it with other spirits works well, but going juicy is not so simple. When we were in Mexico in April, though, I remembered Jamaica (ha-MIKE-ah) being a floral, bitter syrup that was added to soda or water to make a nice refreshing drink but with some round character to it. BINGO! I made 5 litres of syrup using dried Jamaica flowers and added some lemon juice and a healthy dose of cognac. There we are, a lemonade, but not over sweet or sour and nicely rounded by the afformentioned woodsy overtones. When the event was over (we ran out in about an hour and 15 minutes) I had about 3 litres of the syrup left over, so we ran it as a special at Bar Isabel and we ran out there too. I guess I found a winner. Even though I never properly came up with a name. After the night market myself and a handful of friends headed to Pharmacy where some of my best friends, got very creative with my coasters.

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A few other things:

1. The new Black Sabbath record is not bad. I had my doubts about it, but it sounds like pretty classic sabbath, just with modern production.

2. I am planning on doing some more competitions in the next little while.

3. If you work for a liquor company and need a hand at any of your events, please call me.

4. I am just stocking up on bar supplies to start running my beginners course on a regular basis. If you are (still) interested, hit me up.


That little nugget of information was conveyed to me by a dude named Matt that is affiliated with Tromba in Australia. I had no Idea that Paloma meant anything other than “delicious tequila and grapefruit soda drink” before we met. I also hadn’t eaten 1/2 a pound of  pork tacos in one sitting, but that’s a different blog post.


Pretty much anyone that has some tequila and some ting can make this drink. I make it by filling a tall glass with ice, then pouring in 2oz. of tequila, then filling it with the grapefruit soda.
What’s that? You haven’t got any ting?
Well, have you got some club soda? How about a grapefruit? BOOM! That should cost you about 65 cents. You can do this. I believe in you.

Summer looks like it might be here for longer than 2 or 3 days at a time (finally) so drink some Palomas. I know this guy does.

Also, tonight I will be at The Stop Night Market, making drinks with Meukow Cognac. See you there.

jbs-TheAviation02The Aviation fell into obscurity once prohibition was repealed. That’s when things like gin and whisky took too long to get/make, so vodka kind of took over. Also, throughout the years both Maraschino Liqueur and Creme De Violette have been available really infrequently in North America, especially Ontario so the drink only got a new life in the last 10 years or so.

jbs-TheAviation03London dry gin, lemon juice, and the above mentioned liqueurs give this drink a zippy, refreshing kick that makes me want to make a pitcher of them. The garnish is a proper maraschino cherry (not one of these), and usually they are skewered. In general, I’m not into skewering garnishes. I like seeing them IN the drink, through the side of the glass, not perched like a vulture. Of course if I’m making someone else’s drink I garnish as I’ve been instructed. With something like The Aviation though, I feel safe just dropping the cherry in the glass.

If you’re curious, I got the bottle of Violette from Craig as a going away present at Campagnolo and have managed to only use like 5 ounces out of it. I treasure it as much as Short Round treasures his Yankees hat.
Photos, taken minutes before a rain storm, by: Jessica Blaine Smith


It’s been a while since I posted. Sorry. I have been learning everything about Bar Isabel and getting ready for The Stop Night Market. I will be making cocktails with Meukow cognac. You know how tough it is to make a cognac cocktail for summer time? So after a few tries at something summer-y that isn’t a Sidecar I came up with this.

2oz. Meukow
.5oz. Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur
5 drops Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters


Not really summery and not the drink I’ll be doing for The Stop Night Market, but a delicious drink of the week anyway. Also, as the name indicates, it’s a nice sweet warm hug from mom. As for the drink for the night market, I don’t have a name for it yet, but there is a flower involved. I’ll tell you about that one later.

Also, I have had three or four inquiries about doing another cocktail basics class.
This one will be geared more toward home/hobby bartending, rather than executing cocktails at high volume. If you want in, please e-mail me, and I will start to set up a time/date.

Photos of wooden pegasus and warm hug from mom by: Jessica Blaine Smith


There it is! Juan Guzman.
Everyone in the city is talking baseball because, well, we have a team that has the capacity to do really, really well. This drink is a nice way to enjoy summer, that doesn’t involve $11 beers and screaming kids at a stadium.
1.5oz. Brugal Anejo
.5oz. Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
.5oz. Lime Juice
2 dashes (big ones) of Angostura Bitters
Shake the hell out of it on ice and serve it straight up, with a mint sprig as garnish.
Also, if you are wondering, I have moved again, work-wise. I am now at Bar Isabel 3-4 nights a week. I am really excited to be working there. It seems like a great team and we launch our summer list soon, so keep an eye out.

Photos: Jessica Blaine Smith



Fortuna Mezcal has been in and around the city doing a bunch of events over the past few months. I featured a drink called a Long Winter which was a mezcal drink on MTV a few months ago. This week I had photos taken of a different mezcal drink called Say “What” Again!. This drink is made with smokey, leathery Fortuna, Victoria Oaken Gin that I won from the Toronto’s Hottest Bartender Competition (thanks again for voting), my favorite liqueur in the world, Tuaca and some Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters. Imagine it as a Perfect Manhattan as far as proportions go.


What, you don’t know how to make a Perfect Manhattan? Maybe you should check out the “Services” page on my website, get in touch, and I can come teach you. It’ll be fun.

Photos, as always, by Jessica Blaine Smith

Hey this drink of the week is a weird one.


The drink was imagined by Robin Kaufman, Marco Cedano and myself.
1oz. Tromba Tequila Blanco
.5oz. Agave Syrup
1 Strawberry (a big one)
.5oz. Lime Juice
Tsp chopped cilantro


This drink was conceived and born on the same day (take THAT any “miracle” ever) at the Tromba distillery in rural Jalisco two weeks ago.
Made out of whatever kind of made sense right then and there as we were in a tent in the parking lot of the distillery, with a bunch of the distillery employees. It was surreal to think that these people spend their days making this liquid that I then throw strawberries at it (the strawberry fields are also owned by the guy that own the land that the agave is grown on) and call what I do work.


Everyone liked the drink and it went over really well.

There will be more posts about Mexico when I settle back into real life here in Toronto. Also, keep up the #coasterboy thing. So far this one is the best I’ve seen.




If this photo looks familiar it’s because I also used it when I posted about my coasters (have you seen them around yet?)

Anyway, the drink sitting on my face is The Algonquin. Like many other classics, this one is named after the hotel where it was first served, or at least given a name. The proportions, again like many other classics vary, but I like it as 2 parts whiskey ( for the picture we used Rittenhouse, duh, but I have seen recipes that call for blends), 1 part dry vermouth and one part pineapple juice. Shake it and fine strain it and serve it straight up. The reason I like this drink so much is because it predates almost anything tiki, but still has pineapple juice in it. So it’s a rich, boozy drink, but with an incredible fruit nose.

If you want to learn more little factoids like that, contact me about coming to my cocktail basics class (naming things has not been my forte lately) next Monday, April 8th. I will be going over everything from why drinks have the names they do, why they are served the way they are served and how creating a drink requires some real thought to have it work out well. If you came to any of the Sunday School classes you get the idea, but if you didn’t, this might be a great way to catch up. It will only cost you thirty dollars and take about 3 hours of your time. Get in touch.

Photo by Jessica Blaine Smith 


This is not a sidecar. It’s the Scooter. Clever, right? I replaced the cognac with pisco, I replaced the cointreau with maraschino, I replaced the lemon juice with guava juice, I added some Boker’s Bitters and a shook it and served it straight up, with a cherry. This one went over really well at the Gwai Lo Pop Up. I wanted something that the guests at Sen5es that order cosmos and kamikazis like it’s 1993 would not be afraid of.  Also, it’s part of my dipping my toe into the Tiki puddle.

April 8th I will be doing a workshop for any of my friends that are starting to get into cocktails, or have been bartending for a while now and realized that they aren’t sure what’s built and what’s shaken. Several people have asked me about this, so here’s your chance. Monday April 8th from 1-4(ish) at Rock Lobster, I will be making drinks and explaining how drinks are made in relation to the ones that I make. It will cost you $30 to attend (which is pretty cheap I feel) but I am limiting it to ten people. So, head to the “contact” section of the blog if you are interested. Peace!

Photo: Jessica Blaine Smith


This drink is called a Boulevardier. I have seen it as a 1.5oz Bourbon, 1oz. Campari, 1oz. Sweet Vermouth drink and also as equal proportions. I like the equal proportion version, but with a very rye heavy bourbon like Wild Turkey or Bulleit. This drink is not for wusses. The glass, I feel, suits the drink well. It came from the AGO gift shop.  This drink is stirred and served either on rocks or straight up. You might notice that it is pretty similar to the Negroni, except with whiskey in place of gin. Apparently this drink predates the Negroni, but who really knows this stuff, oh wait, this guy. I also like the idea of having this drink be really cheap (turkey, martini rosso) or really ballin’ (pappy, carpano).

Also, due to a bunch of my friends asking, and the changing of seasons, I will be taking a monday afternoon soon to run through the drink list for Rock Lobster brunch (soon) and the spring/summer list. If you want to come watch me make drinks and hear me talk about cocktails and liquor, let me know and we will get you in to check this stuff out. I haven’t decided yet about a cost for doing this per person, but I imagine it will not be expensive, just a covering cost of liquid and time thing.

Peace til next week, which will be the end of series one of my Drink Of The Week stuff.

Phot, as always, by Jessica Blaine Smith.

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