Archives for posts with tag: drink of the week

Sorry I haven’t posted in a few weeks, you know how summer gets.


Here are a few things though.

Sailor Jerry Rum has invited me to go to Tales Of The Cocktail with them. I am really excited and feel really lucky to have this chance. If you find yourself there, just look for wherever Sailor Jerry is and I will be there. When I get back I will set up the basics class. To the people that have gotten in touch about it, I promise it’s coming. To anyone else interested, please e-mail me.

Bar Isabel is an amazing place to work. I am learning a lot and with Mike Webster and I working together, I feel like I am improving my skills rapidly.

I have been working out a lot lately and have managed to put on weight. Having been a skinny white guy my whole life, I feel really good about it. So does my girlfriend, because she gets to work on her photos while I’m in the living room working out, which I’m told is funnier than anything on TV.


jbs-TheAviation02The Aviation fell into obscurity once prohibition was repealed.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



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


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.



This drink is called an After School Special. It is made with an ounce each of Tromba Blanco and Pimm’s No. 1 and then 1/4oz. of Campari and Cointreau plus 3 drops of Bittered Sling Grapefruit and Hops bitters. The result is an herbaceous drink with a nice kick and a lot of citrus. I made this drink for my girlfriend’s 10th anniversary party, which is tomorrow night. Myself and Mike Webster are bartending it and it should be a tonne of fun. The determination and dedication she has shown to her craft is inspiring and I am grateful that she asked me to help her with the party. It’s going to be interesting because there will be a lot of families at the party and generally, cocktails and kids don’t mix. I am excited for it. I also made about 3 litres of this cocktail and left it in a Tromba barrel for a week and am serving it as a special at Rock Lobster, but you will have to ask for it by name. Secret drinks are fun drinks.

I have been on a “citrus forward without any actual citrus” kick lately. The drink that I made for the finale of the Toronto’s Hottest Bartender competition. That drink was made of 2oz.Victoria Gin, .5oz. Palmello/Grapefruit syrup, a dash of Dillon’s Bitter Lemon and some lime oil on top. I have some of the syrup leftover so guess what? Another special at Rock Lobster, but again, you gotta ask. It’s called Tears of a Clown. Also both these drinks are on a “while supplies last” basis. Also, I won. Thanks everyone for voting and showing up to support the causes and bartenders (Jeff Carroll, Simon Ho, Brittany Maguire and Caylee Alzner). Here is the video that we made for my bid. 

I’ll post another drink next week, and as we get settled into our new apartment (with a killer kitchen) I will be posting more on here. Dig it!


This drink is the Calar Del Sole. (Pronounced Kal Are Dell Soleil). It got it’s name from googling the Italian for “sunset“. I came up with this drink on the fly at Campagnolo in my first week or so working there (I think it’s still on the menu). I had just gotten the job through friends of friends and by charming the hell out of Alex, the chef’s wife to be, so I was still a little nervous about the gig. I didn’t want to go back to having to work brunches (see make 1207 coffees) at Mildred Temple Kitchen (though, they are nice people).

The cocktail list I was working on was the one left for me by the previous bartender so I was still getting those drinks down when early one night an Italian man, about 60 years old, approached the bar and pounded on it and looked at me with the kind of terrifying look that only old men can give young men and said “This is BULLSHIT!“. I, as calmly as I could responded : “Sorry sir, what?”

“This is an Italian restaurant with thoughtful cocktails and there is not one Aperol drink?”

“Okay sir, I’ll put something together for you and send it your table, if you don’t like it, I will try again.”

I took 1.5oz. Aperol, 1oz. Plymouth Gin (this was before the image make-over and price hike), .5oz Bianco Vermouth and a dash of orange bitters, stirred and served it straight up with some orange oil expressed over top of it.

The gentleman (maybe not so gentle?) liked it. So I started making a lot of them and if you look in the press section of my blog, you’ll see a few different articles about this drink.

Enjoy. Another drink next week.

Photograph: Jessica Blaine Smith


The Mexican El Diablo is my favorite drink.

No, really. When made with the right ginger beer, fresh lime juice, creme de cassis and a blanco tequila, I would rather drink this than anything else. I first learned about this drink at a two-day long bar training seminar organized by former managers at The Drake Hotel when I was making the move from barback to bartender. Jay and Dushan walked the staff through basics the first day and actual cocktails the second. They presented three or four classics and they also showed three or four Employee’s Only drinks.

This one stuck out for me, because given the colour and the ingredients (at this time I was all bourbon and vermouth) seemed like nothing I would ever want in my mouth. This drink is so spicy and sweet and tart that it leaves an impression on your palate akin to the feeling you get in your knees after leaning on an electric fence (I grew up in and around the sticks).

I love it and no matter what fancy bar I go to with whatever impressive cocktail program they feature, I almost always order an El Diablo.

photograph by Jessica Blaine Smith

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