Archives for posts with tag: toronto’s hottest bartender



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



Now that Toronto’s Hottest Bartender, Jess’ 10th Anniversary and the big move are all over with we are thinking about our next trip. Other than heading to Boston for 3 days for my friends Holly and Frank’s wedding I haven’t gone away in a long ass time. The last time I went away for longer than a week was when I went to Vancouver to deal with some legal issues and then rode back to Calgary with Mares of Thrace. Then stayed in Calgary for a couple days while Therese dealt with a bunch of legalities of her own. Here’s something not many people know, The Kensington Wine store rules. Also, liquor taxes in Alberta are way different (see almost non-existant) than Ontario taxes. So I went to this liquor store that  Ron from The Diamond recommended I check out. While there I bought a bottle of Lemon Hart, Punt E Mes (readily available, just sitting there on a shelf with a bunch of other liqueurs and fortified wines) Taboo Absinthe and some Luxardo Maraschino. Then I grabbed some citrus from a safeway (SAFEWAY!) on the way back to Therese’s newly purchased and soon to be sold condo. We both needed a drink, so this is what I came up with.

2oz. Lemon Hart
.5oz Punt E Mes
2 Barspoons Maraschino (i was at a shreddeer/videogame developper/transcriber’s a house, so I improvised here)
Absinthe rinse
Lime Zest on top
Served on rocks

So a little in the Red Hook  vein, but really just created from “uh, let’s see what we got here”
I had this on the list at Campagnolo for a while, and I know Robin Kaufman loved it. Of course that version was made with Gosling’s Black Seal and the punt e mes cost like 12 dollars more per bottle.


Oh yeah the name! It comes from an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation where Cpt. Picard goes back to Earth and visits his families winery. His brother, with whom he’s always had a tenuous relationship, starts giving Jean-Luc the gears about drinking synthohol and the Captain responds with “drinking synthohol heightens one’s appreciation for the genuine article”. BOOM!

Drink Photo, of course, 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!



Jess and I are moving this week, so my caffeine intake has gone up drastically. Add moving to the rearrangement of  responsibilities at Rock Lobster, the organization of what is sure to be a really good time at the JBSmith Photography 10th Anniversary Party (drinks by Barman Willie), Fortuna Mezcal week, the potential of organizing the beverage portion of a huge music festival and putting a drink together for the Toronto’s Hottest Bartender contest (thanks for all the votes), it’s a busy week and a half. Tea is the key. I made this tea by boiling water and leaving the bag in the mug for about 6 minutes. The mug is from Dollarama and was a birthday present from Katie Clark in 2005.


This is a Palmetto. A tiny one. I first learned about this drink last year at Tales Of The Cocktail on Tour in Vancouver. I like it in this capacity, as a digestif. I attended one of the “spirited dinners” that the Tales people put together, but instead of being a weasel (see: professional) I chose to sit at the bar and hang out with Steve the then bartender at The Waldorf and learn as much as I could about tiki. This was the last drink that I remember having and then I lost my hoody on the walk back to my friend Lana’s house. Professional. To be brutally honest, for this photo I used a Rum Agricole and it was pretty bad, so I suggest sticking with a more traditional cane rum. Here is a picture I took at The Waldorf.

IMAG0012In it you can see Steve and the hoody that made that hook it’s home forever.
Also, please go vote for me as Toronto’s Hottest Bartender. Every vote counts for a dollar toward the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation. So it’s a few seconds for a good cause, neh, a GREAT cause. If I make it to the top 5 I have to come up with a cocktail for the big coronation ceremony (see: piss up) at the Drake on the 25th Then I can make that drink a drink of the week. See how I tied that together there?

The photo of the tiny Palmetto was taken by Jessica Blaine Smith

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