Saturday, 17 June 2017

Cheers to health & happiness

It's Father's Day this Sunday. Sure, cocktails are great, but nothing is as inclusive for all audiences as Mocktails. Think about it as the current heat wave engulfs us. Everyone loves something refreshing as we reach for something that will hydrate rather than dehydrate, this is where DK's book by Vikas Khanna comes in. Khanna takes the reader on a journey where 80 nonalcoholic drinks are introduced and elevated to a whole new level in Mocktails Punches & Shrubs. 

Imagine serving a Kumquat, Pineapple and Paprika drink, at your next party. Did you know that the tanginess of Kumquats are a wonderful inspiration to take your mocktail to a whole new level of cool? 

Scents bombard us at every level, and Vikas Khanna attempts to infuse these everyday flavours and experiences, into a glass. One sip will evoke memories that will be vividly remembered for a long time. 

"A plethora of tasting experiences provide me with insights on what is mixable, edible, and more importantly, what can stimulate and benefit us in a positive way."

A personal favourite remains the Elderflower, Mango and Ginger Drink. What the reader will note about the ingredients is the relative ease with which to concoct these creations. For example, this elderflower  mocktail on page 110 serves 6 and takes 15 minutes.

There are ten recipe categories ranging from Fruity flavours to Tradition with a twist. For the strict tea-totallers amongst us, why not give Time for tea category a try? You'll travel to the mediterranean with Lebanese Rose Tea, hop over to Western India with Gujarati Lemongrass Tea, and climb mountainous Bhutan with a Butter Tea with Fennel. 

Mocktails is published by DK Books and you can find it at better booksellers in time for Father's Day and as a keeper for your bookshelf or your bar.

If you're still in the mood for alcoholic classics done to perfection then check out our Cocktails review. Both Mocktails and Cocktails are also handy if you are throwing a Canada 150 party in a few weeks. 

Happy Entertaining! 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Cocktails proves that classic drinks are rad

Sure, this is alcohol. But it's alcohol with attitude.

From the mixology maestro Klaus St. Rainer, of the world-renowned Goldene Bar in Munich, comes a book that perfects the art of mixing drinks. Cocktails proves that classic drinks can be fun.
Klaus St. Rainer believes that a drink is the sum of its ingredients, and adheres to the philosophy that you should never accept anything but the best: 
"it is far better to indulge a bit less, but of the highest quality, and savour with true passion."  

Klaus St. Rainer has been a professional mixologist for a quarter century but it has been for the last 20 years that he has witnessed a return to a 'Golden Age' in cocktails. A key to understand about this superb DK hardcover is that it is from the perspective of a purist. On the one hand, St. Rainer is an idealist. He extols the virtues of cocktails being done the right way, with premium ingredients and simple techniques, all while using traditional equipment. On the other hand, he is a realist who understands that technical innovation such as sous vide equipment, dehydrators, and kitchen techniques in the "cuisine" style approach provide an opportunity to take mixology to the next level.

This isn't necessarily a book for those cutting their teeth for the first time on cocktails, but it is a necessary addition for those who care about mixology and want their cocktails to taste spectacular, all thanks to an award-winning bartender/mixologist. Besides, the handsome golden bound hardcover will look great on your bar shelf or bookshelf, and as the pages show, there are some brilliant pictures to encourage the reader.  

Cocktails is published by DK Books

Saturday, 25 March 2017

An Alternative to Chianti for Pizza

It's not Bordeaux (Médoc),
It's not Northern Rhône,
It's not the Left Bank.

It's Chile's Rapel Valley from the Devil's cellar. There's simply a lovely rich moutfeel to this wine that tempered with some spice that makes it irresistible at this price point. 

We tried it with pizza. But would try it again with ribs.

Syrah: 65% 
Cabernet Sauvignon: 20%
Carmenere: 15% 

Nose: Blackberries, Blueberries 

Taste: Smooth and Spicy
          Some nuttiness

Toronto Star Rating: 91 Points 

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Friday, 13 January 2017

Want wine with those steaks?

We recently had dinner at Nao Steakhouse. Over the past decade it has been de rigeur to pair a hearty California cabernet sauvignon or Argentinian malbec with steak. That need not be the case. Along with the outstanding steaks, and appetizers, at Nao, we paired the following wines from the restaurant's wine list hailing from Bordeaux and Tuscany. 

2008 Château Vieux Lartigue
Varietal:  Merlot and Cabernet Franc
Region:  Bordeaux, France
Retail Price: $37.95/bottle (Rogers & Company)

Tasting Notes
Château Vieux Lartigue, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, is ranked as a Grand Cru, or “great growth”, from Saint-Emilion. The synergy of the two varietals produces a velvety, rich wine with floral nuances and earthy, red-fruit flavours. Mid-palate weight comes from the juicy Merlot; aromatics and tannins come from the Cabernet Franc, the lighter-bodied varietals.

Chateau Vieux Lartigue (2008)

Our Pairings
Appetizers:Fire Grilled Octopus (Romesco + Smoked Potato + Tapenade)
Seared Foie Gras (Escargot + Parsley Root + Mushroom + Banyuls Vinegar + Pain Au Lait)
Salad: Shredded Kale (Pickled Shiitake + Fried Shallots + Spicy Sesame Dressing)

Tolaini Al Passo (2011)
2011 Tolaini Al Passo
Varietal:  Sangiovese and Merlot
Region:  Tuscany, Italy
Winery:  Tolaini
Retail Price: $37.95/bottle (B&W Wines)

Tasting Notes
Spicy notes of French oak rise above distinct aromas of cherry and berry. The palate has a backbone of Sangiovese, a roundness of Merlot and enhanced body from the oak. The fruit purity and varietal signatures are testament to the meticulous care given to the young vines. Note: Some sediment may occur in the bottom of the bottle as the wine is not filtered.

91 points, Bruce Sanderson (Wine Spectator Magazine):
"Plenty of cherry and plum fruit is flanked by leather, tobacco andearth flavors. Balanced and bright, picking up hints of wild herbson the lingering finish. Sangiovese and Merlot. Drink nowthrough 2020. 

Our Pairings
MainsA5 Kobe Striploin (Miyazaki, Japan)
Creekstone Farms Prime Ribeye (Arkansas City, Kansas)
SidesMashed Potato (mixed with Foie gras butter)
Mushrooms (Wild + Cultivted + Dashi + Smoked Butter)

The wines did have a large markup added to them at Nao but we would recommend sourcing them from distributors listed above.