Cheers! With all things British in the air, it’s time to party like a Brit. Here, three ways to entertain and make merry.

Let it Reign gin cocktail, served at Epic, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel

1. Try a new twist on the Gin and Tonic

Let It Reign Gin Cocktail
Courtesy of The Fairmont Royal York, Toronto

To celebrate its partnership with Ontario-based Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, the Tastemakers at Fairmont Royal York have crafted this cocktail using its 14th In Line Dillon’s Gin, distilled with botanicals from the hotel’s rooftop herb garden.

Yield: 1
1½ oz Dillon’s Gin
½ oz Green Chartreuse liqueur
¾ oz lime juice
½ oz honey
½ oz lemongrass syrup


Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and shake. Strain into martini glass and garnish with lemon peel.


Cupcakes with Elderflower, photo courtesy Becel

2. Serve a sweet little something inspired by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s (that’s Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, to you and me) choice of wedding cakes, spiked with elderflower

Lemon Cupcakes with Elderflower Frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes

Since we’re all a health-conscious bunch, we asked our friends at Becel to give us a smarter version of the classic treat.

¾ cups (175 mL) all-purpose flour
¾ cups (175mL) whole wheat flour
1 ¾ tsp (8 mL) baking powder
1 cup (250 mL) (2 sticks) Becel salted margarine sticks, divided
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup (125 mL) 2% milk
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract, divided
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon peel
2 tbsps (30 mL) elderflower liqueur
2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar
Edible flowers, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper cupcake liners; set aside.
2. Combine flours and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
3. Beat 1/2 cup (1 stick) Becel® sticks with granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs on low speed until blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in milk and 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla. Slowly beat in flour mixture just until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Stir in lemon peel. Evenly spoon batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes and cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, blend remaining 1/2 cup (1 stick) Becel® sticks, icing sugar, elderflower liqueur and remaining 1 tsp. (5 mL) vanilla until blended. Beat on medium-high speed, scraping sides occasionally, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Evenly frost cooled cupcakes and garnish with edible flowers.


From Carolyn Robb’s The Royal Touch: Simply Stunning Home Cooking From A Royal Chef

3. Bake up an old Royal Family favourite
This chocolate confection is the same one Prince William served as his Groom’s cake at his wedding to Kate Middleton. Have your cake and eat it, too. From Carolyn Robb’s THE ROYAL TOUCH: Simply Stunning Home Cooking From A Royal Chef.

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Serves 16 – 20

“My mother used to make this when I was a child, and it was a great favourite of mine. When Prince William and Prince Harry were very young, I made it for them using the same recipe. It was a firm favourite in the royal nursery; so much so that, many years later, Prince William chose to have chocolate biscuit cake at his wedding for the groom’s cake. It was designed, made and gifted to Prince William by McVitie’s biscuit manufacturers and is said to have been made from 1,700 biscuits and 17 kg of chocolate!

“This recipe is very simple, and children always enjoy crushing and crumbling the biscuits (in a variety of unusual, and often messy, ways!) I have included pistachios and soft figs in this version of the recipe, but for children I leave them out and replace them with the same weight in biscuits.”

One 20-cm (8-inch) round or square cake tin or flan ring or a 450 g/1 lb loaf tin, approximately 16 x 11 cm, 7 cm deep (6¼ x 4¼ inches, 2¾ inches deep)

340 g/12 oz butter (3 sticks)
240 g/8½ oz golden syrup (¾ cup)
60 g/2 oz unsweetened cocoa powder (⅔ cup)
120 g/4 oz cup dark chocolate (⅔ cup)
5 ml/1 tsp pure vanilla extract
60 g/2 oz pistachios (½ cup)
100 g/3½ oz soft, plump dried figs, sliced (½ cup packed)
450 g/1 lb digestive biscuits, crushed
300 g/11 oz dark chocolate (2 cups)
50 g/2 oz white chocolate (⅔ cup)

Selection of small chocolate sticks and dark and white Maltesers or Whoppers
Melt the butter with the golden syrup in a heavy based pan. Do not let it boil.

Remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder, dark chocolate and vanilla extract.
Stir until you have a very smooth, glossy mixture.

Add the pistachios, figs and crushed biscuits to the chocolate mixture and stir well.
Line the base and sides of the cake tin with baking parchment or plastic wrap.

Place the mixture into the tin and press it down. (If you are using a square tin, make sure you press it down well into the corners.)

Leave to cool at room temperature before covering and chilling in the fridge. It will take about 2 hours to set completely firm.

When set, remove from the tin and place it on a cooling rack.

Melt the dark chocolate and white chocolate separately.

Spread the dark chocolate all over the cake.

Decorate with the Maltesers before the chocolate sets, so that they stick to the cake. Position chocolate sticks as desired and drizzle with the white chocolate.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Keeps for up 2 weeks, although it seldom lasts that long, once people know that it is there!

– You can replace the pistachios with pecans, toasted almonds or macadamia nuts.
– You can replace the figs with raisins, sultanas or dried cherries.
– For a festive holiday treat, use glacé cherries and dried apricots that have been soaked in cherry brandy.
– For a children’s party cake, decorate with Smarties or M&M’s.