Celebrate National Cocktail Day With Two Recipe Compilations That Give Back
We're taking a peek inside a pair of cocktail books that give back to the hospitality industry. Photo: Courtesy of A Toast From Coast to Coast
These two books are initiatives that feature the secret recipes of some of Canada’s best bartenders at some of our country’s most respected bars, restaurants and hotels. Some of the proceeds will go to the Bartenders Benevolent Fund & Canadian Professional Bartenders Association. And now that many of us are allowed to enjoy our local establishments safely, don’t forget to be kind, patient, follow the protocols and tip generously.
After all, the hospitality industry has been one of the deepest impacted by the pandemic. Our local dive bar, pub, favourite restaurant and even the top fine-dining establishments are all reeling from the fallout.
Two companies, Canada’s Corby Spirit and Wine Limited and Moët Hennessy Canada – a subsidiary of international style house LVMH that includes Louis Vuitton and Veuve Clicquot, have produced books that are designed to both foster an appreciation for the creativity that goes into developing the tasty libations we hope to sip again soon, live and in person, and give back to those creators. And the companies are not resting on their laurels. Both have already delivered thousands of dollars to initiatives to prop up the hospitality industry.
Both companies have kindly shared some of their recipes so that you can try these at home. But go a step further and order one or both, gift them to the cocktail enthusiast in your life, or keep them all to yourself and hone those skills for when those days of entertaining friends and family return. In the meantime, enjoy, share and cheers!
Coming Together Magazine
We could all use a little dose of luxury in our lives right now, even if it’s the simple luxury of turning the glossy pages of a magazine devoted to cocktail creativity. Coming Together Magazine, a perfect-bound coffee table mag brought to us by Moët Hennessy Canada, features curated cocktail recipes from 50 mixologists across the True North.
Brands include Belvedere Vodka, Hennessy Cognac and, of course, Moët & Chandon Champagne. The magazine also contains a useful glossary of bartending terms and recipes for staples such as simple syrup and more.
This initiative, says the company, aims to raise funds via the sale of each magazine, with all proceeds benefitting the Canadian cocktail creators highlighted within its pages (each was also paid for their submission). The magazine can be ordered online at mhcomingtogether.com and through Chapters Indigo.
Rus Yessenov’s Hounds of Winter (That Can Be Enjoyed Anytime!)
Yessenov grew up in Montreal, but he’s best known as the bartender extraordinaire at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, where, as the driver of beverage programs, his creations are featured on the menus at Clockwork, the hotel’s gorgeous and new-ish lobby bar, as well the Library Bar and Reign Restaurant + Bar.
Expert Tip: If you’re using premium spirits, make sure you use a premium mixer as well, such as tonic waters and ginger ales and beers from Fever Tree, as Yessenov does here.
1.5 oz Vodka – Yessonov’s choice is Belvedere
0.5 oz Orange liqueur such as Cointreau
1.5 oz Pomegranate Juice
0.5 oz Lime Juice
1.5 oz Ginger Beer, such as Fever Tree
Garnish: Rosemary Sprigs & Icing Sugar
Directions: Combine all ingredients over ice in a highball glass and stir. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and dust with icing sugar.
Mike Fox’s The Manitoban
After a stint in the music biz, Fox has been a hospitality fixture on the Winnipeg scene for the last decade, and currently mans the bar at longstanding Italian restaurant Pizzeria Gusto. Fox’s inspiration for his recipe, he says, is “A sour nod to a Manitoban’s favourite dipping sauce: Honey Dill.” Sweet. Sour. Play on, good sir.
1.5 oz Cognac – Fox prefers Hennessy Very Special for this recipe
0.5 oz Dry Vermouth, such as Noilly Prat
1 oz Lemon juice
.75 oz Honey Syrup*
2 dashes orange bitters (optional)
4 fronds of fresh dill
1 egg white
1 pinch table salt
Combine 1 cup boiling water and 2 cups honey until the two are well mixed. Cool and store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Directions: Chill a coupe glass, then set aside. Combine and dry shake all ingredients vigorously for 10 seconds (Tip: dry shake. Shaking cocktails without ice, typically used in recipes with egg whites to help with the mixing of ingredients and produce a nice froth). Add ice, shake vigorously for another 10 seconds and fine strain into the chilled coupe. Garnish with a frond of fresh dill.
A Toast From Coast to Coast
Consider this coffee table a time capsule of what its curators believe represents the best of Canadian cocktail culture. Brought to life by the experts at Corby Spirit and Wine Limited, one of Canada’s most prolific distributors of wines and spirits, it features 100 cocktail recipes and stories from bar-keeps and restaurants across the country. Brands include Canada’s own J.P. Wiser’s and Polar Ice Vodka, as well as the iconic Jameson, The Glenlivet and Jacob’s Creek.
And it’s a bit of an art book as well, as each cocktail and story is illustrated, along with a sketch of the province from which the bartenders and their stories are from.
All of the proceeds from the sale of A Toast From Coast to Coast will go towards the Bartenders Benevolent Fund & Canadian Professional Bartenders Association. It can be purchased online at: toastfromcoasttocoast.ca. Or, if you’re more a giver than a doer, the Fund also accepts donations at www.bartendersbenevolentfund.ca.
From David Lynds at Lot Six Bar & Restaurant, Halifax, NS
This cocktail’s slight sweetness is balanced by the tartness of the cranberry. The Havana Club Anejo 3-year-old rum at the base of this libation gives it a dry finish on the palate. One sip will transport you to a night on the town in Cuba’s largest city.
1 ½ oz Rum – Lynd prefers Havana Club 3 Year Old for this recipe
¾ oz lemon juice
½ oz Curaçao
½ oz Grenadine
½ oz Cranberry juice
Lemon twist to garnish
Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker
Expert Tip: if you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can use a spill-proof, to-go coffee mug or even a Mason jar. Shake vigorously with ice, strain into a chilled coupe or large wine glass. Add a lemon twist to garnish and serve straight up.
From Diana Schade at Oak + Cru, Kelowna, BC
Clean, crisp and refreshing, this take on the classic gimlet is best enjoyed with cucumbers and mint. It’s like a spa visit in a glass, so call it “self-care” and imbibe free of guilt!
1 ½ oz London Dry Gin – Schade’s pick is Beefeater
½ oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz lime juice
½ oz Simple Syrup*
4 slices or ribbon of cucumber
6 mint leaves
7 drops of celery bitters
*Simple syrup: In a saucepan, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Muddle to release the flavours of the fruit and veg, before adding ice and shaking briskly. Double strain into a chilled coupe, and garnish with slices or ribbon of cucumber.
A version of this story was originally published on Dec. 18, 2020