Tag Archives: Cocktails

Ina Garten’s Fresh Whiskey Sours Will Be Your Go-To Cocktail

Although the holiday season might feel a little less celebratory this year, there’s no reason we still can’t raise a glass of Ina Garten’s refreshing and tangy whiskey sour concoction. This five-ingredient indulgence from the Barefoot Contessa is ready in 10 minutes – just don’t forget to top it all off with a Maraschino cherry!

Related: Ina Garten’s Classic Cocktail Recipes, From Margaritas to Mojitos

Ina Garten’s Fresh Whiskey Sours

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 cocktails


3/4 cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
2/3 cup sugar syrup (see below)
Maraschino cherries

See More: Dinner Etiquette Tips That Would Make Ina Garten Proud


1. Combine the whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice and syrup. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and fill two-thirds full with the cocktail mixture. Shake for 30 seconds and pour into glasses. Add a maraschino cherry and serve ice cold.

2. Sugar syrup: Put 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Chill thoroughly before using.

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How to Make a Classic Manhattan Cocktail

With the holiday season in full swing, thoughts are turning to what to serve at festive parties. What better cocktail than a classic Manhattan – easy to make (and customize according to how sweet or dry your guests like it)?


It’s said the Manhattan was created in New York in the late 1800s. According to some, Sir Winston Churchill’s mother was throwing a party at The Manhattan Club in honour of Samuel J. Tilden (a presidential candidate at the time) and a guest was making a cocktail from rye whisky and sweet vermouth which was so popular the club made it theirs (many say this story, although entertaining, can’t possibly be true as Churchill’s mother would have been in Europe and pregnant at the time). Others believe the cocktail was invented in the 1860s by a bartender named Black who worked at a bar on Broadway. No matter who invented it, it’s become a classic all over the world and you’ve probably got all the ingredients in your liquor cabinet already.


The Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

2 oz rye whisky or bourbon
1 oz sweet vermouth (You can use ½ oz sweet and ½ oz dry vermouth)
A dash of bitters (Angostura)
Cocktail or Maraschino cherry for garnish

1. Place the ice in a mixing glass, add the bitters.
2. Pour over the whisky and vermouth then slowly stir the drink until chilled.
3. Place the cherry in the bottom of a chilled serving glass, add more ice then slowly pour the cocktail over the ice.

Looking for more drink ideas? Try these Sensational Canadian Cocktails.

10 Perfect Red and White Drinks for Canada Day

If you plan on throwing the ultimate Canada Day bash, you might be stumped as to what to serve when it comes to drinks. With the exception of domestic beer, it can be difficult to think of “Canadian” drink recipes — besides the Caesar of course. Spice up your drink menu by incorporating these red and white cocktails your guests are sure to love.


1. Strawberry Sour

Start your Canada Day bash right with this gorgeous red and white cocktail from Chef David Hawksworth. Nothing says summer like strawberries!


2. Cranberry Kir Royale

Tyler Florence combines frozen cranberries, orange juice and Champagne for the ultimate summer drink. Bring


3. Shuggie

Why is this drink called a Shuggie? Your guess is as good as ours, but we’re certain you and your guests will love this rum-based cocktail infused with rhubarb, ginger, lime and Thai basil flavours.


4. Citrus Berry Spritz

This sweet fizzy drink from Giada De Laurentiis is filled with berry ice cubes and a hint of mint for freshness.

WATERMELON-­STRAWBERRY SANGRIA, Bobby Flay, Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’sBasics/Bobby’s Basics: Simply Skewers, Food Network, Watermelon, Strawberries, RoseWine, Vodka, Orange Juice, Orange Liqueur, Orange, Lime

5. Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

Bobby Flay’s sweet, citrus-infused summer drink is ideal for a party or get-together with friends.


6. Lava Flow Mocktail

What’s more Canadian than the combination of red and white? These sweet dessert-worthy drinks start with a base of raspberry purée, then a milky topping, a generous amount of whipped cream and finished with sugared frozen raspberries on top. Don’t forget to rim the glasses with red-coloured sugar!


7. Rum Punch

Try this refreshing booze-infused punch filled with tropical flavours and Jamaican white rum from Bobby Flay.


8. Cranberry Mojito

To keep with the red and white theme, don’t forget to serve this fizzy bevvy with floating cranberries and fresh, muddled mint leaves.


9. Watermelon Martinis

Sure to quench your summertime thirst, Bobby’s fruity martini is loaded with tons of fresh watermelon and melon liquor for the utmost melon flavour.

Classic Canadian Caesar
10. Classic Canadian Caesar

The ultimate Canadian drink — thanks to our nation’s love of Clamato juice. This classic drink is a must-have for any Canada Day celebration. This version adds fresh sage and lime for a fresh new twist.

Looking for more recipes for your party? Try these Great Canadian Desserts.


Chill Out with Delicious DIY Cocktail Popsicles

Your summertime cocktail hour just got a lot more fun – and refreshing – thanks to these cool adults-only boozy pops. From Strawberry-Aperol, made with summertime berries, to an herbaceous Cucumber-Gin and a marmalade-infused Orange-Negroni, you’re bound to find your preferred tipple in one of these flavours. While it is tempting to add more alcohol, resist the urge; these won’t fully freeze if you’re overly generous.


Strawberry-Aperol Cocktail Popsicles

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Freeze Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Makes: 4 cocktail popsicles

1 cup water
6 medium fresh strawberries, hulled
1½ oz Aperol or Campari
1½ oz ice wine
2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Tap blender container to remove air bubbles. Fill popsicle mould, place in sticks and freeze until completely frozen, at least 8 hours. Remove from mould and enjoy.


Cucumber-Gin Cocktail Popsicles

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Freeze Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Makes: 4 cocktail popsicles

1 cup water
½ cup roughly chopped English cucumber
2 oz gin
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp lime juice

1. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Tap blender container to remove air bubbles. Fill popsicle mould, place in sticks and freeze until completely frozen, at least 8 hours. Remove from mould and enjoy.


Orange-Negroni Cocktail Popsicles

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Freeze Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Makes: 4 cocktail popsicles

1 cup water
2 oz Campari or Aperol
2 oz sweet vermouth
1½ oz gin
4 Tbsp high-quality orange marmalade

1. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Tap blender container to remove air bubbles. Fill popsicle mould, place in sticks and freeze until completely frozen, at least 8 hours. Remove from mould and enjoy.

Cocktail Popsicles - Birdseye

Looking for more delightful summer drinks? Try one of our 30 Cocktails to Keep You Cool This Summer.

Irish Coffee

The Boozy History of Irish Coffee

What do flying boats and Irish coffee have in common? Everything, and more.

I should know: my family tree has a direct bloodline to Joe Sheridan, the legendary chef who invented this classic Irish cocktail. Nutty and caramely, it’s a rich, hot blend of dark coffee, fiery whiskey, brown sugar and a swirl of thick whipped cream. An Emerald Isle favourite for over 70 years, this quintessential Irish beverage has unorthodox beginnings.

Tracing the roots of Irish coffee requires venturing to Foynes, a tiny town on Ireland’s west coast that was once the epicentre for the aviation world. During World War II, Pan Am’s famed flying boats (a.k.a. clippers) transported a range of people, from celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway and John F. Kennedy, to refugees (children fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe). It’s here that commercial air travel was born — as well as Irish coffee.

Irish Coffee

One wintery night in 1943, a clipper departed from Foynes to North America, but the flight didn’t get far. After battling bad weather conditions for several hours, the captain decided to return to Ireland. As the weary passengers offloaded into the airport’s restaurant, Chef Joe Sheridan decided to prepare a special treat to spread some cheer. He brewed dark, bitter coffee, and to each cup added a shot of Irish whiskey, a little brown sugar and whipped cream on top. As the perked-up passengers slurped up the steamy drink, one asked, “Is it Brazilian coffee?”

“No,” Sheridan said. “That was Irish coffee!”

With those four words, a classic Irish drink was born. However, it took almost a decade before the toasty tipple traveled worldwide. In 1951, Stanton Delaplane, a travel journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, took his first sip and was instantly hooked. Back home, Delaplane raved about the newfangled Irish coffee drink to Jack Koeppler, owner of the Buena Vista Café. The duo tried to re-create Sheridan’s recipe, stirring and sipping all night, but the taste was off and the cream collapsed on the surface.

Enjoy Sheridan's original recipe for Irish coffee at the Foynes Maritime Museum

Enjoy Sheridan’s original recipe for Irish coffee at the Foynes Maritime Museum.

After a slew of taste tests and a “research” trip to Ireland, the two men finally cracked the code: the tricky cream only floated when aged and frothed to a precise thickness. Regardless, they decided to poach another key ingredient: Chef Sheridan himself. In 1953, Joe Sheridan immigrated to the United States and started working at the Buena Vista Café.

Chef Sheridan’s original recipe is still served at the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco and the Foynes Maritime Museum, where there’s a small exhibit dedicated to the drink. Of course, virtually all bars and restaurants in Ireland have this boozy beverage on their menu, though flavours may vary.

However, there’s no need to travel across the pond for a mouthful of this hot cocktail. Just gather all the ingredients in your kitchen and follow these instructions. If you’re really looking to impress guests, pair the drink with a plate of Irish Coffee Pie or Anna Olson’s Irish Creamy Fudge.

valerie's irish coffee

Once you’ve mastered the recipe, get playful and try this decadent recipe for Valerie Bertinelli’s Irish Coffee, made with espresso and topped with Lemon-Vanilla Whipped Cream. Or, delight guests with Irish coffee with a Canadian twist, spiked with Canadian whisky, a drizzle of maple syrup, and maple-laced whipped cream.

For a fancy after-dinner nightcap, make a batch of Nancy Fuller’s Dressed Up Irish Coffee, sprinkled with shaved dark chocolate, it’s almost a dessert in a glass. The options are endless.

This St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll be celebrating my bloodline to booze legend, Chef Joe Sheridan, by raising a glass of Irish coffee. From my family, to coffee and whiskey lovers everywhere, I say: you’re welcome and Sláinte!

3 Fun and Festive Cranberry Cocktails

It wouldn’t be the holidays without bright, tart cranberries, and the same goes for cocktails. Celebrate the season in style with these three fruity drinks fit for any holiday party.

From a fizzy champagne cocktail featuring a homemade spiced cranberry orange simple syrup, to vanilla vodka-spiked cranberry mule, to the cinnamon infused cran-apple white wine sangria, we’ve got a drink to suit everyone’s taste this season.


Holiday Fizz

Prep Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Serves: 6


For the Spiced Cranberry Orange Simple Syrup
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp orange zest
1 whole star anise
1 whole cinnamon stick

For the Drinks
12 fresh cranberries
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 bottle Canadian sparkling wine or champagne, chilled
1 recipe Spiced Cranberry Orange Simple Syrup, from above, chilled


Spiced Cranberry Orange Simple Syrup
1. In a medium saucepan, bring all simple syrup ingredients to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until sugar has dissolved and cranberries have started to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, strain into a glass jar; discard solids. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until chilled. Store simple syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

1. Skewer 2 cranberries on each rosemary sprig. Set aside.
2. In each of 6 cocktail or wine glasses, add a few slices of orange, 1 Tbsp prepared simple syrup and 1/2 cup sparkling wine or champagne. Serve chilled.

Vanilla-Cran Mule

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

2 cups ice
1/2 cup vanilla vodka
1/2 cup ginger ale
1 Tbsp cranberry juice
12 fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to defrost if using frozen)
1 lime cut into thin rounds, to garnish
Evergreen twigs, to garnish

1. In a cocktail shaker or pitcher, per mule, gently stir 1/4 cup vodka, 1/2 cup ginger ale and 1 Tbsp cranberry juice.
2. Add 1/2 cup ice, 3 cranberries and a couple lime slices to each glass (use traditional copper mule mugs or regular cocktail glasses).
3. Pour prepared cocktail into each ice-filled glass. Garnish with evergreen twigs. Serve.

Cran-Apple Sangria

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
Serves: 6

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to defrost if using frozen)
1 gala apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup brandy
1 bottle white wine

1. In a large pitcher or punch bowl, stir together cranberries, apple slices, apple cider, cinnamon, brandy and white wine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
2. Pour or ladle sangria into glasses, being sure to include the wine-soaked apples and cranberries. Serve chilled.


A Classic Caesar to Enjoy Any Time of Year

By Nancy Wu

Some use oysters, prawns, bacon or onion rings to garnish theirs, but I prefer a classic Canadian Caesar. No, it is not a Bloody Mary. It is delicious. It is genuinely Canadian. It is all about the clam juice – the slightly spicy saltiness that defines a Caesar. As a born and bred Vancouverite, the smell just pulls at my heartstrings. It reminds me of the summer: long barbecues on the beach, fishing on Vancouver Island and hiking the local trails.

The Caesar is my cocktail of choice. I particularly crave this whenever I’m away on vacation simply because it reminds me of home. But when I order it, I often just get blank stares. “So what’s in a Caesar?” people ask. This classic Caesar is made with tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, spices and, of course, clam juice!

Classic Canadian Caesar, Courtesy of Nancy Wu, Nomss.com, Port Coquitlam, B.C.

The clam juice makes all the difference in this tasty cocktail.


Prep time: 10 mins
Yield: 4 servings

Caesar glass rimmer
1 lime (cut into 5 wedges)
4-8 oz (120-240 mL) vodka
3 cups (approx 725 mL) Caesar mix
2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) prepared horseradish
ice (optional)
pepper to taste
fresh sage leaves
4 bamboo skewers

1. Cover small flat plate with Caesar rimmer.
2. Use 1 lime wedge to wet rim of each glass. Coat rims with Caesar rimmer.
3. Divide vodka among glasses.
4. Pour Caesar mix, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish into large pitcher and stir.
5. Top vodka with Caesar mix and stir.
6. Add ice if desired.
7. Top with fresh pepper. Thread 1 sage leaf and 1 lime wedge onto each skewer; use to garnish drinks.

Use 10 or 12 oz. (325 or 375 mL) glasses or mason jars for that ultra-Canadian look.

Nancy is a finance professional by trade and the editor-in-chief of nomss.com, a Vancouver food blog focused on food journalism, lifestyle, travel, branding and social media. Nancy is passionate about invoking vivid imagery, descriptive experiences and public relations. She is digitally savvy and energetic about content marketing, strategic goodwill, digital relationships and food photography.


10 Cocktails for Every Personality Type

cocktails for every personality type
Pictured: The Grumpy Uncle cocktail

Each holiday season, we gather together with our families — and most families have some (if not all) of the following personality types. When it comes to concocting the perfect cocktail for everyone from your cranky uncle to a prim, proper grandma, we’ve got you covered with the perfect cocktail for each.

1. The Grumpy Uncle
Signature Cocktail: The Drunk Uncle

When that cranky uncle begins his seasonal screed about politics and how everything was better back in his day, you can improve his mood significantly by serving him this spicy combination of apple cider and plenty of gin.

2. The Bubbly, Talkative Aunt
Signature Cocktail: Champagne Bourbon Cocktail

That one aunt who loves to talk — and talk, and talk — is known for her perky personality, and she deserves a libation that’s just as bubbly as she is. Courtesy of Chef Bobby Flay, this champagne cocktail offers refreshment with a kick, thanks to a shot of bourbon.

3. The High-Energy Dad
Signature Cocktail: 44

For that high-octane dad who’s always on the go, keep him hopping with this unique liqueur made from vodka infused with orange and coffee — just the drink to help him keep his energy up while entertaining.

4. The Judgmental Mother
Signature Cocktail: Mulled Tonic

If you’ve just about had it with mom criticizing everything from your haircut to your significant other (or lack thereof), a great strategy is to get her to shift her focus off you and onto this delicious, heart-warming cocktail that blends her favourite tea, mulled spices — and oh, yeah, a hefty splash of rum.

5. The Misanthropic Teenager
Signature Cocktail: Virgin Peach Bellini

Even the mopiest teenager will have a tough time remaining dour when tasting this delicious alcohol-free beverage, created by Anna Olson, with lemon sherbet mingling with sparkling lemonade and puréed peaches for a frozen delight that will put a smile on even the most misanthropic mouth.

6. Celebrity-Obsessed Sister
Signature Cocktail: The Cosmopolitan

If you can’t keep your celebrity-obsessed sister from recounting the latest drama from Keeping Up With the Kardashians or which celebrity couple just split up, serve her the cocktail that was a favourite of the women on Sex and the City: the Cosmopolitan. Using Ina Garten’s easy-to-mix recipe, this sweet, sophisticated spin on a Martini is always a favourite.

7. The Hipster Brother
Signature Cocktail: The Sazerac

If you’re looking for a cocktail that is obscure yet iconic enough to impress a hipper-than-though sibling, look no further than the Sazerac. Born in New Orleans in 1850, this potent drink blends rye whiskey with bitters and absinthe — a classic cocktail with a serious hip quotient.

8. The Prim Grandma
Signature Cocktail: The Gin Blossom

You can remind your prim, proper grandmother that the Queen Mother herself was known to indulge in a daily cocktail, and her drink of choice was Dubonnet and gin — and then offer her this gin-based drink (inspired by Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the biopic The Iron Lady) that blends gin, French aperitif Lillet Blanc and a splash of St. Germain Elderflower liqueur.

9. The Snobby Sister-in-Law
Signature Cocktail: The Grand

There’s just no pleasing your snooty sister-in-law, who never feels that anything is good enough for her, be it your décor or the drinks you serve. Prepare to stop her in her tracks, however, when you serve her this sweet, sophisticated blend of Grand Marnier, vodka, cranberry juice, lime and Prosecco.

10. The Sports Fan Grandpa
Signature Cocktail: Breakaway Hot Cocoa

If Grandpa can’t tear himself away from whatever game happens to be on TV, serve him this hockey-themed take on hot chocolate that adds a shot of vodka. It will score a hat trick with his taste buds.

10 Cool Hotel Bars in Canada

Bars and lounges found inside of hotel properties tend to get a bad rap — maybe not a bad rap, but this scenario may seem familiar to you: a lonely businessman sips on a glass of whisky as the barkeep leans over and says “Rough day?” Well, it’s 2015 and we’re not on the set of Mad Men, and hotel watering holes are so much more than that.


Here are 10 bars and lounges across the country that while located in a hotel, they offer an intriguing atmosphere and do a great job with their cocktails, too.


6Twelve (Saskatoon, SK)

Head into the waterfront Sheraton hotel and down the hallway to find this cocktail hotspot serving everything from an after-work drinks to the perfect first date cocktail. The Blackberry Blossom is floral and bright, helping you pretend that winter isn’t around the corner. For something a little different, try the Beetnik, a martini that’s prepared with house-made beet-infused vodka with dill.

Bearfoot Bistro’s Champagne Lounge and The Ice Room (Whistler, BC)

Après-ski or not, the Champagne Lounge is one of the most popular places in Whistler to enjoy a drink. Like the Listel Hotel it’s housed in, the lounge is equal parts contemporary and cozy. If you’re after a less-than traditional bar experience, pop in to the property’s -32° ice lounge for a vodka tasting with some friends. Don’t worry, they supply the jackets.

The Drake Hotel Lounge (Toronto, ON)

Queen Street West has no shortage of great places to go for a drink, but you have to give props to The Drake for being around for so many years and keeping up with the joneses, or at least the hipster-cool cocktail joints nearby. There’s ample seating here (a rarity on Queen Street) and there’s usually something interesting going on in the evening, including the weekly 86’d Industry Mondays, live music and more.

Lounge Central 899 (Calgary, AB)

Often eclipsed by the well-known Le Germain restaurant Charcut, a lot of people forget that this chic lounge, recessed on the main level, is a comfy and cool place to enjoy a classic cocktail with a bite to eat. The food offerings are minimal, but the charcuterie is made by Charcut, so you know it will be good.

Pacific Rim Lobby Lounge (Vancouver, BC)

Most Fairmont properties are known for their cocktail programs, but this particular lounge in downtown Vancouver just feels like a cut above the rest. Wear your Sunday best to this spot; otherwise the ball-gowned servers floating around the room might make you feel under-dressed. It’s a pretty regal cocktail experience, but in the best way.

Plateau Lounge (Montreal, QC)

When you walk into a W Hotel, you can typically bank on things being pretty slick and sophisticated, and, naturally, Plateau is no exception in terms of décor and their well-crafted cocktails. The lounge is much calmer earlier in the week, but picks up Thursday to Saturday evenings, when you’ll find local DJs spinning tunes.

Prohibition (Vancouver, BC)

Don’t let the name scare you, there’s no shortage of booze behind the bar here. Currently one of Vancouver’s hottest spots to grab a drink, Prohibition is located in Hotel Georgia, but sticks to the speakeasy feel with a side door entrance, complete with an eye slot, a lush interior and bartenders that can make whatever your heart desires.

Raw Bar (Calgary, AB)

Famous in Calgary for its stunning contemporary Vietnamese cuisine, Raw Bar was one of the first establishments in Calgary to put an emphasis on craft cocktails, and continues to be a leader in the scene. Sip on a build-your-own old fashioned, order a Rose Aperol Spritzer punch bowl to share — you can’t really go wrong.

Shangri-la Lobby Lounge (Toronto, ON)

The Shangri-la spares no expense when it comes to appearance, service and quality. Much like the aforementioned Pacific Rim, it’s a place where you should probably be mindful of what you’re wearing. Sitting down in here at night, with the ambient lighting, while you sip on a classic gin martini will make you feel a bit like a movie star.

YEW (Vancouver, BC)

This sustainable seafood-focused restaurant inside The Four Seasons hotel also looks to the ocean when it comes to inspiration for their cocktail menu. Designed by one of Canada’s most well-known mixologists Lauren Mote, the intricate drinks (separated into five different categories, each inspired by one of the world’s oceans) feature unique ingredients like Irish moss, Green Chartreuse, fenugreek and more.

Perfect Pink Lemonade Margarita

This pretty lemonade margarita will get any party started! It’s the perfect refreshing drink to sip on a hot summer day.


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 8

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup cranberry juice
2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 cup tequila
8 cups ice
Lemon slices

1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in lemon juice, cranberry juice, lemon zest and tequila. Chill mixture for at least 1 hour or until cold.
2. Stir pink lemonade mixture again and pour half in a blender along with 4 cups of ice. Mix until slushy. Pour into glasses and garnish with lemon slice. Repeat with remaining mixture and ice to make another batch.

Notes: For pink limeade, substitute limes for the lemons.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.

Our 16 Most Refreshing Summer Cocktails

From fruity sangria and peach tea punch to strawberry lemonade mojitos, we’ve compiled the best summer drinks that are perfect for your next big barbecue or even just a typical Wednesday night at home.


  1. The Good Thyme Cocktail
  2. Chazz & Tonic
  3. Ras-Apple Pie Martini
  4. Mouth-Watering Strawberry Lemonade Mojito
  5. Cinna-Lime Spice Sipper
  6. Burnt Orange Campari
  7. Watermelon-Strawberry Sangria
  8. Floral Absinthe Punch
  9. The Van Dyk’s Cocktail
  10. Sangria with White Grape Juice
  11. Grapefruit Garner
  12. Hibiscus Fizz Cocktail
  13. Governor’s Mansion Peach Tea Punch
  14. The Murricane
  15. Rose Wine with Frozen Fruit Cubes
  16. Hanky-Pinky

10 Tasty Cocktail Spots from Coast to Coast

As much as us food folks love to talk food, photograph food and, after all of that’s over and done with, actually eat food, it goes without saying that we all love a well-made cocktail too. Refinement levels of cocktails can differ from city to city across Canada, but no matter where you are there’s likely a good drink just waiting to be sipped. Here are 10 great places to enjoy a drink if you find yourself in these neighbourhoods.

1. L’abattoir (Vancouver, BC)

Now almost five years old, L’abattoir is still one of the top-rated restaurants in Vancouver’s food scene that seems to grow exponentially by the month. The service is always spot on and the food as well, but any cocktail lover will tell you that a seat at the bar with a Donald Draper in-hand (the bourbon cocktail, not the man) is one of the best places to be in Vancouver.

2. Anejo (Calgary, AB)

Much like Uva, Anejo isn’t necessarily known for their food, but certainly is for their massive tequila selection as well as their long list of tequila cocktails. The lively dining room is a fun place to spend your time, especially on the weekends. And it only gets more exciting after a few sips on one of their tequila negronis.

3. Bar Isabel (Toronto, ON)

I’ve eaten at this restaurant a number of times and I have a hard time finding any faults. Delicious food aside, the bar team really knows what they’re doing when it comes to cocktails. If only for the name, try the “Witch, Please” for starters, made with gin, lillet blanc, celery bitters and an absinthe rinse. A little bird once told me the restaurant is still consistently so busy that they’re looking at allowing people to make reservations for their bar seats. If that’s not a sign of a restaurant doing cocktails right, I’m not sure what is.

4. Field Guide (Halifax, NS)

There are a lot of fun places to go grab a beer in the heart of this east coast city, but only a few that can guarantee a great cocktail. This intimate open kitchen and bar concept is a go-to for anyone in Halifax looking for a well-made drink. Order the “I’ll have another” because it pretty much describes drinking anyway.

5. The Grazing Goat (Saskatoon, SK)

This city has seen a massive revitalization of its Riversdale area over the past three or so years and with Goat moving into the neighbourhood just under a year ago, it’s gotten even better. The joint is surprisingly spacious for a more hipster-chic sort of establishment, but having that roomy feel in a cocktail-forward restaurant is definitely a rarity these days.

The Harbord Room

6. The Harbord Room (Toronto, ON)

Again, a restaurant of many accolades, The Harbord Room places as much importance on their cocktail development as they do on their food menu. Bar manager Evelyn Chick is a Vancouver native, who’s spent time stirring and shaking with award-winning west coast mixologist Lauren Mote. It’s nice to see talent moving eastward as I’m sure Toronto is all the better for it.

Krafty Kitchen + Bar

7. Krafty Kitchen + Bar (Kelowna, BC)

It’s no secret that wine rules the roost when it comes to the libation scene in Kelowna, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t delicious cocktails to be had here too. Top Chef Canada season three alumni Chris Shaften puts a strong emphasis on showcasing Okanagan ingredients, but the bartenders are crafting drinks worthy of the spotlight as well. If you’re just stopping by for some drinks, try the vodka-forward carrot and cumin sour. I mean, bourbon sours are so 2013 anyway.

8. Model Milk (Calgary, AB)

One of Calgary’s best restaurants, built into one of the only heritage buildings on 17th Avenue (also known as the red mile now that it’s playoff season), has been a frontrunner in both the food and cocktail scene since it opened in 2011. Their cocktail program has really evolved over the past four years, but the restaurant’s most popular signature cocktail is, without a doubt, The Black Manhattan — a combination of whiskey, averna amaro and chocolate bitters. On Thursday nights, people can also experience Model Milk’s next-door space called “PDR” (which stands for private dining room) that offers a more intimate drinking experience with tasty bar snacks.

The Shameful Tiki Room

9. The Shameful Tiki Room (Vancouver, BC)

Spend a half hour in this dimly lit, island-themed bar and I think you’ll agree this country needs a whole lot more tiki bars. Everything from the interior design to the menu and service exudes an unabashed fun and playful atmosphere. Punch-bowl cocktails are a great idea for sharing (like that giant blue cocktail from Wayne’s World), while classics like Mai Tais go down much, much easier than they should. Be careful though. Having more than a couple of these extra boozy drinks and you’ll find yourself falling down a rabbit hole…and likely purchasing the ceramic tiki mug your drink comes in too!

Uva: Vieux Canadien (left) and Gin Donkey (right)

10. Uva (Vancouver, BC)

Not as well known for their food, this wine and cocktail bar in the Yaletown area of Vancouver is home to one of the country’s most well-known mixologists, Lauren Mote. Mote was just named Vancouver’s bartender of the year for 2015, which isn’t really surprising seeing as the cocktail program at Uva is nothing short of extensive. You’ll find seasonal cocktails, classic drinks, signature cocktails and zero proof ones too (i.e. non-alcoholic).

Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

10 Hot Drinks for Winter from Coast to Coast

I think most people have a distinct moment when they are definitely over iced drinks and crave something warm. At least that’s how I feel where I’m from in Calgary. For me, that moment is usually below zero temperatures coupled with snow.

With the holiday season in full swing, nothing comforts more like a soothing sip from a mug of something warm and delicious. Here are 9 hot tasty beverages (some boozy, others not) that colder weather and extended visits from mother-in-laws seem slightly more bearable.


1. Ayden Kitchen and Bar (Saskatoon, SK)
Drink: Between the Winter Sheets
General Manager, Christopher Cho, just launched Ayden’s new winter cocktail menu that includes this spiced bevvy made with white rum, cider, brandy and a house-made syrup infused with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. I hope the name means you can order it to go and sip it in bed!

2. Higher Ground Cafe (Calgary, AB)
Drink:  White Chocolate Chai
Steeping a traditional Chai tea blend that’s rich and peppery in a little hot water, followed by steamed milk and some sweet, silky white chocolate will result in a tea misto that’s even more comforting than a London Fog. Which, for the record, I did not know was possible.

3. The Coup (Calgary, AB)
Drink: Maple Matcha Latte
The combination of good quality maple syrup and earthy matcha green tea, blended into some frothy, steamed milk is sort of like an east-meets-west flavour experience for the taste buds at one of the country’s best vegetarian restaurants. Matcha is high in antioxidants and quite energizing too, so this one’s great for warming you up and making you hyper at the same time.


4. Juliette & Chocolat (Montreal, QC)
Drink: The Marshmallow Madness
You haven’t really had hot chocolate unless you’ve had one at Juliette’s. Milk and dark chocolate are melted together for a drinking chocolate of epic sweet proportions, finished off with a white chocolate couli and marshmallows that are made in-house. Perfect for kids or for the kid in all of us.


5. Medina Cafe (Vancouver, BC)
Drink: Lavender Latte
Any Vancouverite will tell you that if you’re heading to Medina for brunch for the first time, you’ve got to try the signature lavender latte. I know what you’re thinking. The flavour of lavender is not everyone’s cup of tea, but this is a latte, not tea, so get over it!

Seriously though, the subtle floral hint in a the well-crafted latte is a unique sip that’s worth experiencing at least once in your life.

6. Sofitel Montreal (Montreal, BC)
Drink: Caribou Cocktail
The ‘caribou’ is an iconic winter drink of Quebec’s Winter Carnival and Winnipeg’s Festival du Voyageur where it serves as something warm and boozy to fight off the chill while people take in all of the excitement outdoors. Head into Sofitel’s hotel bar to order up this classic combination of red wine, whisky and maple syrup.


7. UVA (Vancouver, BC)
Drink: Scrooge McHooch
You won’t be feeling so Scrooge like after a few sips of this hot cocktail. Made with a mix of rum, green chantreuse, steamed milk, chocolate bitters and more, mixologist Lauren Mote promises this will cure any winter blues you may have.

8. Krafty Kitchen and Bar (Kelowna, BC)
Drink: Hot Apple Toddy
Top Chef Canada alumnus, Chris Shaften puts a nice, warming spin on the classic hot toddy at his Kelowna eatery with apple brandy, whisky and honey with a bit of lemon and nutmeg. The perfect thing to get your hands on when you’re back in town after a solid ski day at Big White.

9. The Middle Spoon (Halifax, NS)
Drink: Wired Whiskey Coffee
I don’t necessarily recommend making this your daily morning brew, but a cup of coffee stirred up with almond liqueur and whiskey topped with orange zest and whipped cream is definitely A-OK on a Saturday morning.


10. Soma Chocolate (Toronto, ON)
Drink: Mayan Chocolate
A bit of spice makes everything nice — and that holds true for hot chocolate, too. Soma adds a little heat to their rich drinking chocolate by infusing chili pepper, ginger, orange, vanilla and a “secret” blend of spices. Mysteriously delicious!

Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

How to Throw a Kick-Ass Bourbon Party


Sometimes, we’ll use just about any reason to throw a party. Quit your job? Yay! Found that perfect apartment? Woohoo! Started dating a new guy and have to look busy to keep him interested? Party on, Wayne!

With the temperature dropping and BBQ gathering no longer an option, we’re in need of fun (and warm) ways to keep us entertained indoors. So, why not celebrate National Bourbon Month with a bourbon-themed bash with your besties? You could even call it “Bestie Bourbon Bash,” if you will.

From the perfect cocktail to the best dishes to serve, not to mention the little extras to indulge in, here’s everything you need to throw a kick-ass night in with friends.


When it comes to how to serve bourbon, keep it simple when savoury dishes are being served and stick to it straight up, with ginger, or even as a Manhattan. Before the meal or afterwards with dessert, go for a fun cocktail like a Sour Cherry Old-Fashioned.

Dishes to Serve:


Make sure you have the right glasses, like this version from West Elm. And feel free to dress them up with customized stir sticks, like these wooden options from For Your Party. As for the activity, cards and bourbon just feel right, and this golden set from Anthropologie is perfect.

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.


Top 8 Canadian Cocktails

There’s nothing better than sipping at a spicy Caesar or sweet martini while you’re lounging in the summer sun. Besides; what better excuse to knock back a few cocktails than the annual celebration of Canada Day?

To get the party started, we’ve found 8 great Canadian-themed cocktails for you to enjoy over the long weekend—or any day this summer!


1. The Canadian Rock Shot
Although inspired by Canadian winter sports such as hockey and curling, this party favourite is a hit all year ‘round. Serve this refreshing shot to your guests to kick off your Canada Day festivities.


2. Bloody Lobster
This bad boy isn’t as messy as it sounds. A unique spin on the traditional Bloody Mary, this cocktail makes use of lobster juice for a unique and delicious taste.


3. Pink Goose
This libation is another fan favourite that will have you feeling as loose as a Canada goose. This citrus-spiked punch can be served any hot day this summer and will have you and your guests relaxed and refreshed in no time.


4. BLT Caesar
This Caesar is like a meal in a glass. Lemony, lettuce ice cubes fill and chill this spicy, stout Caesar. But the prosciutto and pepper rimmer is the real feature here—although it takes some elbow grease, the tasty payoff is well worth the effort.


5. Adam’s Apple
This fragrant and fruity cocktail highlights the apple by pairing its tart sweetness with spicy ginger and aromatic thyme. To make this cocktail extra patriotic, use fresh apple juice from a local variety store and make sure to use Canada Dry ginger ale.


6. Ginger Rum Shandy
This dandy shandy contains some of Canada’s best ingredients; beer, apple and ginger make this cocktail extra special. The spicy ginger and tart lime cut through the sweetness, creating a perfect cooling effect.


7. Snow Crab Bloody Caesar
Another take on the Caesar, this one incorporates Snow Crab for a more luxurious presentation, while the Worchestershire sauce, horseradish and steak spice elevate taste. This sublime cocktail is a real crowd-pleaser.


8. Algoma Apple Martini
This martini is all about the apple. In fact, every single ingredient involved is an apple derivative, right down to the Calvados brandy. But the star player in this concoction is the fragrant apple cider.




How to Cook With Tea

To most, a good cup of tea is a form of comfort or a remedy, but loose-leaf tea can actually take your culinary creations from average to extraordinary simply by incorporating it into your usual ingredients. Cooking with loose-leaf tea has quickly become a popular trend among foodies and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. From baked goods and desserts to party-pleasing cocktails, tea is a truly versatile ingredient. Not only does tea provide a number of healthy and nutritional benefits, it’s also a great ingredient that can add some exciting and unique flavours to a dish.

With a wide variety of teas on the market, there are endless possibilities to this culinary trend. Loose-leaf teas contain many spices, nuts, fruits and floral notes that can heavily impact your other ingredients, so choosing the right tea is important for a successful dish.

For baking, it’s best to use an herbal tea that contains fruits or nuts, as the food will adapt to the teas aroma and flavour. Many loose-leaf teas, like the ones available at DAVIDsTEA, contain real pieces of fruits and nuts making it an ideal ingredient for baking. Simply incorporate the steeped tea into your batter or mixture before baking. Finding these teas is not as difficult as you may think, as you probably have these favourites in your cupboards regularly! Chai and early grey are two popular teas that are great for baking. DAVIDsTEA Cream of Earl Grey, a creamy take on the classic, lends itself beautifully to this Chocolate Bread Pudding recipe.


With real cinnamon and cloves, Pure Chai is the perfect spice addition to these Chai Cinnamon Bun Mini Cheesecakes.


Iced tea is the ultimate summer beverage, and iced tea cocktails are even better for the adults at the party! Teas are the ideal base for your summer cocktails, because they already pack a ton of flavour on their own. Fruit-based herbal teas work best for cocktails as they contain fragrant and distinguishable ingredients (and they’re even low-cal!) Mojito’s are a fun summer classic that can take on many forms and flavours. With a berry-flavoured tea like Bear Trap, it’s easy to make a fruity, minty cocktail that’s great for the patio. This Bear Trap Mojito also has Raspberry agave for added berry goodness!


These delicious recipes are courtesy of Bite Me More.



How to Find the Perfect Match for Your Tea

Ready to play matchmaker and find the perfect match for your tea? Experiment with your favourite loose-leaf teas at home to create brand new flavor blends! Hot or iced, mixing and matching teas is a great way to expand your tea horizons. Check out these great tea recipes combining flavours that we love from DAVIDsTEA!

Hot Tea: 

A hot tea is a deliciously warm pick-me-up for morning and noon, and a great way to relax in the evening. Blending different loose-leaf teas creates a whole new flavour experience that can cater to your busy day.

Start your day off right:

1) Blueberry MuffinBlueberry Jam (black tea) + Birthday Cake (rooibos tea)


A warm, delicious treat, this tasty blend will have you thinking you are enjoying freshly baked muffins that just came out of the oven. Combining the rich flavour of black teas with the fruity freshness of herbal and rooibos is a delicious energizer. Containing pieces of real blueberries, it’s a great choice for breakfast or your mid-morning break.

Try this other “Perfect Match” from DAVIDsTEA to start your morning! 

Blueberry Pancake = Blueberry Jam + Oh Canada!

After-dinner treat:

2) White Chocolate-Dipped StrawberryRed Velvet Cake (black tea) + Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait (herbal tea)

White Chocolate Dipped Strawberry

This delicious blend of white chocolate and strawberries is a playful twist on chocolate-dipped strawberries. This deep red blend is rich and creamy and is perfect for the tea drinker with a sweet tooth.

Try these other sweet “Perfect Matches” for the dessert lover: 

Apple Pie = Forever Nuts + Big Apple 

Tiramisu = Birthday Cake + Coffee Pu’erh


With warmer weather approaching, it’s time to get out the ice cubes and entertain with refreshing drink ideas. Nothing evokes relaxing on the patio or by the pool more than sipping on a margarita or tangy lemonade. Concoct new takes on these classic drinks with two cocktail-inspired tea blends that are delicious with or without the spirit of your choice!

4) MargaritaLime Gelato (green tea) + Orange Blossom (rooibos tea)

margarita tea

The vibrant flavour of lime with a hit of orange blends to create this margarita-inspired beverage — hold the salt! Add a splash of tequila for an iced adult beverage.

5) Goji Berry LemonadeGoji Pop (herbal tea) + La La Lemon (black tea)

Goji Berry Lemonade

Combining sweet pink Goji Pop with tart and tangy La La Lemon creates the perfect Pink Lemonade. Spike this bright blend with some vodka and you have a great party pleaser that is sure to make all of your guests happy.

Steeping Instructions:

Mix 0.75g of your favourite tea with 0.75g of its “perfect match”

Steep in 96°C water for 4 – 7 minutes. Enjoy!

All loose-leaf teas available for individual purchase at DAVIDsTEA stores and online at DAVIDsTEA.com


Whiskey Business: Top 5 Whiskey Recipes



Fun fact: the word whiskey originates from the Gaelic word for water. While we don’t recommend drinking it like H2O, cooking with it is a different story! These recipes will keep you boozed from sunrise to sunset, with all of the flavour and none of the hangover.

Bacon Whiskey Jam Recipe 

French Toast with Maple Whiskey Sauce with Sour Cream Mousse Recipe 

Canadian Oyster Shooter Recipe 

Irish Creamy Fudge with Irish Coffee Recipe 

Cured and Smoked Salmon Recipe 



Top 10 Halloween Drink Ideas

halloween drink


It’s almost time for the spookiest day of the year! This Halloween, serve up some creepy cocktails and petrifying punches, courtesy of our chefs. These are our top 10 Halloween drink recipes.


Ghoulish Halloween Punch

Swamp Water

Backyard “Bones” Cocktail

Fresh Zombie Guts

Pomegranate Potion

Blood and Guts Punch

Bloody Mary

Ghoulish Grapefruit Cosmopolitan

Devilish Martini

Bloodcurdling Cocktail

Pumpkin Guts 






Top 5 Summer Alternatives to Beer

As we roll into the hot days of summer, there’s nothing better than cracking open an ice cold beer. But if you’re looking for a lighter drink (one that side-steps the bloating that comes with beer), or one that is low on wheat and gluten, here are five thirst-quenching alternatives. Of course, they’re still light, crisp and refreshing!


1. Rickard’s Shandy (4.5% ABV)
A traditional Shandy consists of beer mixed with a carbonated clear drink (think ginger ale or 7-Up). This version is made with lemonade. This light lager has a zip because of the lemon flavour, but still maintains a hint of ‘malty-ness.’

2. Somersby Apple Cider (4.5% ABV)
Calling all sweet-tooths! This one goes down just like apple juice, but we recommend putting it over ice to water down the sugar. Still light and crisp, Somersby is considered a medium-dry cider (and a summer staple).

3. Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer (4.0% ABV)
Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not a wheat beer; instead, it’s made with ginger, sugar, water, and lemon juice. The ginger tones are definitely apparent and add a nice kick to the drink.

4. Molson Canadian Cider (5.0% ABV)
New to Molson’s beverage lineup is this cider. Made from real Canadian apples, Molson Canadian introduces a traditional English-style cider. Think crisp apple flavour, balanced with a hint of sweetness.

*Available only and exclusively in Ontario (LCBO) and Nova Scotia (NSLC) currently.

5. Strongbow (5.0% ABV)
If you’re looking for something less sweet, try Strongbow – one of the most popular ciders around the world. Beer experts parallel the flavour palette to that of a white wine, making it one of the driest ciders on the market.


*Visit your local beer and wine store for pricing.