We’re living through challenging times; we could all go for a cocktail right about now. Four creative mixologists give us four fabulous drinks perfect for raising a glass to 2020 no matter what it brings!
With summers as fleeting as ours, we advise you to get out and stay out! This means working, relaxing, playing, and enjoying your food and drink out of doors – in the backyard, on the deck or on your balcony – all at a safe physical distance, of course. So whether you’re firing up the grill or settling into a good summer read, these talented Watershed country culinarians have the perfect cocktail for celebrating the sun.
The Beamish House, Port Hope
The Beamish Lager & Lemonade
This Port Hope fixture has a new owner in Jessica Dodd, and this will be her first summer at the helm. “I have been coming to the pub since I was a little kid,” says Jessica. “When Garry – the original owner – mentioned retiring I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by.” Cheers to that!
Makes 1 refreshing cocktail.
- ½ oz. Triple Sec
- ½ oz. vodka
- 6 oz. light lager beer – Jessica uses Sleeman Light draught
- 3 oz. lemonade – use pink lemonade for a fun twist
Add all ingredients to a tall glass with ice and give it a stir. Garnish with a wedge of lemon or orange.
Tip: Makes a great big-batch party drink served in pitchers!
The Lark, Belleville
The Suburban Divorcée
From The Lark – a pretty pastel hideaway in downtown Belleville – owners Celine and Alexander Bruce-Lepage share their passion for finely crafted cocktails. “We wanted to be part of Ontario’s vibrant craft cocktail movement while not relying on simple syrups, added sugars or flavour syrups.” Some of their concoctions are too complex for the weekend warrior, but this one – their top seller, crafted for lovers of Moscow Mules, Mojitos, and spicy Margaritas – is a snap. It’s fresh, floral and a touch spicy.
Makes 1 hot-to-trot cocktail.
- 1 ½ oz. Absolut vodka
- ½ oz. Soho lychee liqueur
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
- 2-3 dashes Tabasco
- 4 oz. spicy ginger beer
- 1 tiny red Thai chili pepper – a tiny green one will work, too
Chill a tall glass and fill it with ice. Into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the vodka, lychee liquor, fresh lemon juice and Tabasco and give it a good shake. Strain the cocktail into the glass and top up with chilled ginger beer. Garnish with a red Thai chili pepper. If you like things really spicy, crack the chili pepper and stir it into the glass; but don’t sit with this sipper for too long, it gets spicier the longer the pepper infuses.
Tip: If you don’t have a shaker set at home you can add the ingredients into the tall glass, fill it with ice and give it a lively stir with a long spoon or straw.
Black Dog and Crow, Northumberland
Rhubarb and Maple Thyme Gin Fizz
Based in Northumberland County, Chef Ryan White creates pop-up and in-home one-of-a-kind dining experiences with local and seasonal ingredients. In his ultra-summery cocktail, Ryan celebrates “…the often misunderstood and overlooked rhubarb.” He adds sweetness with maple syrup from Cottontail Run Farm, fragrance with Northumberland-grown thyme and a kick with locally distilled Juniper’s Wit Gin from Kinsip. His candied rhubarb stir sticks are a spectacular garnish.
Makes 2 elegant cocktails.
- 1 lb. rhubarb, about 4 stalks, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 ½ cups water
- 4-6 sprigs thyme
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 3 oz. rhubarb maple thyme simple syrup – recipe in method below
- 3 oz. gin
- Chilled club soda, enough to top up the glass
For the simple syrup: add rhubarb, sugar, maple syrup, thyme and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until fruit is broken down. Let the mixture cool to room temperature and strain it through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer set over a bowl.
Press all the liquid out with the back of a wooden spoon. Once you’ve extracted as much liquid as possible, store the remaining fruit pulp in the fridge for future use. Add the syrup to a bottle or jar to store in the fridge.
Add lemon juice, syrup, gin and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Add ice to two cocktail glasses, pour out cocktail evenly, then top with chilled club soda.
Tip: Not up to candying rhubarb? Simply garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.
Old Salt Cocktails, PEC
The Sunday Service
Inspired by a trip to The Dorsey Cocktail Bar at The Venetian in Las Vegas, the Sunday Service is a take on mixologist Joaquin Simo’s “Naked and Famous.” The cocktail has a smoky, summery quality, and a subtle medicinal gingery-ness. David advises, “It’s a sipper not a smasher so take your time and enjoy.”
Makes 1 sophisticated cocktail.
- 1 ½ oz. Mezcal Creyente
- 1 oz. Aperol
- 1 oz. ginger syrup – recipe in method below
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add alcohol, syrup and lemon juice and shake vigorously until cold and lightly diluted. Strain over ice – preferably a single 2-inch cube – garnish with a couple of slices of cucumber and a pinch of smoked sea salt. For the ginger syrup: peel and chop a 1-inch piece of ginger, add to a saucepan with 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar. Simmer until ginger infuses and sugar dissolves.
Tip: Keep that simple syrup on hand – in the fridge – to add to sparkling water, soda, tonic, or lemonade.