Flannel by the Fire

Matthew Benevoli photo

Make this cocktail with Matthew Benevoli’s West Coast Spiced Rum

• 1 oz West Coast Spiced Rum

• 1 oz Pineau des Charentes

• 0.75 oz mandarin juice

• 0.33 oz lemon juice

• 0.25 oz Chili Syrup (recipe below)

• 2 dashes cocoa bitters

• 1 egg white or 1 dropper of Ms. Better’s Miraculous Foamer

• Garnish: 3 to 4 drops of cocoa bitters

Continue Reading

Spiced rum

Give this DIY winter warmer a West Coast twist

Homemade spiced rum makes a good gift, especially for yourself. Matthew Benevoli photos

As the days get shorter and colder, we trade our Hawaiian shirts for sweaters and our light spirits for dark. Spiced rum is a wonderful way to warm up your cocktails during the autumn and winter. But what is spiced rum? In short, it’s (usually) an aged rum that’s been flavoured.

Modern versions of rum have been around since the 17th century, with accounts of “secret blend rums” in Jamaica flavoured with fruit, herbs and spices being served in Port Royal taverns. When spirits age in oak barrels, the wood commonly imparts rich flavours of vanilla and caramel, but beyond this you’ll find spice notes of allspice, nutmeg and clove, among others. Depending how the barrels are treated, you may also find toasted nut and stone fruit notes atop the woody oak blanket. “Spicing” with these components seems a natural evolution to further enhance the flavours that rum already presents us with.

Continue Reading

La Joya

La Joya. Matthew Benevoli photo

Matthew Benevoli’s La Joya uses his homemade ginger bug.

• 1.25 oz blanco tequila

• 0.5 oz elderflower liqueur

• 0.75 oz ginger bug

• 1 oz orange juice (preferably fresh-pressed)

• 0.25 oz lemon juice

• Garnish: lemon twist, orange slice or vibrant flower

Continue Reading

Ginger Bug Penicillin

Ginger Bug Penicillin. Matthew Benevoli photo

Matthew Benevoli’s Ginger Bug Penicillin uses his homemade ginger bug.

• 1.5 oz blended scotch whisky

• 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice

• 0.75 oz ginger bug

• 0.5 oz honey syrup (see note)

• 0.25 oz peated Islay scotch

• Garnish: piece of candied ginger or a lemon twist

Continue Reading

Ginger Bug

Fizzy and spicy, it’s the best base for summer’s most refreshing patio cocktails

To make the ginger bug, you will need ginger root, sugar and filtered water, as well as Mason jars, paper coffee filters or cheesecloth, and measuring tools. Matthew Benevoli photos

With the longer days and hotter weather just around the corner, let’s get a helping hand from nature. We’ll be creating something with some heat, a little bit sweet and bright as the summer: a ginger bug!

A ginger bug isn’t really a bug at all, but a naturally fermented ginger mixture with some sugar, water and a little time and care. For generations, naturally fermented soft drinks have been used as health tonics and as refreshments for everyone from laymen to royalty. Traditional ginger beer and ale used to be produced with the help of a ginger bug, and contained natural medicinal properties to ease cold symptoms and nausea (I’m sure we’ve all heard someone swear by sipping ginger ale for an upset stomach.)

Continue Reading

DIY vermouth

Add a personalized twist to your favourite cocktails with this aromatized, fortified wine

For this white vermouth, you’ll need botanicals such as grapefruit peel, bay leaves, dried apples, chamomile and mint tea, which mimic the earthy flavours of the wormwood that gave vermouth its name. Matthew Benevoli photo

Let’s talk about the often-misunderstood aperitif vermouth. What is it? Where does it come from?

Vermouth is fortified wine with herbs, roots, spices and sometimes sugar added. There are a handful of different styles to choose from: the most common offerings are sweet red, traditionally from Italy; and dry white wormwood-infused from France. The word vermouth is the French pronunciation for “wermut,” which is German for wormwood, the mystical herb that gives absinthe its reputation and provides the distinctive dry, bitter note found in vermouth.

Continue Reading