Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending. Matthew Benevoli photo

Make this cocktail at home by smoking it in a decanter. 

1 oz Courvoisier or other VSOP Cognac

1 oz Arbutus Distillery Birch Liqueur

0.5 oz medium sherry

1 tsp grapefruit oleo saccharum (see note)

2 drops saline solution (1:5 sea salt to warm water)

Hickory smoke

Garnish: dehydrated orange wheel

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Smokin’

Fire up fall’s woodsy flavour

There’s more than one way to add the autumnal aroma of smoke to cocktails. We explore your options. Matthew Benevoli photos

Fall has arrived and there’s a chill in the air, so it’s time to trade T-shirts for sweaters and cosy up with a comforting drink. Dark, boozy cocktails offering a warming feeling become our go to, and through smoking we can elevate those drinks and invoke a fireside experience.

There are many ways to smoke cocktails, using ingredients such as woods, herbs and spices, and employing anything from a lighter to culinary torches, wood planks and the handy appliance known as a smoking gun. Smoking might seem intimidating, but with the methods on the next page and some practice, you’ll soon be creating complex flavour layers in every sip. 

Whichever method you choose, practice makes perfect. Have fun experimenting—just mind those fingers!  

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Cordials

Time to be cordial (with our cocktails)

Use high-quality natural ingredients to make your own cordials. Matthew Benevoli photos

Cordials are often referred to as liqueurs or flavoured liquors; however, today we will be making the UK style of cordial, which is more akin to a concentrated syrup.

I’m sure we’ve all noticed and maybe even reached for that bottle of neon green lime cordial at the grocery store. Sure, it works “fine” in drinks like a classic Gimlet (which is simply gin and lime cordial, shaken and served in a chilled cocktail glass), but the artificial lime flavour can take away from the beautiful spirits we love. 

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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

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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.

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