Return to blender

The cacophony of spinning blades is usually the sign of an inferior cocktail — but bartenders are now seeing the gadget’s potential

Talia Kleinplatz photo

Once a derided device of the past, the blender is slowly finding its way back into cocktail bars around the globe.

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The Tom Cat

A fruity, herbal mix to get your whiskers twitching

INGREDIENTS:
2 oz. Old Tom gin
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. Tuscan pear rooibos tea syrup
½ oz. Triple Sec
3 dashes of peach bitters
Rosemary sprig and lemon twist

METHOD:
Fill a Collins Glass with ice. Shake all ingredients in a Boston glass. Strain into Collins Glass. Garnish with rosemary sprig and lemon twist.

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There’s new life in the old tomcat

Gin’s dark past comes to light as distillers go back to the drink’s barrel-aged roots

Early gin was stored and shipped in barrels, so it was naturally darker. Modern barrel-aging aims to add vanilla and spice complexity to gin’s botanicals. Dan Toulgoet photo

To the superstitious, a black cat is a bad omen. But to underground drinkers during Prohibition, spotting a sign depicting an old tomcat meant you’d hit the gin jackpot.

A precursor to the crisp and clear London dry gin, Old Tom gin was stored and shipped in wooden barrels, so it had a naturally darker hue. Sometimes it was sweeter or more resiny, thanks to the addition of sugar or, yes, turpentine. Swill or not, Old Tom was probably better than no Tom.

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The Cosmopolitan

There’s a cocktail for every mood and moment, says John Burns, our man at the bar

Illustration by Ryan Mitson.

To me, cocktails are mood on ice. They elevate a moment, enhance life. They’re the pocket squares of gastronomy, the clever patterned socks that tie it all together and keep the same old interesting. In that way, they distill our best selves.

When I travel, I always treat myself to an interesting bar off in some neighbourhood (thanks for the research, city magazines!) and in preparation, run through the questions. What will I wear? What time of day will I visit? And, of course, what will I order? The whole sums to this: For these precious minutes, who will I be? Cary Grant? Steve McQueen? (Hey, don’t laugh at other people’s self-delusions.)

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Seaforth Swizzle

The Seaforth Swizzle. Jennifer Gauthier photo

Named for the park located across from the armoury on the edge of Kitsilano, the Seaforth Swizzle is “a super bright and refreshing drink,” says its creator, Kevin Brownlee, bar manager at AnnaLena. You can purchase velvet falernum at The Modern Bartender or Gourmet Warehouse, or make your own with the recipe below. To find Bucha Brew, visit buchabrew.ca for a list of retailers.

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Goddess of the Hunt

A decadent drink for wannabe immortals

INGREDIENTS:
0.75 oz Taboo Absinthe
0.75 oz Giffard White Chocolate Syrup
0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
Prosecco

METHOD:
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake with ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with prosecco.

—By Simon Ogden

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