Cognac & Pear Brulée

Justin Taylor’s Cognac & Pear Brulée. Dan Toulgoet photo

• 1.5 oz. Remy Martin VS Cognac
• 0.5 oz Bénédictine liqueur
• 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 0.75 oz pasteurized liquid egg white
• 1 oz caramelized pear purée (see note)
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• 1 tsp cinnamon sugar

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Home Team

Home Team cocktail. Photo courtesy of Chris Enns.

Chris Enns prepared this cocktail for the World Class Canada 2018 national finals. “This drink came from the Wanderlust challenge where we came up with a cocktail inspired by both home and an away location,” he recalls. A twist on the Sazerac cocktail, the Home Team is inspired by the feeling of “home” he found at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, as well the home-team support among the World Class bartenders. Here it is served in a Scottish quaich cup; however, a chilled Old Fashioned or Sazerac-style glass would be fine.

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Smooth Operator

The Sidecar cocktail is a sophisticated, classy concoction, so why is it so often overlooked?

Ritz Paris bartender Frank Meier may have invented the Sidecar in 1923. Ritz Paris photo.

The Sidecar is one of the great Prohibition-era classics, a boozy-but-vibrant three-ingredient cocktail that fulfills our desire for both the depth of brown spirits and the bright acidity of citrus. It should be a rock star among cocktails, yet where Old Fashioneds, tiki drinks and even the horrible Gimlet have made their comebacks, the Sidecar has somehow eluded its just recognition amid the modern cocktail revival.

It’s time for that to change.

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The Sidecar

The Sidecar. Dan Toulgoet photo.

The original recipe called for equal amounts of Cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice, but whether it’s the ingredients that have changed or modern tastes, today we prefer a version that’s heavier on the Cognac. If you can’t afford the real thing, use as good a quality brandy as you can.

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Blood Orange Sidecar

Serve your cocktails in old-fashioned coupe glasses. iStock photo

Blood oranges are in stores right now, but not for long. They are delicious in any of the traditional sours, especially in this juicy variation on a classic Sidecar.

INGREDIENTS: 
1.5 oz (45 mL) Cognac or brandy
1 oz (30 mL) Cointreau
0.5 oz (15 mL) lemon juice
1.5 oz (45 mL) blood orange juice

METHOD:
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Serves 1.

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The Last Word: Mint Julep

Mint Julep. Meghan Kirkpatrick photo.

“…that the mounds of ices, and the bowls of mint-julep and sherry cobbler they make in these latitudes, are refreshments never to be thought of afterwards, in summer, by those who would preserve contented minds.”

—Charles Dickens, while travelling in America (1842)

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How to stock your spirits cabinet

Nightingale head bartender Rhett Williams. Dan Toulgoet photo

Every cocktail starts with a base spirit. Every home cocktail bar should do the same. The question is, what spirits do you really need to stock at home? What’s worth spending money on (and what isn’t)? After all, those bright, shiny bottles can be expensive.

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Mulled Wine

Justin Taylor’s Mulled Wine. Lou Lou Childs photo

Turn the heat on under this cocktail an hour before your guests arrive and your home will be filled with wonderful holiday aromas.

INGREDIENTS:
750ml bottle red wine
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, pulp removed
0.5 cup granulated sugar
0.5 cup brandy or Cognac
2 tsp whole cloves
3 unpeeled mandarins, washed and cut into quarters
2 apples cored and quartered
1 cup frozen cranberries
4 cinnamon sticks
3 sprigs of rosemary

METHOD:
Add wine, orange juice and sugar into a large pot over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Stud mandarins with cloves and add, along with remaining ingredients, to pot. Cook gently for two hours (take care not to boil off the alcohol). Remove from heat and allow to cool, then strain through a sieve, pressing down to extract the juices from the cranberries and mandarins. Store up to one week in fridge. To serve, heat in a crockpot on low, or in a pan over low heat. Do not boil. Garnish with mandarin segments, apple slices, cinnamon sticks and cranberries. Makes 12, five oz. servings.

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