SideBar: Earl Grey Gin Cocktail

Earl Gray Cocktail 7

This is very much my new favourite cocktail for summer, and I’m really not a gin kind of person. Here is a very slight variation on a recipe from Sugar and Charm and I hope you find it as delightful as I do. I already had a batch of Earl Grey tea sitting in my fridge so it just seemed like a logical choice. Just remember that if you’re planning to drink these late at night you might want to go with decaffeinated tea bags.

Earl Gray Cocktail 11

Grab yourself a pot of chilled Earl Grey tea (mine was vanilla Earl Grey which I think simply added to the goodness), some gin, some honey, some lavender (fresh sprigs are better but this was what I had), and a lemon.

Earl Gray Cocktail 2

In a cocktail shaker (or the ol’ Captain-America-glass-and-sundae-spoon), plop some ice, a teaspoon of dried lavender, 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice, 3/4 oz honey, and 1 1/2 oz gin.

Earl Gray Cocktail 5

Tip in 6 oz chilled Earl Grey tea and shake it up (or give it a good stirring).

Earl Gray Cocktail 6

Strain into a tumbler over ice and garnish with another sprig of lavender. I left the dried ones in, which meant I required a straw so as not to sip them up.

Earl Gray Cocktail 14

SideBar: the Side Car

Sidebar Sidecar 5

I really should wait for Trav when I want to make fancy drinks. He has all the hardware and the appropriate and pretty glasses. But sometimes I get impatient (you’re all going, duh, REALLY?), and I wing it. This one is pretty easy, so there wasn’t a lot of room for error. Start by grabbing a pretty cocktail glass (or in my case a heavy tumbler) and rubbing the rim with lemon juice. Then dip it in granulated sugar.

Sidebar Sidecar 1

Grab yourself a cocktail shaker and dump in some ice. I do not own a cocktail shaker, so I made do with a Captain America glass and a sundae spoon. Sorry, Steve.

Sidebar Sidecar 3

Feel free to play with the following proportions to suit your taste. In the shaker, pour 1 oz lemon juice, 1 oz Cointreau, and 2 oz Cognac. Shake vigorously (or stir with enthusiasm) and strain into your cocktail glass (tumbler).

Sidebar Sidecar 4

I should probably have served this with twist of orange or lemon but again I didn’t have any so a young sprig of rosemary did the job. Tada!

Sidebar Sidecar 6

SideBar: White North

by Trav

SideBar White North 8

The Pie’s favourite cocktail is a White Russian—cream, coffee liqueur, and vodka—so I decided that on his birthday this year, I would ply him with some variations on the original recipe. The Dirty Russian, which uses chocolate milk instead of cream, was really gross, because we picked up a thin, low-sugar chocolate milk that tasted of chalk. I also found a recipe for a White Canadian, which is vaguely offensive and also very strange; it substitutes goat’s milk for cream. How is a goat particularly Canadian? They could’ve at least suggested moose milk.

But anyway, we got to wondering—what substitution would actually make for a Canadian variant? In a booze-soaked fit of genius, I realized there was a perfectly Canadian drink that could replace the Russian vodka: Sortilège, a maple whisky.

I enjoy a bit of Sortilège straight, but I’ve been trying to find a good mixing use for it, and this one turned out even better than I’d hoped.

We hemmed and hawed about the name for a while, since the “White Canadian” is 1) terrible and 2) already taken. I believe Ali came up with the “Great White North,” and I suggested we shorten it to “White North” to make it clear it’s a variation on a White Russian.

I played with the ratios a bit, given the different base spirit, and I think this is the most pleasing recipe:

2 oz cream (use either full-on 35% cream, or 18% table cream)
1.5 oz Sortilège maple whisky
1 oz coffee liqueur (e.g. Kahlua or Tia Maria)

SideBar White North 3

Put some ice cubes in an old fashioned glass or tumbler, and then pour in the Sortilège and coffee liqueur.

SideBar White North 6

Then, gently and slowly, pour the cream over the mixture. It should float a bit, especially if you’re using the higher-fat cream. If you really want clear layers, try pouring slowly over the back of a spoon.

SideBar White North 7

Most people tend to mix it all together, though.

SideBar White North 9

And that’s it. Very simple, and really tasty. Even people who aren’t whisky drinkers will love it.

SideBar White North 10

My Husband Has a Thing

White Russian 10

… for White Russians (the drink, not our pink-skinned former Soviet comrades).  Our friend Trav mixes up alcoholic beverages as a hobby, and whenever we go to his house the Pie orders the same thing — a white Russian.  I am not a huge fan of mixing alcohol and milk so I crinkle my nose at these things but he’s a huge fan, so the other night I photographed Trav mixing one up so you could sit with me and either enjoy it with the Pie vicariously or (like me) judge him on his beverage choice.

White Russian 1

The mix is easy, but Trav likes to be perfect so he looks it up, every time.

White Russian 4

Start with 2oz vodka (this one is Newfoundland vodka, made from icebergs, and I’m not even kidding).

White Russian 5

Pour in 1oz Kahlua.

White Russian 6

Add some ice.

White Russian 7

Give that a stir.  Trav likes his bar spoon, which also conveniently doubles as a straw so he can test the drinks before he hands them out without getting his germy face all over the glass.

White Russian 3

Then carefully pour 1oz cream (light or heavy, that’s your choice) over the ice.  Ideally it’s supposed to float on top, but that’s hard to do, and personally I like all the swirly whirlies in there.

White Russian 8

White Russian 9

While this was going on, I managed, for the first time ever, and with only a small amount of spillage, to properly create a crown float, which is Guinness Stout floated over a cider (in this case, Foundry).  I was right pleased with myself.

White Russian 11

I hope you enjoy your weekend.  We may steer clear of these beverages this time around, but who knows?