I recently had the distinct pleasure of joining Famous Grouse, some of my favourite members of the media and some talented mixologists for a very special night out.
We, the media, had been invited out and paired off with one of the great Canadian mixologists to face off and see who could make the best drinks. With only the directional help from out “mentor” mine being all around great guy Robin James Wynne from Miss Thing’s in Toronto, we had to replicate two amazing original creations made by our partner, and then in the final round make a brand new drink from scratch with mystery items.
We had a short amount of time to meet and greet with our partners, which is when I asked Robin about why he loved being a mixologist so much, to which he told me:
“I love bartending because I believe you can change someone’s day and make them feel better if they’ve had a rough one. I love that you can create memorable moments for guests by showing them your passion on a daily basis. That by doing what I love to do, can make someone happier. I love that my days are never the same and that you meet new people, have new stories, and learn new things on a daily basis. The role of a bartender who is passionate, hospitable and creative can take them all over the world to work, travel, learn, and apply it behind the bar! I love that I can pass on what I’ve learned to the next generation of bartenders and help them find their passion behind the bar or teach them something they didn’t already know. I hope to keep doing this until my body says I can’t do it anymore.”
Gotta love when someone loves what they do so much and are willing to share that enthusiasm and knowledge with you.
Based on the amazing drinks that we made (and trust me, they were all fantastic) for which I won runner up, due in full to Robin and his amazing patience… as I drank my way through the competition and dove under tables all the while sweating up a storm… see below.
In all honestly though I had such a fun night, I learned a lot about bartending and making great drinks, and I have two more amazing cocktails to add to my arsenal thanks to my awesome partner. thos drinks are; the Wee Tipsy Laird, a frothy, creamy, delicious cocktail, and the Curry in a Hurry, fragrant, flavourful and refreshing.
Check out all the details for the drinks below, and remember to have fun, drink well, and always drink responsibly.
Wee Tipsy Laird
A Scottish tradition after an eventful dinner is a custom dessert styled like a
trifle. This cocktail conveys those flavours and celebrations.
1.5 oz. The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky
0.5 oz. Harvey’s Bristol cream
1 oz. Bols Advocaat Liquer
3 Fresh Raspberries
1 oz. Cream
0.5 oz. Simple Syrup
Garnish: Fresh raspberries
Glassware: Vintage crystal glassware from the 40’s (coupe style)
Muddle raspberries with half ounce of scotch and add to the bottom of the serving glass
Combine all other ingredients, including the rest of the scotch into shaker tin with ice and shake vigorously for 40 seconds.Double strain and pour mixture into the glass over muddled raspberries. Garnish with fresh raspberries on top and enjoy.
Curry in a Hurry
No one thinks to use curry in cocktails but the right amount can elevate a savoury note and push the drink to an even better height.
2 oz. The Black Grouse
1.5 oz. Pineapple Juice
1.5 oz. BBQ Pineapple Curry Ginger Mint Syrup
3 drops Angostura Bitters
1 Egg White
Garnish: Skewer of grilled pineapple
Glassware: Tall Coupe
Method: Add all ingredients to dry shaker tin minus curry sugar. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, add some ice and shake again for 30 seconds. Double strain into glass and sprinkle curry sugar. Add 3 pineapple fronds and a small skewer of grilled pineapple.
Syrup recipe: Roast pineapple slices on grill and cool when done (10 minutes) Add 1 litre of white sugar to pot with 1.5 litres of water and bring to a boil. In a blender, add 2 cups of bbq’d pineapple cubes and a half cup of fresh
ginger. Blend until roughly chopped and add to boiling syrup. Add 1 tablespoon of yellow curry spice and 1 cinnamon stick. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add 6 fresh mint leaves to steep while still hot. Let cool and strain through a mesh strainer. The syrup should have no bits in it.