Yum, yum: Reposado Old Fashioned

A while back, we visited the Toronto Temperance Society (577A College Street) to taste-test some of their buzzed about drinks. They were extremely gracious hosts, and well, we left a bit buzzed ourselves!

The experience was something to blog home about, and they shared two recipes with us. The first was for one of their signature drinks, The Toronto Temperance.

They’ve shared another yummy concoction with us, called the Reposado Old Fashioned. You’ll only need one or two of these in a night, so sip with care and savour every drop.

Reposado Old Fashioned

½ oz agave syrup

Add all ingredients to a martini shaker.

Shake, and strain ingredients into a rock glass filled with chipped ice. 
Add orange zest, and enjoy!
This drink is simple, and the tastiness comes from the quality of ingredients. Use the highest-quality tequila and agave syrup you can find. You’ll notice the difference!

Yum, yum: the Pumpkin Patch

Throwing an adult Halloween party this weekend? Whip up a delicious, seasonal drink to serve to your guests. Or, drop by Quinn’s Steakhouse & Irish Bar and have them make it for you! 
Pumpkin Patch

1¼ oz. vanilla vodka
2 oz. orange juice
A dollop of canned sweetened pumpkin purée
A dash of nutmeg
Garnish: a small orange pumpkin candy
  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add vanilla vodka, orange juice, a dollop of canned sweetened pumpkin purée, and dash of nutmeg.
  • Shake well and strain into a Martini glass.
  • If you wish to add a garnish, take a tube of green icing and place a dab on the lip of the glass. “Glue” a small orange pumpkin candy to the icing.

Yum, yum: The Toronto Temperance Society

You may have heard about the Toronto Temperance Society, but then again, you may not have. Although it’s a private club that’s worked hard to keep their speakeasy-esque location under wraps, The Toronto Temperance Society has become Toronto’s worst-kept secret. The TTS is an exclusive club for people who are serious about cocktails. And no, not a Cosmo or a Chocolate Martini, but good, old-fashioned cocktails, focusing on quality ingredients that allow a drinker to appreciate the subtle flavours of spirits.

We were invited to come and sip a few cocktails at the members-only club, and discover the secret of an amazing mixed beverage.

We tried several cocktails (including the first-ever cocktail, the Sazerac), and got some inside scoop about what sets them apart from your typical bar. Co-owners Bill Sweete and Casey Bee (who also own Negroni and the downstairs resto Sidecar), wanted to bring something unique to Toronto and the TTS was born. They focused on making sure everything is “just right”, rather than having the masses descend upon their cozy, cool bar.

We were blown away.

You don’t realize what a difference good ingredients make until you taste a TTS drink. We tasted a few, and each was spectacular. Flavours of rum, rye, whiskey or gin were not masked by fake sugary juices; rather, they were enhanced by house-made tonic, flamed orange peel, a house-made brandied cherry or a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice.

The TTS also imports hard-to-find liquors and spirits; host beer, Scotch, cognac and wine tastings; have experts available to chat details; and make ice that doesn’t melt as quickly (seriously).

Sure, the $285-annual membership fee might seem a little steep to enjoy some drinks at a bar. But it’s cheaper than the TTC, and infinitely more enjoyable. 

It’s totally worth it. Go. Find a friend who is a member and beg them to take you, or pony up and get a membership (one membership can be shared by a couple, btw). You’ll never want a gin and tonic from anywhere else, we promise.

The Toronto Temperance
*This is an original Toronto cocktail, which, ironically, has not been available here since pre-1920’s. It uses Proof, which is the first spirit ever produced in Toronto.
2 oz. Canadian rye (they used Proof)
1/2 oz. Fernet-Branca
1/2 oz. simple syrup
a dash of angostura bitters

Measure all ingredients into a glass mixing pitcher (or martini shaker) with a few ice cubes. Shake, and strain into cocktail glass.

Finish with a flamed orange garnish: heat a slice of orange peel with a lighter, until the oils emerge from the skin and drop into the drink.

*We were enjoying ourselves so much that we forgot to snap photos. Photo above from Toronto Temperance Society website. 

Yum, yum: The Dakota Tavern’s Mint Julep

From time to time, we like to get down to some live music. One of the best music spots in the city is The Dakota Tavern, known for Sunday Bluegrass brunch, The Beauties, surprise musical appearances by Ron Sexsmith, Serena Ryder, and members of The Barenaked Ladies, and just generally as a place for good, ol’ fashioned fun. No BS, no club beats, no frilly drinks (motto: “Unless Malibu comes in a bottle of Wild Turkey, we don’t have it.”).

Aside from a massive beer selection, they boast some great whiskey and bourbon cocktails. One of the best is their Mint Julep. Simple, refreshing and makes you feel right at home with the guitars and banjos.

Insider’s tip: The Dakota Tavern has an amazing menu. They make their own sausage and burgers from different types of game (like venison), use local fish in their fish tacos, and have a mean three-cheese macaroni dish. Nearly everything is housemade, and they use as few pre-mixed ingredients as possible. Go early enough for dinner – you’ll be glad you did. Dinner is served from 6 p.m. to midnight, daily.

The Dakota Tavern’s Mint Julep

1½ oz. bourbon
½ oz. simple syrup
10 mint sprigs, muddled

Mix all in a tall, thin glass. Top with crushed ice.

To get into the true Dakota spirit: pour 1 oz. bourbon in a short glass. Drink. Repeat.