it’s March and the first signs of spring are waking up our hibernated libidos,
we find ourselves longing for romance. In a time when love letters no longer look like this,
and tend to resemble this:
It is hard not to think that maybe the grand gestures of love are long
gone. We’re not asking to be whisked
away to Paris on a whim (though, we wouldn’t be mad) but something a little
more imaginative than take out and Netflix would be nice. Whether you’ve been
together for 30 years or three days, taking the time to go on dates keeps
that spark between you a burning, passionate fire of love. There is no excuse
for being in a couples’ rut when there is something for everyone in the Big
As awesome as
it is to sit fidgeting across the table from an almost-stranger that you have
definitely at least imagined making out with,
Toronto singles breathed a sigh of relief when Snakes and Lattes came on the scene to put an end to awkward first date silences. You still get the barfy stomach new-love-interest interaction, but with the built in conversation starter
of over 2500 board games. The playful buffer (also, beer) takes the pressure
off, enabling new couples to test out their chemistry with a game of Alchemy or
play doctor with a round of Operation.
Also, you get to see whether your potential partner is a graceful winner or a sore loser.
plenty of date opportunities in Toronto for a baller on a budget. High Park is
one of Toronto’s most scenic parks and only a subway ride away. Pack a picnic and enjoy the fresh air (tip: the Cherry Blossoms
bloom in late April/early May for an incredibly beautiful and sweet smelling
display = instant spring fever and romance). You can stroll around the pond and
laugh at goats yelling like humans at the zoo,
all at no charge. Plan your day date on a Wednesday and if all goes well, head
back downtown and check out the permanent collection at the AGO, where admittance is free from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
city is home to the number one date destination where you can work up a sweat
with balls and paddles. We are of course
talking about SPiN Toronto, King
West’s hip ping pong social club (what did you think we meant?). With 12 ping
pong tables, a deliciously inventive food menu and seasonal twists on classic
cocktails, you’ll always have something to occupy those busy hands (if you can
keep them off each other, that is). Resident DJs, tournaments, art shows and glow in the dark Tuesdays ensure the place is always bumpin, and
with co-owner Susan Sarandon in the mix and a steadfast celeb following, you never know who you’ll
run into next.
Food is love,
people. Couples with full hearts and empty bellies can book classes at Calphalon Culinary Center, for interactive hands-on and instructional learning. The calendar offers evening and weekend
classes for everything from the basics like Chicken 101, to more sophisticated cuisine like Parisian Pleasures or Beer and Nibbles for those who like to keep it casual. Couples classes will
generally run you $300 for the pair, but some classes at the center can start
as low as $20.
have to go too far to get out of your city bubble. The Toronto Islands are a sweet
local getaway for the adventuresome twosome. Bring your bikes (or rent them on site) to cruise around and see the city skyline from just a short
ferry ride away. Lay out on one of the
many beaches, or go off on your own for an out-of-Toronto experience.
Can-Pop superfans can recreate this video by the Moffatts, which was shot
on the Island. We won’t even think it’s weird.
Ok, ok, we know the posts have been a
little booze-heavy lately but what do you expect? Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa,
Christmukkah, Festivus and every other culturally inclusive holiday can lead us toward the
liquor cabinet. That said, why not share these tasty holiday cocktails with your family and keep everyone in a holly, jolly festive mood?
Just when we thought we wouldn’t be able to
enjoy another fresh and delicious Pimm’s cup until next summer, Firkin Pubs
comes along and offers a winter version. All you’ll need is an ounce of Pimm’s,
half an ounce of brandy, 1.5 ounces of apple juice and a squeeze of fresh
orange juice. Shake all the ingredients together and pour over ice. Garnish
with a cinnamon stick or orange wheel (or both, if you’re feeling fancy).
Mulled Wine Evoking feelings of comfort, spice and everything nice, mulled wine is essentially a winter version of sangria that has been around since the 1800s (read: people have been drinking during the holidays for centuries). In a pot, add a bottle of wine (or two), two ounces of brandy, a dash of Angostura bitters (see here for where to buy), two or three cloves, three cinnamon sticks, three whole star anise, three whole peppercorns, a sliced orange and a handful of cranberries. Heat until steaming and serve punch-style or pour into individual glasses. Tip: use a full-bodied wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.
“Tequila for the holidays?” you ask?Yes! Newly revamped REDS Wine Tavern has us covered for this simple winter cocktail. Combine 1.25 ounces of tequila, one ounce of Cointreau, half an ounce of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of egg white in a chilled shaker. Now shake it like a Polaroid picture and pour into a coupe glass. Top with lemon twist and a dash of orange bitters.
Tequila for the holidays, olé! Image source: REDS Wine Tavern.
This one comes courtesy of SPiN Toronto; another winter take on a Southern summer favourite. Can you can tell we’d trade in our jackets for jean shorts in a snap? Muddle three orange wedges with two bar spoons of brown sugar. Add ice, half an ounce of lemon juice, two ounces of peppermint tea, a dash of lemon bitters and (our favourite part) two ounces of Bulleit bourbon. Shake vigorously and serve in a mason jar topped with fresh mint and a wedge of orange.
This Julep is sure to make family dinners more fun. Image source: SPiN Toronto.
A classic cold weather drink, we’re sure Hot Toddies have cameo’d your holiday family gatherings. (Apparently they’re good for colds, wink wink.) In a mug, add one ounce of bourbon (but scotch or brandy will do too), a tablespoon of honey and two teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Top off with hot water and stir until honey is dissolved.
We know what you’re thinking… tequila talk on a Wednesday? You’re still cringing from those shots you did on Saturday night. Cringe no more, Tequila Tromba has put its own spin on some delicious classic tequila cocktails that are sure to go down smooth and painless the morning after. Sounds hard to believe, but here is the reason: Tromba is made from 100 per cent pure agave, unlike most brands served at bars that contain 49 per cent low-grade sugar cane distillate and only 51 per cent agave. Tromba is the real deal and is even enjoyable when sipped straight. And these cocktail recipes are about to make you wonder what you were doing with the lemons and salt all those years.
Tromba Paloma For this light and summery drink, combine 45 mL Tromba Blanco, 200 mL grapefruit soda, fresh lime and salt. Pour over ice in a tall glass and garnish with a fresh squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt.
The perfect cocktail for a girl’s night out, even the name is girly!
Don’t judge a drink by its name, the Diablo is a lot more delicious than it is daunting. To make this sweet summer cocktail combine 45 mL Tromba, 30 mL fresh-squeezed lime juice, a dash of creme de cassis and top it with ginger beer. Pour ingredients over ice in a tall glass and garnish with pressed lime.
Perhaps one of the truest signs summer has arrived is sitting out in the sun enjoying an ice cold margarita. For Tromba’s spin on this calssic, combine 60 mL Tromba Blanco, 30 mL fresh-squeezed lime juice and 30 mL agave syrup in a shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a small glass with ice.
Who knew margaritas could contain so few ingredients?
While these drinks are super simple to make at home (you can find Tromba at the LCBO for $49.95 per 750 mL-bottle), why not head out and see how different bartenders around the city put their own spin on Tequila Tromba cocktails? Tromba is available at more than 100 bars and restaurants around the city including the Drake Hotel, Barque, SPiN Toronto, The Thompson Hotel, Goodnight, Yours Truly and 416 Snackbar, to name just a few. Olé!