Friday, December 11, 2009

Here's some good news in the fight against temperance! Not that there's anything wrong with temperance.

UPDATE: There is also this about the stress of grocery shopping in the weekend papers.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

An excellent read in the National Post. Sure, it's about beer and wine, not spirits but it's very entertaining. Comes from Nick Pashley's new book: Cheers: An Intemperate History of Beer in Canada which, incidentally, makes an excellent Christmas present.

Friday, November 06, 2009

It's still a good gift idea for friends, family and your local LCBO cashier. Don't forget him or her this year.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

As usual, I'll apologize for a lack of posting. Here's something for the moment. It's too bad the "I've had better cider in prison" line didn't make it.

Before too long, I should have some stuff about eno-tourism up.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm clearly on about gin lately. Of course, Hendrick's won our first Smackdown. I liked Junipero a lot, too. And then there was Plymouth. Hmmm. Like asking to choose between children.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Although I haven't had time to do a Gin Smackdown lately, this is the general idea. Otherwise known as drink gin until' one of the neighbours calls the police.

Friday, July 31, 2009

And to follow up on the previous one, here is booze and dessert.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In case you want to get talked out of beer cocktails, I might be the one to do it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Toronto Life guide to Ossington includes mention of a couple of places I've worked with, including Crooked Star and Painted Lady, profiled here. Good places in Toronto for a Monday night, especially.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In case you're interested in Toronto cocktail culture, here's a little article. Cheers.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

In case you're looking for a new gin, this one is worth trying.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Here's the latest on ginger ale from the New York Times. But I got a little more air time with the National Post when the subject was Gimlets. I guess I make more sense when I speak about booze. Who knew?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A tale of two drinks up at Gremolata. I could probably have said more but was distracted with ongoing negotiations over the installation of a fire escape over at our potential new space, to be named "The Firetrap."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

AHG – Special Bulletin – Rum Revival

I’m afraid I don’t have any fun Al stories this month – just a little bit of self promotion. It’s not that there are no Al stories (and horrific picks) this month but, rather, that I’ve been too busy to chronicle them. Apologies.

If I were you, though, and were looking for a movie, I’d watch the Grey Gardens pair. Jessica Lange is almost perfect as Big Edie.

Now if I were you and were wondering how I was going to entertain myself this long, hot summer, I’d consider adopting rum as a companion. And I’d consider going to this event which the lovely Sue and I are hosting:

RUM REVIVAL: RUM & THE LOST CUBAN COCKTAIL Wednesday June 3. 8-10pm. $75. with Christine Sismondo, expert mixologist ( and author of Mondo Cocktail
Back by popular demand after her now-legendary Absinthe & Tequila tasting, Christine turns her libatious attentions to the intriguing history of Rum and the art of the lost Cuban cocktail. While the rest of the world moved on to bad powdered lime bar-mix, Havana bartenders have been continuing to shake it old-school, crafting the same classic cocktails they were mixing in the 1950’s. Er, well, at least when they
have all the necessary ingredients.

Always the life-of-the-party, Christine will explore several luscious and obscure rums followed by a resurrection of some of the greatest long-forgotten cocktails (until now). Served with Latin-inspired ‘street food’, this summer soirĂ©e will be more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Full Rum and Cocktail Tasting with substantial nibbles.

Sacha Douglas (dynamic chef and owner of Coupe Space) points out that
it would be much easier if I just directed you to her website which I
should have done in the first place:

with the specifics to be found here:

This will clarify that you need a ticket in advance and can't simply
just show up. Seating is limited and Tequila/Absinthe was sold out...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Been a while since I've been here - apologies. Working on two big projects and so not quite so much time for the little projects like journalism and blogging. But here's something new.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Finally found a use for Twitter: I'm doing 140-character recipes.

chopping vidalias, add flour, thyme, salt, wh. pepper, chicken stock, blending, adding cream - sopa cebolla. w/ spinach salad bacon dressing.

Yesterday's was: charred and peeled poblanos, then stuffed with shrimp, jack cheese, almonds, cilantro, green onions. topped with mole - don pancho.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AHG 28 – The “Where Has Al Been?” Issue

It’s a good question. One which I’d really like an answer to myself.

In case you hadn’t heard, Al decided it was time to finally pack it in at the old plant. He was tired of the daily grind and his employers offered him a little bit of money to go away. You may have already heard this but newspapers aren’t doing so well these days and, therefore, he figured it was a good a time as any to get out.

And so, Al went to pick up the buyout money one day last November and that was it. I didn’t hear from him for months. Your guess as to where he went is as good as mine. Might have been to Florida to re-live his glory days. He might have finally decided it was time to take that Highway One motorcycle drive up the California coast. (The first time his motorcycle was stolen just one hour after he rentedit. I think he left the doors open, though.)

Or, he could have just been downstairs, sorting through that mountain of junk he’s accumulated over the years. Alls I know is that there’s no trace of the buyout package. The nest egg is either buried in the cold cellar or lost on Number 22 in a Vegas casino. In his pajamas.

Or, at least, in what he thinks passes for pajamas.

Oh well.

We’ll think of something smart to do to recover. Among our get rich painfully slowly schemes are opening a bar and publishing yet another book. Both are still in the early stages but, rest assured, you will all be receiving near-daily requests for help and/or patronage through this very medium. And, yes, it is too late to be taken off the list.

So that’s what’s been keeping us busy. With all that, though, we’ve still had time to watch way too many movies. Pretty well all of them bad.

I had high hopes for Synecdoche, since I’ve liked most of the projects Charlie Kaufman has been involved with. And, initially, it seemed like it was going to be great. For example, when a character considers a house that is actually already on fire and her real estate agent explains that it’s a motivated seller, I was pretty amused. That could stand in nicely for the whole rest of the movie.

But it kept going on and on and becoming more and more obfuscated and so we turned it off to catch the next episode of Project Runway Canada. I was hesitant but Al got me hooked on it – totally gripping TV. Tempting even to rent the American version for the upcoming slow summer doldrums of a TV season, although I think I would really miss Iman.

Al also rented Changeling, despite my emphatic non-verbal gestures every time he reached for it at the video store. Hats off to Al on this one, though. Clint delivers again. But I imagine most of you all know that, since it’s hardly a hidden gem.

I’m going to own up to this next one. I suggested we watch How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, since it was written by “professional annoying person,” Toby Young, whose work we had come to be acquainted with on Top Chef. This was a huge mistake. It doesn’t sound nearly as bad as it is.

Next was Noise, which Al managed to bring home on a day when it was playing on our fancy movie channels about an hour after he got in the door. It was truly awful. Meandering, smug and pointless. A shame, since I could really get behind a movement to ban car alarms and cell phones.

Bottle Shock was pretty good. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist wasokay. But none of these are hidden. Here’s the thing: not one hidden gem this time around.

So, instead, we’ve been watching United States of Tara and, if you haven’t been doing so, I’m going to recommend that you do, too. A while ago, I wrote that the formula for all these shows is to take the most bizarre “other” you can think of (mobster, meth-lab owner, weed dealer, polygamist) and turn them into a normal suburbanite with the same banal problems as the rest of us. Still, I didn’t see this one coming: Toni Collette’s character has MPD. It’s set in Overland Park, Kansas, which is a pretty wealthy heartland community on the border of the state with which everyone has lately wondered what’s the matter. In some ways, the show attempts to answer that.

So that’s it for now. I honestly can’t say when the next AHG will come. I think I need to be inspired by some decent movies and Al clearly is in a rut. All suggestions welcome.

Q: Is AHG back by “popular demand”?

A: Yes! At least if you count two people vaguely inquiring as popular

Al’s Corner

Well, I’ll tell ya.

Embarrassing, yes, but a good portion of my being missing in relative action seemed to be spent going back and forth across the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. This all happened on one single early evening and, at least, several of the crossings were by accident.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

No, I mean literally. Stop me on the street and tell me. Otherwise, given that there’s limited space on word documents, the tale is simply too long and confusing to rehash here. Although, not nearly as confused as some of the border customs guys. Either side, too.

One guy, for instance, asked whose car was I driving. I told him it was a rental. Then he asked – no kidding – why I had rented a car when it was only a 90-minute drive from Toronto. I couldn’t begin to guess what kind of response he was looking for there, so I offered him some wine gums instead.

Then he said, “Outta da car!”

So that set me back a little bit and, eventually, a good part of that so-called “nest-egg” got eaten up. Like, it’s about a $4 toll. Per crossing!

Speaking of the Rainbow Bridge, though, me and her go way back. When I was about 17 or 18, pedestrian-ing across following several of my first-ever cocktails, I came this close to jumping off. That, too, would’ve been by accident. Feel free to stop me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Haven't been here in a while - sorry. If you missed the Bloody Caesar story (40 this year!) you can probably find it in the archives of Gremolata. Also, todays news: Irish Whiskey.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

If you were thinking of spending a week in Havana, you might want to read this for pointers.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This is actually from last week but I was in Havana when it came out. It's an excellent book and I recommend it.

On to current events, this article about the driving part of drinking and driving is related to the aforementioned book, in that Warner confirms that abstinence movements really don't work terribly well. Even the Second Great Awakening, she points out, only lasted about 30 years (max) before people grew tired of self-denial. I think there are also problems caused by abstinence movements, in that the imposition of morality on behaviour (or strict legislation prohibiting it) causes people to go into denial about their actions and, often, engage in far riskier behaviour. I think the prostitutes in Havana, who must ply their trade surreptitiously, are an excellent example. But I'll tell you more about Havana at a later time. For now, I must contend with the angry MADD people who will be at my door and in the comments section any second. I think Ryan is right - I won't read the comments. Whoops, gotta go, there's the front door.