Getting THIS part of your house in order

Mako Bar stuff

I have this friend who has this beautiful counter-mounted wine opener that is absolutely effortless and takes about 2 seconds to do its thing. It cost somewhere upwards of $300, as I recall. Now, this friend also had an extensive, climate-controlled wine cellar in the basement stocked with extraordinary vintages (though why you'd wait twenty years to open a bottle and then need it open in two seconds is beyond me!)

I rarely spend more than $20 on a bottle of wine but I do like to have a well-stocked bar for any taste and occasion to satisfy any guest. I don't need to spend a lot on my bar tools but I do need to have dependable quality, stylish design and the right tool for the job. 

Right now, we're offering an array of bar tools - from muddlers and Boston shakers to waiter's corkscrews, wine stoppers, mixing glasses and ice cube trays - by Mako, the same people who make the Wine Rabbit. They're available in convenient sets or as individual items at a great price and they look great too.

And, of course, once you've got your bar in order, you know where to come for tonics, mixes, flavour syrups, aromatic bitters, orgeat, rosewater, Amarena cherries, olives, glass rimmers, spices, cocktail onions.....

It's going to be a summer of entertaining. Be prepared!
You'll find the Mako selection facing you the moment you walk in the store.

It's going to be a summer of entertaining. Be prepared!
You'll find them facing you the moment you walk in the store.

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The Easy Way or the Hard Way

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Not Beyoncé

Lemo Lemonade

As much as we love her (and carry a "Happy BirthBey" card in her honour) this post is about the other kind of Lemonade, which is about to come in to its time in the sun.

Once again, a happening company from Montreal (though with roots in Franco-Manitoba) is the source for this excellent syrup/cordial/cocktail mixer. LemoLemonade (take note of their awesome square logo!) is all hand pressed, hand grated and hand bottled using quality ingredients with gorgeous balance in three flavours. Depending on which one you choose you're going to get the perfect blend of sweet and sour, tart and spicy, tangy and bitter.

We keep promising we're going to publish a video with some summer cocktail tips and I think we may start with this one (it's just that the test results are so darn delicious we get a bit sidetracked). If you don't see a video up here by mid-June, come and ask at the counter and we'll try to give you the benefit of our experience!

Find LemoLemonade at the front of the shop to your left as you come in. Let summer begin!

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Home Mixology

Bittermilk Cocktail Trio

At the last cocktail bar we went to, it took about 15 minutes to choose from among all the enticingly described options in the lengthy menu and another 15 just to make the drink. Various ingredients were scorched and twisted and filtered and rinsed and squeezed and stirred. The bartender wore a pharmacist's coat, wire-rimmed spectacles and all de rigeur tattoos and facial hair. It was all quite the show and the drink was priced accordingly. Lots of fun but not something for every day and certainly not the kind of effort you want to have to expend while also greeting your guests for a night in!

Enter Bittermilk - a small operation out of Charleston SC founded by restaurant and bar veterans dedicated to making your home cocktail experience as interesting as your special night out. As any mixologist will tell you, every cocktail is about balancing the characteristics of your ingredients: acid, sweet, smokey, salty, earthy, floral, bitter, herbaceous, etc. etc. Bittermilk has done that balancing act for you so all you need to do is add booze, shake with ice (or not), strain and serve. Lab coat, spectacles, tats and hipster-beards optional.

You'll find these beautifully packaged cocktail mixers just underneath the bitters section as you enter the store on your left: Tom Collins with Elderflower and Hops, Smoked Honey Whisky Sour and Charred Grapefruit and Sea Salt Tonic.

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Setting Summer's Bar

Setting Summer's Bar

It turns out that the cocktail of the summer of '16 is the Moscow Mule and Fever Tree has warned of a pending shortage of Ginger Beer. Sure enough, we've run out of the large bottles from Fever Tree but we still have a decent stock of the 241ml 4-packs. And we have other Ginger Beer options too - from Fentiman's and an apple-based entry from Cawston Press. So, if you've joined the frenzy for the Moscow Mule we've got your covered. Just know that there are lots of other excellent cocktail possibilities with Ginger Beer.
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