Kocktail Kings Krowned

By / Wine + Drinks / April 11th, 2012 / 1

Toronto’s top mixologists recently gathered within the atmospheric stone walls of The Fermenting Cellar of Toronto’s Distillery District. Their mission was singular; bag top spot in the MadeWithLove Canada Wide Mixologist Competition, 2012 Toronto edition.


A national search for the best provincial practitioners of the shaken and stirred, the Toronto event featured 13 competitors vying for either Judge’s Choice or Public’s Choice award. A select group of 2011 winners, including the Halifax duo of Jenner Cromier (The Middle Spoon) and Jeff Van Horne (The Bicycle Thief) were also on hand to mix things up. (Both are featured in the upcoming cross-Canada cocktail roundup in the May issue of Tidings.)

Each competitor was armed with an original cocktail creation. Some were slants on the traditional, others were hatched solely within the fertile minds of the mixologists. Guest winner Cormier served up his “Eleven 44” (apparently named after a time he repeatedly encounters), a very “adult” number featuring, among (many) other things, gin, cucumber and home-made absinthe bitters while Van Horne dished out a somewhat more playful, though very refreshing, “Tiki Swizzle” based on Grant’s blended scotch whiskey. The 2012 competitors also brought an impressive palette of ingredients and flavours to bear.

Brassaii’s Simon Hooper served his aromatically complex, though surprisingly mellow tasting Mahogany Brose while Japhet Bower of Nocturne mixed his “Shirong” – a gingery number based on chrysanthemum-infused Skyy Vodka. Megan Jones of County General also delivered with her smoky/spicy “Aztec Brew.” However, none of these worthwhile contenders were able to nail a top spot. Honours went to Robin James Wynne of Fynn’s of Temple Bar (Public’s Choice for his “Cool Runnings”) and independent consultant Scott McMaster who took Judge’s Choice with his “Moisturized Scotsman in a Chinese Hat” (see recipes below).

Speaking of which, the judging panel consisted of Kevin Brauch (Food Network), Matt Jones (Brand Ambassador, Beam Global Matt Jones (Jim Beam Brands Bourbon Whisky Ambassador, Canada), Dave Mitton (Co-owner of The Harbord Room restaurant), Nishan Nepulongoda (Blowfish Restaurant) and Priya Shah (PMA Canada; Brand Ambassador, Skyy Vodka).

Stay tuned for more cocktail recipes and don’t forget to check out the May, 2012, issue of Tidings for complete cocktail coverage. In the meantime, the winning recipes….

Moisturized Scotsman in a Chinese Hat
‘I was trying to create a refreshing summer drink with a large palate impact,” reveals creator Scott McMaster. “Something that could fill a wide range of events, from sitting on a patio in your underwear to a white gloved crochet match.

“The ‘Moisturized Scotsman in a Chinese Hat’ is a combination of Hendricks
gin (45ml), Aloe Vera juice (15ml) cucumber ‘water’ (30 ml of peeled
cucumber put through a blender and then strained through cheese cloth) lemon
bitters (two drops) and a homemade honey-jalapeno syrup (15ml) topped off
with a green tea and mint ‘air’ made from thickened soy lecithin liquid.”

Cool Runnings
“What inspired me to make this drink was taking the bold flavour profile of Appleton’s v/x rum and breaking it down to individual flavours like molasses, pepper, caramel, etc.,” says Robin James Wynne. “I wanted to showcase those flavours in various formats in the drink so you could taste each one throughout the process of enjoying the cocktail!” (Note: the following is Wynne’s “simplified” version. Good luck anyway.)

Part 1: Appleton’s “Double hit” Caramel popcorn, with Appleton’s brown butter caramel and Appleton’s v/x “malto” dusting.

Part 2: Appleton’s v/x brown butter and vanilla bean ice cream with Appleton’s v/x “malto,” Appleton’s v/x black strap molasses syrup, smoked sea salt, fresh lime zest.

Part 3: Appleton’s Reserve molasses chai syrup, Appleton’s v/x brown butter and vanilla infused rum, lemon, vanilla and black pepper bitters, lemon juice and caramel “air.” Glass rimmed with dehydrated Appleton’s Reserve rock sugar.


Tod Stewart is the contributing editor at Quench. He's an award-winning Toronto-based wine/spirits/food/travel/lifestyle writer with over 35 years industry experience. He has contributed to newspapers, periodicals, and trade publications and has acted as a consultant to the hospitality industry. No matter what the subject matter, he aims to write an entertaining read. His book, 'Where The Spirits Moved Me' is now available on Amazon and Apple.

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