Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Elderflower Bourbon Sour

 Some days are tough days, others are swell, finish with liquor and evenings end well... to a certain extent anyway! We’ve all had some evenings that may not have ended so well after a few drinks but really, for those of us who might hit the bottle every now and then, what’s not to like about finishing off a day with a good old fashioned libation? After a long day spent buzzing around in an effort to submit some federal grant proposals of epic proportion I decided to reward myself with a touch of something potent and in this case something potent was none other than an elderflower bourbon sour.  
 As of yet, considering that I once trained as a bartender, I’m actually quite surprised that I have abstained from posting one of my cocktail recipes to this site for so long. Thankfully though, there is a first for everything! This cocktail celebrates our lovely post-prohibition era by adding new elements to an old favorite. The smooth base of elderflower with the tang of fresh lemon and the woody char of bourbon, served up chilled or on the rocks with a brown sugar rim  move this sour beyond the traditional G&T/rum & coke spectrum of cocktails. This drink makes a swell apéritif, or is good sipped for a cinq à sept alongside a variety of salty morsels.

Ingredients for one cocktail
-Brown sugar to rim glass
-Half a lemon
-3/4 oz. Bourbon (I used Old Crow)
-1/2 oz. Elderflower Liqueur*
-A touch of elderflower syrup**
*The classic option is St-Germain, otherwise the American ripoff St. Elder provides a tasty and cheap alternative if available. In Quebec, Marie Brizard makes an elderflower liqueur but I cannot guarantee its quality
** This cordial is homemade in Scandinavia and some of the UK, however, some forms of elderflower are inedible so do make sure you have the right kind! Alternatively, the syrup is available at IKEA or from the British company “Bottle Green” (sold at Atwater Market and Aubut for you Montrealers)


Squeeze lemon around the edge of your glass making sure it's applied liberally and evenly

Rotate the glass in the brown sugar

Measure out your liquor and spirit, add to a shaker alongside the elderflower syrup and combine with the remaining lemon juice

Add ice

Seal the shaker with a glass 

My shaking glass was out of commission at the time so I grabbed this one. In a pinch? feel free to use a mason jar!

Strain out


 And remember folks, to quote American poet Ogden Nash (or Willy Wonka if you prefer) "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker!"

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Heralding Fall: Honey Glazed Pumpkin Spice Loaf

Tis’ that time of year again! It’s fall, season of hot beverages on instagram, facebook posts about pumpkin spice lattes permeated with yuppie zealousness and ultimately, time to cozy on up. Fall is traditionally the time to bring in the harvest. Here above the 49th parallel we joyously stuff our mouths with all things pumpkin, apple, plum and cranberry celebrating the beauty of our changing daily landscape all the while muttering ominously that “winter is coming”. 

Flannel shirts and wool socks aside, this is the time where we can most feasibly excuse any decadent eating (aside from you know, CHRISTMAS. It’s coming too!) under the great overarching banner that with cold on the way we need our reserves. Fall is a time of great beauty where sweaters, glorious large sweaters and tuques, simultaneously hide any new curves as well as mussed up hair under a thin veneer of seasonal fashion leaving us to enjoy the season to its fullest. So with the excuses established and the stereotypes set, it’s time to hit the kitchen and make some nice, rich, and even nearly-kind-of-healthy pumpkin spice loaf!

Let’s get to it!  

2/3 c. Pumpkin puree (canned or fresh, if fresh cook it down until very thick)
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
½ tsp. salt
½ c. Olive Oil
1/3c. Milk, mixed with 1/2tsp vinegar
2c. Wholewheat Flour
1 ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cinnamon
Grated nutmeg to taste
¼ tsp each of ground ginger and allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
-2/3 c. Sugar

~1/4c. honey for the glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

                                               Combine milk and vinegar, set aside until thickened

                                                               Oil a standard loaf pan


                                                            Measure out your ingredients

                                                          Combine your dry ingredients

                                                               ...and your wet ones


                                                             Combine the two together

Pour into your loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes or so, until browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

                          Once your loaf is ready, pour the honey over the hot loaf to let it soak into the crust

                                                Let cool and enjoy, preferably with hot tea!