Monthly Archives: April 2012

Drink of the Week: Income Tax cocktail

If you’re like me and your taxes are filed, you’re doing the happy dance tonight. I realize the deadline is Monday, but do you really want that hanging over your head all weekend? No, better to “get ‘er done” today and toast your effort with an Income Tax cocktail.

Here's a cocktail you'll want to spend your return on.

Yes, such a drink really exists. I drank one last weekend at Crowbar, Calgary’s pop-up cocktail lounge (more on that in an upcoming Calgary Herald column). What’s even more intriguing? This isn’t a drink that was created just for the event; it’s a cocktail that’s been around for a century. I can see why: it’s basically a martini sweetened by a bit of orange juice, and spiced with a couple dashes of Angostura bitters. It’s strong, yes, but that’s a good thing whether you’re celebrating a big return, or drowning your sorrows over all the money you owe the Feds. So drink up!

Income Tax Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 oz Beefeater gin
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz orange juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange curl garnish

Shake ingredients with ice then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange curl.

— Recipe courtesy Wade Sirois, Crowbar

Hunger Games baby names and other trends

I’m thinking of changing Avery’s name to Katniss and making Bennett hunt for his own food in the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary to toughen him up. Sound radical? I’m just cottoning on to two of the latest trends: Hunger Games baby names and Hunger Games parenting. If you, like me, can’t get enough of the bestselling book and hit movie, there are ways to incorporate the phenomenon into all aspects of your life, from parenting to travel! Read on.

There's nothing like a bestseller to spark some new trends.

1. ‘Hunger Games’ parenting. Forget the Tiger Mom and that Bringing up Bebe lady, Vanity Fair writer and editor Bruce Handy champions the cause of the Hunger Games mommy in a hilarious send-up in The New York Times Sunday Review. In a nutshell, the strict parenting philosophy advocates motivating children with the threat of their imminent death. That’s right kiddo, you’d better get an ‘A’ on that exam or mommy’s going to sic the pit bulls on you!

2. Hunger Games baby names. Not long ago I wrote a blog about people naming their babies after college football stars, but that’s so 2011. This year, your baby’s only cool if it’s named after a tribute. According to Nameberry, the most popular picks are Rue for girls and Cato for boys (I know his character is unlikeable, but the guy who plays Cato in the movie kinda looks like Prince Harry! Hot!) Not surprisingly, every blockbuster franchise has some name duds, too (um, remember Hermione?), so it’s little wonder the District 12 mentor’s moniker didn’t make the cut — you’ll want to think twice about adding Haymitch to the short-list unless your babe is a disheveled Scotch drinker (and I’m not talking about your boyfriend).

Awwww, isn't my little Haymitch precious?

3. Hunger Games travel. OK, so you’ll probably never find yourself in a situation where you need to saw a hornet nest onto your sleeping enemies, but it couldn’t hurt to brush up on your survival skills, could it? GoVoluntouring offers survival training adventure trips such as a 15-day Papua New Guinea expedition that includes jungle training, hazardous flora and fauna lessons (no Nightlock, thanks!), river and ravine crossing techniques and setting up natural shelters — all while watching out for crocodiles!

Earth Day at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

I didn’t realize yesterday was Earth Day until we had completed our walk around the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and one of the sanctuary volunteers delivered the news. It suddenly made sense why the trails were busy with families, couples and birders enjoying the sunny 23C weather and hoping to catch a glimpse of a gosling, robin or ruby-breasted whatchamazoo.

With the knowledge it was save-the-planet day (and not just the first nice day of spring), I felt kind of bad that we’d gone on a walk instead of planting trees or building a composter or converting our home to wind power. A bunch of moms in Canmore even changed their cloth diapers simultaneously! As it stood, Blake and I had endured a struggle getting the children out of the house for a walk:

It's too bright! It's too hot! Please don't make us commune with nature on Earth Day!

At least we spent a good chunk of the day outdoors, forcibly enjoying nature. I think our outing was environmentally-friendly too.

  • We walked to the bird sanctuary instead of driving;
  • We picked up garbage during our hike (well, my husband picked up two pieces);
  • We didn’t even feed the birds this time;
  • We saw a coyote, two woodpeckers, and a goose nesting in a tree trunk. I suppose we could have gone all Hunger Games and brought the goose home for dinner, but I think that’s frowned upon (even if sustainable);
  • Bennett dressed in camo shorts to blend in with the natural prairie and river surroundings. Avery didn’t get the memo; she rocked a polka dot shirt and heart-patterned skirt, an ensemble so loud I’m sure that’s why we didn’t see any deer.

So, Mother Nature, I’m sorry we didn’t help out more yesterday. But we didn’t do any harm either. I think they call that a net-zero kind of day.

What about you? Did you get outside, hug a tree or otherwise on Earth Day?