Monthly Archives: April 2013

Drink of the Week: Bourbon Lemonade

I was lucky to attend the opening of the new National on 10th, a giant beer-hall cousin of the popular National on 17th. It’s a lovely space with high ceilings, communal tables and a great selection of beer.

Another new beer hall in Calgary? Yup, raise a stein (er, mason jar) to National on 10th

Another new beer hall in Calgary? Yup, raise a stein (er, mason jar) to National on 10th.

The question is not whether Calgary really needs another beer hall; rather, does the city need a Bourbon Room? I’d say the answer is, but of course! You see, while the keg party rages around communal tables downstairs in the new National, select Calgarians will be sipping Kentucky’s finest upstairs. The highly-anticipated Bourbon Room is¬†scheduled to open next week.

It’s a small, dimly-lit space filled with retro red leather chairs and banquettes, with black and white (female) nude portraits hanging on the walls. My guide on the private tour, Stephen Phipps, cocktail guru for the Concorde Group (that owns National), wouldn’t let me take pictures (sorry!), but painted a picture of what the bourbon-swilling clientele can expect (sorry again, ladies, no male nudes, but Phipps hinted he may tend bar naked).

There will be over 40 different kinds of bourbon behind the bar, including some not available for purchase in Canada. The Bourbon Room is meant to be a mellow place where the lucky few can relax and engage in conversation. No iPhones allowed, in other words. (If you want to join the party, it’s happening downstairs in the beer hall.)¬†Access will be by invite only. “It’s going to be exclusive,” says Phipps.

So, if you like to sip bourbon in an intimate setting, best to figure out how to land your name on the Bourbon Room list. And if that fails you can always order a bourbon lemonade downstairs.

Try this tasty cocktail at National on 10th (or just drink beer).

Try this tasty cocktail at National on 10th.

Bourbon Lemonade

  • 3 oz homemade lemonade (fresh lemon juice, water, honey)
  • 1 oz fresh strawberry puree
  • 1-1/2 oz bourbon

Put everybody in a mason jar, add ice, screw on the lid, shake it up and you’re good to go!

— Recipe courtesy Stephen Phipps, Concorde Group

Life with baby, er, puppy

I finally understand what all those dog owners were warning me about when I naively told them we were getting a puppy. “That’s great!” they’d say (they love to spread the dogspel), followed by an earnest, “You know, puppies are a lot of work.”

Goofing around at 7 weeks old.

Goofing around at 7 weeks old.

“Ha!” I’d scoff to myself. “How hard can it be?” You train ’em up and then you’re gold. As with parenting, I knew everything about dogs before I had one. I was the judgemental dog-less adult watching neighbourhood canines pull at their leashes, jump up on strangers and sniff crotches with abandon. Horrors! My dog would never do anything like that.

Well, not yet, anyway. Instead, Piper pees on the floor at least twice a day; tries to chew anything wooden in the house such as chair legs; has a penchant for nipping at hair, necklaces and fingers; and tears around the yard going ADHD on the rocks, wood chips and leaf mulch. You know how when you name your kid you make sure the name won’t rhyme with anything negative, like how Garth rhymes with barf? We forgot to do that test with Piper (hyper).

Also, Piper is like a baby in that we are now “sleep training” her. We put her in her kennel at 10 p.m., she whines and yelps for about five minutes until she falls asleep. Then, we set the alarm for 2:30 to take Piper (diaper) outside to go pee and poo. You have to actually say “Go pee” and “Go poo” and then give her a treat right after so she doesn’t take her time (because you’re standing there in the middle of the night shivering like an idiot, wondering why you decided to complicate your life by getting a puppy). After the pee break I put her back in the kennel (more crying) and then she wakes up at 5 a.m. and wants to watch Treehouse.

We had to roll up the area rug after Piper peed on it for the third time.

We had to roll up the area rug after Piper peed on it for the third time.

One day last week a dog-less neighbourhood friend popped over to see the puppy. I answered the door looking like a wreck — I hadn’t showered, there were dishes piled up in the sink and dog toys were strewn randomly around the living room. You’d think I’d had a newborn and wasn’t ready for company yet. In reality, she was our third puppy guest. “Everyone wants to see a puppy,” she said. “Too bad they don’t bring a baby gift and a casserole with them.” You got that right.

Well, our neighbours to the west (black lab owners) must have gotten the memo, because they showed up on the weekend with a gift bag full of dog toys for Piper and a bottle of wine for us. Needless to say I was happy to discover that, much like with parenting children, wine also helps new dog-parents cope with a puppy. Cheers to that!

Just what every new dog owner wants (but doesn't get): chew toys and a bottle of wine.

Just what every new dog owner wants (but doesn’t usually get): chew toys and a bottle of wine.

Drink of the Week: Income Tax cocktail

If you’re like me and your taxes are filed, you are no doubt doing the happy dance this weekend. True, the deadline isn’t until April 30, but wouldn’t you rather “get ‘er done” early and then toast your efforts with an Income Tax cocktail*?

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

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

Yes, such a drink really exists. What’s even more intriguing? 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

*I originally blogged this drink last April, but it’s so good (and timely) I wanted to share it again. Enjoy!