Monthly Archives: January 2014

Drink of the Week: Stoli Sticki Sweet & Tart Spritz

Over the past couple of years honey has come into its own. I’ve used it to sweeten tea, salad dressings and now cocktails by making a honey syrup. But why stop there? Spirits makers have started using it to flavour booze. First there was Jack Daniels with Tennessee Honey, then came honey-flavoured beer and Bols Honey Liqueur. Finally vodka — not wanting to miss a single opportunity to try on a new flavour (pickle-flavoured vodka, anyone?) — has raided the hive.

Stolichnaya recently unveiled its Stoli Sticki honey vodka and sent me a bottle so I could sample it. As you may recall, I am not a fan of flavoured vodkas. I do, however, absolutely  love Dawa cocktails, a Kenyan refreshment made with vodka, limes and honey, so I figured at the very least a bottle of Stoli Sticki would come in handy with the Dawa.

Stoli Sticki Sweet & Tart Spritz

Stoli Sticki + Cointreau + lime juice + soda water = a refreshing Stoli Sticki Sweet & Tart Spritz.

But I also like to try new recipes, so I set about looking for something that would mix well with honey vodka. First I made the Stoli Sticki Sweet & Tart (honey vodka, Cointreau, lime juice), but even with this drink’s 1:1:1: ratio I found the Stoli Sticki’s honey taste too overpowering and a tad artificial. So I remedied the recipe by adding soda water to create a spritz and a more palatable cocktail. Behold: the Stoli Sticki Sweet & Tart Spritz! Best for: long summer afternoons on a hot patio (or failing that, long winter evenings stuck inside with the children). Enjoy!

Stoli Sticki Sweet & Tart Spritz

Much better with soda water. Tart, fizzy and goes down a tad too quickly.

Stoli Sticki Sweet & Tart Spritz

  • 1 oz Stoli Sticky
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • Top soda water
  • Orange wheel garnish

Add Stoli Sticki, Cointreau and lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake, then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and top with soda water. Garnish with an orange wheel.

— Recipe adapted from the Stoli Sticki Sweet & Tart

Happy birthday to Blue

Four years ago we bought a betta fish for Avery as a reward for giving up her soother. Since her soother’s name was Blue-blue, she named her betta fish after it, naturally.

Blue-blue in his prime near his third birthday.

Blue-blue in his prime near his third birthday.

Blue-blue is now four years old and when we tell other parents how long we’ve had the fish their first question is, “Is it the original fish?” Yes. A quick Google search reveals that the average life span of a betta is between two and six years, in fact. Still, it’s pretty much a miracle Blue-blue’s still with us. Sometimes we forget to feed him. We often go three weeks between bowl cleanings. He was even uprooted from his home during the Calgary flood.

But Blue-blue keeps on swimming twice a day to retrieve his little food pellets from the top of the bowl. Between meals he kind of lays on his side at the bottom. He’s also changing colours; from a lustrous purple-blue to a mottled purple-grey. He looks like he’s dying, a fact that is not lost on Avery.

betta fish

Blue-blue on the bottom of the bowl, next to this ominous note written by Avery about a week ago.

They say the death of a pet is one way to teach kids about the cycle of life. I wonder, will Avery mourn Blue-blue like she did the soother he replaced? Or will her first question be, “Now can I get an eel?” I have a feeling that when our geriatric betta fish finally passes on and is flushed into the dark reaches of the Calgary sewer system, we as a family will have only learned one lesson:

Dogs are way better pets than fish. (And no, you can’t have an eel.)

Drink of the Week: Pisco Sour

Sours are my favourite category of drinks because they’re tart, frothy and pack a memorable punch in a short glass. They’re also easy to make because they follow a standard formula: spirit + citrus + simple syrup + egg white = sour. I’ve written about the whiskey sour, tequila sour, vodka sour, apricot lady sour and Cointreau sour, and now I bring you Peru’s and Chile’s national cocktail: the Pisco Sour.

El Gobernador means the governor in Spanish. Yep, this pisco is boss.

El Gobernador means the governor in Spanish. Yep, this pisco is boss.

Pisco is South America’s version of brandy. It’s made from distilling fermented grape juice from grapes grown in specific regions of Chile and Peru. I’m writing all about the spirit, and its cocktail muse, the Pisco Sour, in an upcoming Calgary Herald column, but here’s a sneak preview. I love this version from El Gobernador,  a premium Chilean pisco new to the Canadian market.

Super frothy and delicious. Omyomyom.

Super frothy and delicious. Omyomyom.

Pisco Sour

  • 2 oz El Gobernador pisco
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1 egg white

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker and dry shake to emulsify egg. Add ice and shake again. Fine strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass.

— Recipe courtesy El Gobernador