Tag Archives: vodka cocktails

Le Grand Fizz

A hot summer day calls for a long and fizzy cocktail that’s light, citrusy and slightly sweet. I was served just the one at the Grey Goose Canada Boulangerie Bleue event, held at Charbar last night.

Le Grand Fizz is Grey Goose’s take on a classic fizz, with vodka in place of gin, lime juice rather than lemon, and St-Germain elderflower liqueur as the sweetening agent. This drink is super refreshing and not too sweet. Best of all, it gives us another reason to drink St-Germain, a French liqueur that’s made from macerated elderflower blossoms and tastes like honey, flowers and sunshine. And it goes without saying, Le Grand Fizz should be enjoyed on a sunny patio, preferably one with a view of The Bow.

This vodka take on a fizz tastes like summer in a glass.

This vodka take on a fizz tastes like summer in a glass. Photo is from my Instagram, @lisakadane.

Le Grand Fizz

  • 1.5 oz Grey Goose vodka
  • 1 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
  • Top soda water (approximately 2 oz)
  • Garnish: Lemon and lime wheel dropped into the glass, and a Grey Goose stir stick

Method: Build over ice in a red wine glass and garnish with a lemon and lime wheel, and a Grey Goose stir stick.

— Recipe courtesy Julien Lafond, Grey Goose brand ambassador

Long Hot Summer

The dog days of summer officially arrive this weekend, and we’ll see August stretch before us all hot and hazy. The holiday weekend marks the halfway point of summer break (cue tears) so if you need a drink to cry into — or one to cheer you up while cooling you down — I found just the one at Island Lake Lodge near Fernie, B.C.

The Long Hot Summer is light and refreshing with just a touch of heat from muddled jalapeños to keep things interesting. I love that it uses fresh raspberries and Chambord for sweetness, plus ginger beer for spice and fizz. It’s totally crushable, and even more so if you’re lucky enough to drink it on a patio with a view of the Lizard Range. Cheers!

Beat the heat with this spicy cooler -- aptly named a Long Hot Summer -- from Island Lake Lodge.

Beat the heat with this spicy cooler — aptly named a Long Hot Summer — from Island Lake Lodge.

Long Hot Summer

  • 2 raspberries
  • 2 jalapeño slices
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Absolut vodka
  • 1/2 oz Chambord
  • Top ginger beer
  • Garnish: Lime wedge and a raspberry

Method: In the base of a cocktail shaker, muddle raspberries and jalapeño slices with lime juice. Add vodka and Chambord, plus ice, then shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with new ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge on the rim and a raspberry dropped into the glass.

— Recipe courtesy Island Lake Lodge

Drink of the Week: Gingered Apple

I finally made it to Ten Foot Henry on the now-bustling two-block strip of 1 St. S.W. between 12 and 14 avenues, that’s also home to Raw Bar, Taste, Proof and  Vine Arts. So many great cocktail options there and I was excited to see what Ten Foot Henry, named after a 1930s comic strip, could contribute to the scene.

The small list, split almost evenly between classic and original cocktails, has something for everyone. I especially liked The Henrietta (read all about it in an upcoming Spirited Calgary column in the Herald) and the Gingered Apple. This yellow drink is like a spicy, candied-apple lemon drop, with an understated acidity thanks to the apple cider vinegar. It goes pow on the palate and makes you think about what you’re drinking. Sip slowly and enjoy.

The Gingered Apple cocktail at Ten Foot Henry goes pow on the palate.

The Gingered Apple cocktail at Ten Foot Henry goes pow on the palate.

Gingered Apple

  • 1-1/2 oz Zubrowka vodka
  • 1/2 oz Iron Works apple brandy
  • 1/4 oz apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup (1:1 sugar-to-water)
  • 2-3 dashes Bar Keep apple bitters
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Method: Shake ingredients with ice and then double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

— Recipe courtesy Dylan Can, Ten Foot Henry

Drink of the Week: High Stick Cosmo

Usually when bottles arrive at my doorstep they are shaped like bottles. Not so my new “bottle” of High Stick Vodka, a Canadian wheat vodka packaged in a cylinder of hand-blown glass shaped like a hockey stick. Arriving at Alberta liquor stores just in time for the Olympics, this newcomer in what some might argue is an over-saturated vodka market aims to be “perfect in an ice-cold shooter or mixed as a martini, Bloody Mary or a White Russian.”

High Stick Vodka gives new meaning to the phrase, "He shoots, he scores!"

High Stick Vodka gives new meaning to the phrase, “He shoots, he scores!”

Let’s be honest though. Vodka is vodka, right? It may be made from all-natural ingredients and filtered 18 times (!) in an artisan distillery, but the reason we’re going to buy High Stick Vodka is because we’re Canadian and it comes in an almost life-size glass hockey stick. It’s freakin’ cool. In fact, it’s “mount as the centrepiece on the top shelf of my home bar” cool. Or, “throw an Olympics bash and do shooters from the end of the hockey stick” cool. Forget about that other vodka in the skull — this one comes in a hockey stick!!

Since shooters won’t appeal to everyone at your Glad I’m Not In Sochi Party, why not shake up some Cosmos? They’re boozy, yummy and festive and happen to be just the right colour to cheer on Canada. Now, if only someone would make a sombrero-shaped tequila bottle…

A Cosmo tasty and red. Important considerations when cheering on Team Canada.

A Cosmo is tasty, and red. Important considerations when cheering on Team Canada at the Olympics.

High Stick Cosmo

  • 1-1/2 oz High Stick Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz cranberry juice (since there are now, like, 45 different kinds of cranberry juice, I accidentally purchased one with lime)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 oz lime, to taste (I only used 1/4 oz, see above bullet)
  • Orange twist garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice combine all ingredients and shake. Fine strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the orange twist.

Drink of the Week: Tomatini

I spent a lunch hour earlier this week at a vodka tasting with Bob Nolet, an 11th generation distiller from Holland who’s best known in Canada for producing Ketel One vodka. I know what you’re thinking: “Vodka for lunch? How Mad Men. Sign me up!” Believe me, there was a little bit of that going on — especially since I tasted three different vodkas and got halfway through a vodka cocktail before any food arrived. Plus, Nolet was accompanied by Jenner Cormier, a Ketel One spokesman/bartender who just won the World Class Canada Bartender of the Year title. He is also easy on the eyes in a Don Draper kind of way.

Over the course of the tasting Nolet and Cormier sold me on the charms of this small-batch, pot-stilled spirit and I was eager to try it at home by shaking up some fall cocktails. Intrigued by the idea of muddling a tomato (a first for me), I opted for the Tomatini, created for Ketel One by a bartender from Dubai.

A vodka drink with muddled tomato and white balsamic vinegar.

A vodka drink with muddled tomato and white balsamic vinegar.

As I measured white balsamic vinegar and vodka into my cocktail shaker I imagined that the end result would taste of boozy gazpacho, a tonic both strong and savoury. Alas, no. The recipe also calls for sugar syrup so, in combination with the vinegar and tomato (remember: it’s a fruit), my drink was too sweet for my liking and I recalled Nolet’s and Cormier’s words of caution: that cocktails from Asia and the Middle East (e.g. Dubai) are often sweeter. Doh!

I quickly dispatched the Tomatini and used the lovely Ketel One to muddle up my favourite vodka cocktail, a Dawa. But in the spirit of fall, I bring you the Tomatini (feel free to adjust the sugar and vinegar according to taste).

My attempt at the Tomatini doesn't look quite as nice, does it?

My attempt at the Tomatini doesn’t look quite as nice, does it?

Ketel One Tomatini

  • 1.5 oz Ketel One Vodka
  • 1/3 oz white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup*
  • 1 ripe red tomato
  • Pepper Grinder

Cut the tomato into 8-10 chunks and muddle in a cocktail shaker. Add the balance of ingredients with lots of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with black pepper.  

*To make simple syrup, add 2 parts of sugar and 1 part of water to a small saucepan.  (1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water is a good starting point). Gently heat until it starts to boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool and refrigerate. 

— Recipe created by Jimmy Barrat, Zuma Restaurant, Dubai

Drink of the Week: Vodka Martini

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, which means there will likely be a Dad in your life (your father, or the father or your children) who wants nothing more than to chillax in his Dad Chair and toss back a couple stiff drinks. So why not put in a little effort and shake up a vodka martini?

Why a martini, you ask? Because it’s boozy and means business, and our favourite manly man (that would be James Bond) drinks his vodka martinis shaken — not stirred — just like the Luksusowa recipe, below.

Happy Father’s Day!

This manly martini is heavy on the vodka and features three olives.

This manly martini is heavy on the vodka and features a snack: olives. Image courtesy Luksusowa.

Vodka Martini

  • 2 oz Luksusowa vodka
  • 1/4 to 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • Crushed ice
  • Olive, onion or lemon twist garnish

Sparingly atomize the inside of a martini or rocks glass with the dry vermouth (less vermouth equals a martini that is drier. Gently shake (or stir, if you must) Luksusowa vodka with the crushed ice in a stainless steel shaker, or glass pitcher. Immediately fine strain into the glass. Garnish with the olive, onion or lemon twist.

— Recipe courtesy Luksusowa

Drink of the Week: Cherrykran Pom Pom

This gloomy weather makes me thirsty for something bright and pink, like spring should be. Good thing a bottle of Absolut Cherrykran just arrived on my doorstep, along with the recipe for a Cherrykran Pom Pom, a drink that packs way more of a punch than its name implies.

So pretty. Just pretend pomegranates are in season.

The Cherrykran Pom Pom cocktail is so pretty. Just pretend pomegranates are in season. Photo courtesy Absolut Vodka.

You may recall from earlier posts that I am not a fan of flavoured vodkas. I tend to think they taste rather chemically, as was the case with the UV Cake vodka. Since I am not a universal vodka-hater, and I have an open mind, I quickly unscrewed the top on the Cherrykran bottle in the name of research.

While I probably wouldn’t sip it on its own, I like that the Cherrykran has been infused with real fruit; in this case, cherries, white cranberries and plums. When mixed with lemon juice, pomegranate juice and just a touch of simple syrup, as the recipe calls for, you’ve got a slightly sweet, very tart and extremely pretty cocktail. And, just like a spring shower, it will sneak up on you without warning (read: it’s strong but you can’t taste the alcohol, so beware). I would normally tell you to stay dry, but hey, you’re drinking, so go ahead and get wet.

Absolut Cherrykran Pom Pom

  • 2 oz Absolut Cherrykran
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 oz pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup* (or to taste — you may find the pom juice is sweet enough)
  • Pomegranate seed garnish (I de-seed 3-4 pomegranates every fall, then freeze the seeds so I always have some on hand)

Shake all the ingredients and strain over ice into a lowball glass. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

*To make simple syrup mix equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool and refrigerate.

— Recipe courtesy Absolut Vodka