The long weekend is coming up and that is exactly why National Caesar Day is celebrated on the Thursday right before the May holiday weekend. What else says celebrate, relax in the sun and let’s get summer started quite like a Casear?
This amazing drink is such a personal thing. Everyone likes theirs a little different, right down to the amount of spice added. When you’re drinking rum and coke, for example, the only variation you will get is the choices of rum or whether or not to add a lime.
How Do You Garnish Your Caesar?
Caesar’s can be garnished in so many different ways. Bartenders are getting crazy creative with them. They are opting out the exhausted, boring celery (sorry, celery, you’re great, too) and embellishing with spicy green beans more often.
Some are downright beautiful such as this Kimchi Caesar at Das Lokal. Some border on the ridiculous, from pickles, to lobster tails even sandwiches!
I’ve included a link below to a site of photos that showcase this insanity. No matter how you like them, they are perfect for those Sunday morning hangovers.
The high salt content in a Caesar helps you retain water and battle the dehydration. If Hair of the Dog is not for you, though, try a poutine! Speaking of hangovers, did you know the scientific term for your hangover? Veisalgia. It comes from the Norwegian term “uneasiness following debauchery”
The so-called hangover cure was created in Calgary, Alberta. Walter Chell, the Italian Bartender created the drink for the opening of the Calgary Inn in 1969. It is now the Westin Hotel.
As the story is told, the flavours of the traditional clam pasta, Spaghetti alle Vongole, gave him the inspiration to create a drink to mirror the taste when asked to create a signature cocktail for the opening.
How Did It Bloody Get In There?
Chell named it the Caesar, for an ancestor in Italy. It’s full name is now Bloody Caesar. While Chell worked to perfect the drink, he had patrons sample for him. One referred to it as “A damn good bloody Caesar!” Or were they just keeping in line with the vodka and tomato juice beverage, Bloody Mary?
Great story but it is believed that clam cocktails already existed. Not to take anything away from fellow neighbours in Calgary but a recipe was found in The Artistry of Mixing Drinks. This was published in 1936.
A virtual page-turning copy can be found here under Bartender Guides. The first 19 pages contains very interesting reading but if you want to jump right to this mysterious recipe that was found, enter page #28 in the upper box and hit enter. It’s not exactly the same as today’s version since Mott’s provides an easy mix of tomato and clam juice.
Starting on page 123, there are handy pages of useful information, anecdotes for poisons and emergency clean up methods. Also quite interesting to read, if you’re so inclined.
Over 350 million Caesars are consumed annually. Much of these numbers could very well be Canadian and Mexicans. Some Americans are not overly familiar with the drink.
Odd, because Mott’s is an American name brand but is only now being seen more often in stores across the States. Maybe the craze of Caesars will soon catch on.
In 2010, Parliament officially named the Caesar Canada’s National Cocktail. This weekend enjoy the beautiful blooms at the Tulip Festival at Parliament and do your own experimenting of Caesars!
Since we are on the topic of Parliament which is in Ottawa, Canada’s Captial City, one other place to find a fantastic Caesar is at Ottawa’s Oldest Tavern, The Lafayette on York Street in the Market. Again, it is a personal preference unique to you or me, just offering a favorite of my helpful taste tester.
The Mimosa, that delicious breakfast drink that is so popular on holidays, special family events or any old Sunday brunch, and is so easily prepared with equal parts champagne, or sparkling wine, and orange juice.
Champagne and sparkling wine are really the same. If this wine is made in Champagne, France then it can be labelled as Champagne. If it is produced anywhere else it gets titled sparkling wine.
Many accounts name Frank Meier as the inventor of The Mimosa in 1925 while he worked at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, France. Meier tended bar at the American Bar, preparing cocktails, one being his signature drink, the Bees Knees. Perhaps you know his published book The Artistry of Mixed Drinks.
It has been recently discovered that Frank had become a spy for the French Resistance yet continued working at the bar during WWII while Hitler Occupied France. Many of The Ritz’s staff doubled as spies for the French and British. He fabricated false documents for Jewish individuals, staying at The Ritz, to avoid concentration camps, passed notes for the attempted assasination of Hitler. He later disappeared when he was caught embezzling money.
A surprisingly captivating book I read not too long ago, The Last Time I Saw Paris, is a story about the French Resistance set in and around the Hotel Ritz during the 40’s. If you’re interested in reading this great book, I would be happy to loan it to you. (If you are in the Ottawa area, of course).
If you’re in Paris, seek out these interesting sights:
Pere Lachaise – an estimated 300,000 to one million people are buried at this cemetery and park. Visit the graves of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Chopin.
Of course, another story exists. Captain Herbert Buckmaster opened a gentleman’s club, Buck’s Club, in 1919, to rival the other “stuffy” bars, and is famous for Buck’s Fizz which debuted in 1921. The bartender at the time, McGarry, created the more potent drink with 2 parts champagne to 1 part orange juice.
A Gentleman’s Club is a members only establishment. By the 19th Century, over 400 of these clubs were in operation in London. They provided an escape for the British elite from their ‘open book’ lives to relax, gamble, socialize with friends, play parlour games, such as charades, or get a good, hot meal.
Interesting to note, Buck’s Club uses a josper grill It is an oven and grill in one unit and is soley powered using charcoal. To experience this, you can find them at 18 Clifford St., London, England. Good luck finding much information on this club. Their ‘website’ offers only an address and contact information as they are by invitation only.
While in London, tour the reconstructed outdoor Shakespeare Globe Theatre. The original was demolished due to a miss fired cannon during a Henry VIII performance.
I made an exciting discovery! The Torchlight Shakespeare Festival will be playing here in Ottawa this summer. I have never experienced an outdoor play and now have the chance to see one. Plays will be featured at various parks throughout the city each night this summer from July 3 August 19 at 7pm. Believe it or not, this company has been setting up their plays in parks for the last 15 years and have never charged a dime, only asked for donations (suggested amount $20). Use the link if you want to receive emails on locations or even if you want to join their ranks as an actor. I actually did.
Perhaps, the Frank Meier concoction was truer to today’s equal parts version, and less intoxicating. Also worth mentioning, Alfred Hitchcockcock claims to have popularized drinking mimosas as a brunch specialty in the 1940’s.
In Ottawa, you can enjoy a Mimosa at The Red Lion, in the Byward Market, or the Wellington Diner at 1385 Wellington Street and at Stoneface Dolly’s on Preston St., just to name a few. You may have to wait for the weekend breakfast to get one, though.
I found these handy single serving bottles at the LCBO for $12.95. Great for those days when you only want one Mimosa instead of feeling pressured to polish off a full champagne bottle because now you’ve opened it!
Well, sort of. In 1586, English privateer, Sir Francis Drake, lead his men to Havana where things took a bad turn.
The good news? They managed to steal a pile of gold.
The bad news? Many men suffered from malnutrition and scurvy, leaving the entire crew stranded in Havana.
Knowing citrus aided in the prevention, Sir Francis Drake sent a small party of men to shore to find some natives who could direct them to medicinals to administer to the sick men. They arrived at Matecumbe, Florida which is roughly in the centre of today’s Florida Keys.
The concoction they brought back to ship was made up of chuchuhuasi bark soaked in distilled sugar cane juice (rum), then mixed with lime and mint. Voila, El Draque.
The good news? They became well again.
The bad news? They continued to plunder and pillage.
To England, he is a hero, to the Spanish, he is a pirate.
Moral of the story?
We can be grateful to those who paved the way for the vast array of cool drinks we have access to today. By the way, which drink does Drake’s 1586 brew most resemble?
And why the name cocktail?
Apparently, the crew drank the mix from a long spoon with a cocktail handle. An image of this type of spoon brings up a bartenders mixing spoon which only holds about a teaspoon. I would doubt a teaspoon of El Draque would amount to much healing. My guess, they used something that resembled a ladle. The real question is why is the handle of this spoon called a cocktail?
Whether this story is the true origins of the cocktail drink, no one can really know for sure. As with many drinks, there are conflicting stories of who made the first one. This is no exception. Let me continue…
In 1731, James Ashley ran a Punch House in London, England and claims to have made the first cocktail, or rather, punch.
A recently opened Punch House in Chicago features pre-made punch served by the glass, by the carafe or, if you’re a larger group, by the punch bowl. Hmm, gives me an idea for Rum Punch Day.
Sadly, there are no Punch Houses in Canada. Pity.
Another story features Antoine Peychaud, of New Orleans, as the originator of the cocktail. Peychaud served mixed drinks in a coquetel, French for an egg cup. It was difficult for the English to pronounce and instead referred to it as cocktail.
Peychaud Bitters is produced in the States but not in Canada. Perhaps they are promoting their product with this story which may or may not be true. If anyone has any proof, please share.
In the end, google translates coequetel to cocktail. No matter where it came from or who started it, the result is a tasty and refreshing drink, just in time for summer.
A number of hands went into the making of the cocktail as we know it today so cheers to you while you enjoy your cocktail on National Cocktail Day.
What will be your cocktail of choice this season? Need some ideas for something new? See The Cafe Royal Cocktail Book or have some fun with the 1930 version of The Savoy Cocktail Book located on the sidebar.
If you’re looking for a new taste, visit your LCBO and pick up the new Bacardi Raspberry and mix it with any fizzy drink. Let your imagination run with it.
Also new on the scene is Luxardo’s Bitter Bianco which is made up of cardamom, rhubarb, quinine, bitter orange, and three secret herbs to give it it’s aromatic scented and slightly bitter, citrus-y flavour. Luxardo developed this liqueur to rival red bitters. Similar flavour but clear in colour. It is most popular mixed with vermouth but there are plenty of recipes available.
The origins of this drink is a hard one to pin point. It’s possible the Cosmopolitan is based from The Daisy which was created in the late 19th Century. The Daisy is a combination of spirit, citrus drink, simple syrup and an orange infused liqueur. Many drinks use this blend as a base, one other being a Margarita.
Up until 1968, Ocean Spray’s largest market targeted children. They decided to expand their market to adults and began printing the recipe on every label for the cocktail named The Harpoon: vodka, cranberry juice and lime. However, this is missing the essential cointreau.
Jigger of Gordon’s Gin (11⁄2 oz Beefeater)
2 dash Cointreau (1⁄2 oz Cointreau)
Juice of 1 Lemon (1 oz Lemon Juice)
1 tsp Raspberry Syrup (1 tsp homemade)
Cheryl Cook, a bartender in 1970 South Beach, created the new blend for consumers who requested something easier to swallow than a traditional martini, something sweeter.
Neal Murray claims to be the first to have made the drink in Minneapolis at the Cork and Cleaver in 1975, He added a splash of cranberry to a drink called the Kamikaze. The Kamikaze is vodka, triple sec and lemon juice.
Story #4 (My personal favorite)
John Caine lived in Provincetown, Massaschusetts, which is near a huge cranberry producing region. It makes sense that, when he moved to San Francisco in the 1970’s, he brought the recipe for the cosmo with him since he claims to have been experimenting with cranberry juice.
He now owns numerous bars in San Francisco and believes the increase in popularity of the cocktail happened during the 70’s when it was being served in Fern Bars. This is a slang name for preppy/yuppy bar (remember these terms from your younger days?) that catered to singles and were decorated with ferns and tiffany lamps.
Read more on John Caine, nominated for Man of the Year by the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
In 1987, Toby Cechini created this drink while working at The Odeon in Manhattan. This establishment was THE place to be in the 80’s and 90’s so the cosmo skyrocketed to success along with the Odeon. Even Saturday Night Live held casting parties here. Oddly, the current menu does not contain the drink however, any server there will how to make it. They’ve created a new variation with the Ginger Martini.
From there, Madonna and the popular tv show, Sex and the City brought the drinks’ notoriety to new levels.
Worth noting, Melissa Huffsmith also worked at The Odeon in 1987-88 and used Absolut Vodka, cointreau, cranberry and lime juices which is today’s standardized version.
Generally, a Cosmo is made with vodka and there are so many variations.
Your guess is as good as mine. The popularity of the Cosmopolitan has worn off in recent years but lucky for us, it spawned a generation of talented mixologists.
At Ace Mercado, in Ottawa, I recently encountered Marty (no last name). Hey, when you’re THIS good, you don’t need one!
You can play with the colors by swapping out the triple sec/cointreau and using blue curacao to make a purple cosmopolitan or white cranberry juice for a white cosmo. A Francilian substitutes sangria for the cranberry juice.
For fun, watch Marty, of Ace Mercado create his frozen dacquiri, where ALL of his drinks are his specialty and performed with flair!
Americans will try to claim the fame of inventing The Cocktail but the origins are European. After all, what is being used? Gin – made in Europe, Vodka – made in Europe, Vermouth – made in Europe.
-“Though fermented beverages had dominated for centuries, 17th century London turned from drinking ale and cider practically overnight. When King William of Orange was enthroned in 1688, he was faced with a dilemma. Years of good harvests left the nation with a grain surplus, driving down prices. To take advantage of this bounty — and “for the health of the nation” — he reduced taxes on distillation. British distillers produced around 500,000 gallons of neutral grain spirit the following year.”-
By the 1720s, London distillers alone produced 20 million gallons of spirits, not including an equally staggering amount of illicit alcohol. It was estimated that one out of every four habitable structure in London housed a working gin still.
The earliest use of the word “Cocktail” was discovered in the March 20, 1798, edition of The Morning Post and Gazetteer, a London newspaper no longer in operation.
The paper had reported a story of a landlord who won a lottery and went to his establishment and erased the tabs of the regular patrons. The newspaper then listed who owed what, including a certain William Pitt who owed for “L’huile de Venus”, “perfait [sic] amour”, and a less French drink: “‘cock-tail’ (vulgarly called ginger).”
The most common use of the term “cocktail” at the time was in reference to a horse with its tail cut short to indicate it was of mixed breed.
A colic remedy for horses consisted of water, oats, gin and ginger.
America can stake its claim to the cocktail’s surge in popularity in part through the work of Jerry Thomas, a Connecticut resident who, in 1862, wrote the first book in the United States with a section dedicated for cocktail recipes. Historians have gone so far as to call him the American Father of Modern Bartending but he actually worked in London prior to writing the famous book plus he wasn’t born American.
American tourists were on the rise in London, England. London cashed in on this and opened numerous ‘cocktail joints’. The creative bartenders constantly dreamed up new drinks. Many of which were brought back to America and made an official drink. A few years later that particular drink was introduced in Europe labelled as an “American Drink.”
The Savoy, one of those swanky Cocktail Joints, became notorious for American Bar Nights masking as charity fund raisers in the early 20th Century.
The first female bartenders of London were Ruth Burgess and Ada Coleman, better known as Kitty and Coley. Ada’s first cocktail she prepared was a Manhattan, taught to her by Fisher, the wine butler at the Claridge Hotel. However, “Kitty” had been tending bar a few years before Ada arrived on The Savoy scene where together they flourished.
The Hanky Panky
Ada brewed up some Italian vermouth with a few dashes of Fernet Branca (a form of Bitters) for one of her regulars, actor Sir Charles Henry Hawtry who requested ‘something with a punch’. He downed the drink and exclaimed, “Why, Ada, this is the real hanky panky!” The name stuck and is still on The Savoy’s menu today. Ada was promoted to Head Bartender in 1903.
Their heyday would end with the American Prohibition. American bartender, Harry Craddock, returned to London, looking for work since the Prohibition pushed him, and other bartenders, out of the US. Harry was hired at The Savoy and instilled his belief that women should not work in bars. Thirsty Americans swarmed London, listened, and eventually, agreed with him. The phrase bar wench goes back a long way because women were quite dominant, and respected, in taverns.
The owner, Rupert D’Oyly Carte, let Kitty go and transferred Ada to the hotel’s flower shop, using the story that she “retired”. He then promoted Harry Craddock (you might remember the mention of his Savoy Cocktail Book, written in 1930, in an earlier post of mine), to Head Barman.
Harry was thought to be American but he was born near Stroud, Gloucestershire. He moved to America, married an Irish widow then returned to England. He claims to have invented 240 cocktails in his career but were some of these actually Ada’s inventions? Did he use what she was forced to leave behind? She gets credit for only 1 cocktail invention in her 20 year career with The Savoy?
Today, The Savoy boasts 7 in-house restaurants and pubs, of British and a touch of French cuisine. For some Wow factor check out the photo gallery. Aside from The Savoy, some renowned establishments, as suggested by The Telegraph Newsletter, where incredible cocktails are concocted:
Tokyo:Bar High Five, 4th Floor, No.26 Polestar Building, Tokyo, 7-2-14 Ginza, +81 3 3571 5815
Barcelona: Boutique Bar in the Ohla Hotel, Via Laietana, 49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain, +34 933 41 50 50 New York: Pegu Club, 77 West Houston Street,
New York:Pegu Club, 77 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10012, (212) 473-7348
Havana:La Floridita (According to The Telegraph: Ask the doorman if Alejandro is working. If he isn’t, go elsewhere. When he is behind the bar, you can understand why this bar is so widely celebrated). Obispo No.557 esq. a Monserrate, Habana Vieja, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba, (0)7 8671300.
Meanwhile, here in North America, I’ve done a little digging. In Conneticut, home of Jerry Thomas, visit the unique Gillette Castle. Yes, a medieval castle in America! Built by William Gillette, the stage actor most famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.
Gillette is the son of former U.S. Senator Francis Gillette and Elizabeth Daggett Hooker Gillette, a descendent of Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford. No wonder he could afford to build a castle!
Then there’s the quaint Mystic, Conneticut, a small town, near the castle, with interesting sights. When it’s summer in town, rent bikes, paddle boards, kayaks or take in the many festivals throughout the year. With no lack of things to do, Mystic offers vineyards, beaches, museums, casinos, the popular geo-caching, farmers and art markets with plenty of shops and nightlife. The historical seaport and Olde Mistik Village are a must see!
Ottawa houses its own Savoy Brasserie on Richmond Road, leaning towards French cuisine, with a flair for original cocktails and high class decor. Order the oysters. Please!
How on EARTH can this be connected to travel and drinks?
Earth, being part soil, is the blood and nutrients for our plants. The fruit of some plants are distilled into liquor and voila! we have organic beverages.
So Today, This is the “Organically Grown Travel By The Glass” Way
With the increasing desire for organically grown and non-GMO produts, distilleries and vineyards are contributing to the cause by reducing or eliminating additives for a healthier product.
The basic guidelines that are followed when producers claim Organic:
We are avoiding these chemicals because they don’t make us feel good. If you get headaches from red wine, despite staying hydrated, it could be an allergy to something in the wine.
It could be the chemicals. Try organic wine and test the results.
It could be a product that ends up in the liquor naturally. For example, sulphites, in wine, are chemicals used as preservatives to prevent browning and discoloration in foods and drinks.
Are you the type to have a headache after one glass of wine? Sulphites are not the culprit. More sulfites are generally added to white wines than red wines and most headache sufferers complain after drinking red wines. Sulphites can cause asthma symptoms.
The 3 main evil reasons you might experience a headache when drinking wine
Evil Factor#1: Tannins – naturally found in grape skins, stems, seeds and oak barrels. These antioxidants are also found in dark chocolate!
Try this test to see if you’re sensitive, or allergic to Tannins:
Brew a cup of black tea, lettting it steep 5-10 minutes longer than usual.
Drink. If you get a headache, you know you’re sensitive to tannins since black tea has alot of tannin.
If you are sensitive to tannin, also avoid walnuts, almonds, dark chocolate, cinnamon, clove, pomengranates, grapes, acai berries, red beans and quince (a pear shaped fruit usually found between October and January in ethnic markets, if you’re lucky)
Sadly, these would be your wine options:
Choose a red with low tannin such as Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Grenache, Merlot, Barbera and Primitivo. Or cut out red altogether – I shudder with the thought.
Choose white wines instead especially the ones that have not been aged in oak barrels since the wood will create tannin.
I’m very thankful I don’t get headaches from reds in general.
Evil #2: Sugar
When alcohol and sugar are combined, a headache can happen if you’re not properly hydrated. The extra water is needed to help process both substances. If you’re lacking hydration (#1 reason for headaches), you body pulls the necessary water it needs from other parts of your body-head included. When the liquid in your head starts to deplete, a headache starts. A way to prevent this? Avoid sweet dessert wines, ie ice wines semi-dry and cheap wines. They have much higher sugar content. Cheap wine producers add sugar during fermentation to boost alcohol. Choose dry.
Evil #3: Histamines
Recent research has found that food and drinks that have been aged, such as dry aged meats and red wines, can cause our body to release histamines. Histamines are chemicals that are released when we have an allergic reaction and can cause that runny nose, dry eyes and headache.
If you know this is the reason for your headaches (you’ve ruled out Evil 1 and 2) and you’re serious about getting into that bottle of wine, take a histamine blocker, ie: Claritin, to prevent one.
Evil #4 Tyramines
Tyramine constricts then dilates blood vessels and Sauvignon Blanc and Charddonay are lowest in this chemical. Tyramines are found in aged foods ie: cheeses and meats.
To sum all of this up, when choosing an organic wine, choose one with low or no sulphites. Avoid the oak barrel flavouring if you find you’re sensitive to the tannins. And drink lots of water! Hopefully this helps you kick your headache issue.
Who Is Making Organic Alcohol?
There are approximately 2000 producers of organic wine and organic liquor and the numbers are on the rise.
I discovered many organic producing distilleries but Tru Organic Vodka’s “going green” conscientiousness goes beyond their liquor. They use less glass products and what glass they do use is all recycled. They’re not done yet….They use synthetic corks, soy-based ink and packaging that turns into a shelf!
Tequila Alquimiaboasts 39 gold medals at spirit competitions. They produce organic tequila with no added chemicals or flavorings. Their distillery is located in Camarillo, the town next to my father’s. If anyone is interested in purchasing a bottle, I could bring some back on my next trip there.
The closest we can get to these actual brands is the United States so let’s see what our LCBO carries:
Toronto based distillery, Toronto Distillery Company, produces organic spirits made from wheat, rye and corn. Their soil is rich in nutrients-if you’ve ever noticed how red the soil is near Toronto. LCBO carries their Wheat and Gin versions. Organic alcohol tends to be a bit pricier, for example, a 750ml bottle of Smirnoff costs $27.25 when TDC’s shelf price is $39.50 for a 375ml bottle.
It is a healthier choice in most cases. For those who indulge in more than 1-2 drinks per month, it might be worth considering organic. However, you’re defeating the purpose plus you’ll still have a bleeding hangover if you’ve had 10 glasses of organic wine.
Brand new on the scene is Last Straw Distillery in Concord, Ont. Restrictions and regulations are the biggest challenges a start up distillery in Ontario faces. Last November, Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, introduced Bill 70. This includes a 61.5% sales tax for retail stores owned and operated by Ontario’s distilleries. Ontario wine is taxed at 6.1%! British Columbia taxes by the litre which doesn’t hurt the smaller-producing distilleries. As their production increases so will the province’s revenue. No surprise there are many popping up in BC lately. I’m going to get all political on you, maybe even a bit Trump-ish, by saying, “Hello, Ontario Government, new distilleries will create jobs and revenue for our province, as it is doing in BC!” A small distillery, in it’s first critical year, is not taxed in BC for its first 50,000 litres produced. We all know Ontario would gauge, gauge, gauge until they were forced out of business.
Ontario distillers are now allowed to market their products at LCBO, however, the distillers fork out the costs of distribution. LCBO still applies its full 140% markup to the products. “The LCBO makes more margin on small micro-distillers’ offerings than on anything else they sell – so much for supporting local!” says Greg Lipin, co-founder of North of 7 Distillery in Ottawa.
Read the full report from Last Straw. They’re not looking for handouts only fairness between their industry of spirits and the beer and wine industry. Book your free tour during regular business hours.
North of 7 is a new Ottawa distillery with a conscience. They keep it local, additive free and they are involved in charity work. Almost all of the grains used are from Alexandria, Winchester and some from Wakefield. The Winchester farm, Against the Grain, supplies only organic produce and the juniper they find in Alexandria which grows wild and naturally. They’ve been hard at work producing their first whisky which will be ready this May, after 3 long years! There is a White Dog version at 62.5% alcohol! Ahem, moonshine to some, gut rot to others but, aside from the powerful punch to the system, I thought it had an interesting taste. Only available at their store since it is the rye straight from their still.
Please offer your support and drop in for a tasting! You’ll be pleasantly surprised and you’ll help to keep them operating!
Store hours: Noon-5pm Monday to Wednesday and a bit later for the rest of the week, closed Sundays. Located at 1733 St. Laurent Blvd
“For each bottle of Leatherback Rum sold, a portion is donated to the Canadian Sea Turtle Network– a charitable organization based in Halifax that is working to conserve endangered sea turtles in Canadian waters and abroad.” – North of 7
The owners, Greg Lipin and Jody Miall, genuine entrepreneurs, are avid rock-climbers and bourbon lovers. They are living their dream…they own a distillery and Coyote Rock Gym right here in Ottawa. Greg was the first one to open a rock climbing gym in Ottawa in 1992. Jody joined later on.
My sons and I, personally, have gone rock climbing and can say it is a very cool experience!
After speaking with Jody last week, I was surprised to learn their products on-site are no cheaper than what’s charged at LCBO. License to sell obviously means it must be sold through the liquor board so they get their cut, too. He says there is slight improvement in red tape but the taxes charged by the Ontario Government is still heavily unbalanced.
3 other ways to celebrate Earth Day the Travel By The Glass way:
Hmm, this took some thought.
If we are encouraged not to use our car to keep the air cleaner, then we are free
to have a couple of drinks at the corner pub.
Get your own garden growing. You’ll have truly organic parsley, thyme, basil, mint, yes, mint for your Mojitos!
Be a tourist in your own neighborhood. Walk, don’t drive. You’ll notice things that you usually drive past.
We get another Earth Day on April 22 so if you miss this one, use this link to see what’s going on next month.
Today is the first Earth Day which is celebrated every year at the Spring Equinox on or around March 21st when night and day are exactly the same length of time. This one is organized by the Earth Society Foundation. The foundation was founded by John McConnell, a conservationist who worked at a plastics factory and saw the environmental damage it caused.
The 2nd Earth Day, on April 22, is organized by the Earth Day Network. Both were launched in the spring of 1970. 20 million people participated in activities on that day 47 years ago.
I thought it would never get here! Thankfully, there are over 14 national days of the year associated with wine so it shouldn’t be too long before the next one.
First of all, thank you for taking the time to come back. Now, let’s get to it, I’m too excited to hold back and there’s so much ground to cover.
There won’t be too much about this flavour of grape or white vs red vs rose. Anyone who knows me, knows I gravitate to the unusual and unconventional so that’s where I’ll go with this.
Working from the outside in, take the wine bottle itself. Why are some of them green?
To protect the contents from light which can damage the wine. If it wasn’t stored in a cellar, it could be exposed to harmful lighting. Previous to the invention of the dark wine bottles in the 1600’s, goat skin bags were used. Darker green bottles are used for red wines and lighter green bottles are used for whites.
Now for the indentation at the bottom of your bottle, called the Punt. Glassblowers form the glass this way so it will stand up straight. Not like us once we drink the contents of one! The depth of the punt does not indicate a good quality wine or cheap wine. It varies on the desires of the producer.
Ah the Cork. I have a box full of these little babies. Sadly, we take them for granted. We tend to smell the cork, after opening, but why? And why should we?
Check it for cracks, dryness, breaks or mold. If it smells musty, like wet cardboard, toss it. Yes, the wine, too.
On the other hand, it can be used as a fabric dye or as a fruit fly trap. Removing a red wine stain with white wine seems a tad wasteful to wine lovers but if you’re going to toss it, use it as a cleaner, too.
Below are 2 different videos, one short and one a little more in depth. In a rush? Click the first video which is 2 1/2 minutes. It shows how cork is harvested from trees in Portugal in huge pieces.
Both are very interesting and well worth the few minutes. It depends on how much time you have on your hands right now.
Where did it all begin?
The origins date further back than what is currently documented. However, this might give you an idea as to how ancient wine is:
Georgia, in The Caucasus region, mountains that span from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea with Russia to the north – as far back as 6000 BC!
Armenia – just south of Georgia – 4100 BC – where the oldest winery to date was discovered.
Myth or Truth? This story is from 7000 BC in Persia: A young princess, despaired over her rejection by the King, decided to commit suicide by drinking the spoiled residue left by rotting grapes. After experiencing the effects of intoxication, she passed out. The next day, she realized life was worth living and reported her discovery to the King who rewarded her find.
In Iran – 5000 BC – Pottery vessels found at excavation sites in the Zagros Mountains in Iran, dates back to 3100-2900 BC. Studies determined them to contain tartaric acid which would indicate the presence of wine. How ironic that there is a city, in Iran, called Shiraz! It is formerly the capital of Iran.
The World’s Oldest Wine Bottle dates to AD 325 which was found inside one of two sarcophaguses near Speyer, Germany. It is now displayed at Historiches Museum der Pfalz.
In Greece – 4500 BC
Of course, as a wine lover, I have to mention Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine, Fertility of the land, and Ecstasy, pictured above, in the gardens of Versailles, France. Ah, to have wandered the earth, spreading the love of wine and sharing the art of viticulture as he did…..
Henry Carter discovered his tomb in 1922 in the Valley of Kings. Various pitchers located in King Tut’s tomb are now known to be wine decanters. They had been labelled with Year 5 and the name of the vintner, Khaa. Tutankhamun, born in 1341 B.C, had reigned from 1332 B.C. to 1323 B.C., and died at the age of 19. Some say he died of gangrine.
Also in King Tut’s tomb, residue found in other jars previously indicated a drink, called Shedeh, made from pomegranates. Recent methods discovered by scientists suggest this residue is from red wine made from grapes, not pomegranates.
All contents of his tomb are on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It is currently under construction so maybe wait awhile if you plan to go.
Oldest wineries, still producing wine:
Chateau de Goulaine, The Loire, France, since the year 1000 – Believed to be the oldest known wine business still in existence, today it produces a Muscadet, Sancerre and Vouvray.
Schloss Johanisberg, Germany, circa 1100 – bombed in 1942 but now restored by Princess Tatiana and her husband, Paul Alfons Fürst von Metternich.
Schloss Vollrads, Rheingau, Germany, established in 1211. Best known for Riesling. The winery and castle are open to the public.
Barone Ricasoli, Tuscany, the oldest winery in Italy, 1411. Best known for Chianti. Not in Italy? Get the flavour of Tuscany at your local LCBO.
Boschendal Winery, Franschhoek, South Africa began in 1688.
Rustenberg, Stellenbosch, South Africa, established in 1682.
With this new knowledge, I know I’ll be taking tours of at least one of these wineries the next time I get to Europe.
Also, worth mentioning are the castles, among all these vineyards, transformed into hotels along the Rhine River in Germany. The website pictures of Shoenburg are breathtaking…..just for fun, have a look! To get a feel for the surroundings, go into the rooms section. My favorites are Turmzimmer (Tower Room) No.22 and No.23. There are other castle hotels, at a lesser cost, here and all over Europe, but Schoenburg has amazing appeal and charm.
If you’re vacationing in northern Mexico this winter, visit Casa Madera, the oldest winery in the Americas. It is situated in Parras de la Fuente which was established in 1568 in the state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico.
Or, in August, plan a trip to Parras for it’s annual Grape Fair. Casa Madera is not the only winery in this area. Hint, hint: Wine Tours.
Codorniu, Spain, 1551 – “the Codorníu cellars at Sant Sadurní d’Anoia were declared “a National Monument of Historical and Artistic Interest” by King Juan Carlos I”.
If you’re suffering a good old Canadian winter like me, our options:
Make your own, there’s a wealth of wine-making shops across the city. I’ve been privileged to be offered a few different ones over the years and J & J Wines, on Walkley Road, in Ottawa, has great tasting red wine, in my opinion, and a good reputation.
Book your own wine tour in Ontario. Choose from Lake Erie, Prince Edward County, and Niagara On The Lake. Use the route planner to choose the wineries you wish to visit plus your accommodation destination and they map it out for you.
The Largest Wine Vat, of its time, sits in the Heidelberg Castle in Germany. Built in 1751, it holds 221,726 litres but is rarely used for wine. It stands approximately 6 metres high and 8 1/2 metres wide. Green people, please skip this next sentence. It is said 130 oak trees were used for it’s construction. A dance floor was built over top of it. When Napoleon’s army invaded, the soldiers thought it was full of wine. Their hatchet marks are still visible on the bottom section. If the angle of my shot had been from the front, you would see them better. If I spoke or read German, I would also have known what to photograph when I was there. Such as this little guy. It seemed picture worthy but I really didn’t realize his importance. Perkeo, the Eternal Keeper of the Tun, was once a court jester and master of the castle’s spirit production. The only liquid he poured down his throat was apparently wine until the age of 80 when his doctor advised him to stop. When he did and tried water, he died. Google the Heidelberg Tun to see more. Being the most famous castle in Germany, the massive ruins attract millions of tourists per year. The only way to access the castle is through a guided tour, done in German and in English and run all year. Specialized tours and events run regularly. Today, if you’re in Heidelberg, take part in Life At Court. The whole family can dress up in costume.
Note: The Tun was the largest in the world until 1934 when a larger barrel was built in Bad Durkheim, Germany which sits at 13.5 metres in diameter. It is located on the edge of the German Wine Route. Go figure.
There is another barrel, recently built in Languedoc, France, that outsizes both of these but, in my opinion, lacks the Old World charm. The owner claims it will never be filled but may be used for special events and perhaps a shop.
Onto Other Parts of the World
The custom of bumping glasses is an Ancient Roman greeting. The wine would spill from one glass into the other. It seems this method assured no one is trying to poison the other. In my opinion, if your wine glass is clean and it’s “bumped” by a medieval knight, I’m not drinking it anymore.
The first recorded toast in England took place in 450 CE, at a feast given in honor of British King Vortigern by Hengist, the leader of his Saxon allies.
Offer your glass up and, literally, a piece of spiced, charred or stale toast would be dropped into your wine. Apparently, it soaks up some of the acidity and it made the wine taste better. It could be an h’or d’oeuvre since they were not in the habit of wasting food.
In Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, he mentions putting toast into spiced wine.
A Toast, To Your Health!
In those times, The Host would have to drink first to prove the wine he served was not poisoned. Thus, drinking to your health!
Wine as Income
Churches and Monasteries earned income from wine but did you know hospitals and universities did as well?
The most famous Hotel-Dieu in Beaune, in France, is a hospital, museum and a vineyard. Built by Nicholas Rolin, in 1443, it was intended for the poor and disadvantaged after living through the 100 Years War. Also on the estate grounds is a 60 hectare vineyard. It’s world famous wine auction takes place every third November of each year. There’s lots of time to book your tickets for the festival this year! The proceeds from sales are used to improve hospital equipment and maintaining the Hotel.
Regarding Monasteries, there’s a cool story about Champagne coming up later in the year.
During Prohibition years, concentrate manufacturers put warning stickers on their product:
After you mix the concentrate with water, please do not keep the mix in a barrel longer than 20 days-it will turn into wine.
If wine has a low sugar content, it will be a dry, or very dry wine. Labels at the LCBO display the sugar content so you can determine it’s dryness. For example 4g will be dry and 14 will be much sweeter.
An individual who is afraid of wine has oenophobia.
Oenology is the study and science of wine and wine-making. Algonquin College and Brock University offer this course.
Sulphites do not cause headaches. They can, however, cause asthma symptoms. You may want to consider natural/organic wines as they have a lower sulphite content. To avoid a vino headache, stay away from the sweeter wines. The sugar depletes the liquid in your head which causes your headache.
Only the men of Ancient Rome were allowed to drink wine. If they caught their wife partaking, he was allowed to kill her.
For those vampiric types, order a Cobra Wine in Vietnam. They will serve you rice wine topped with the blood from a freshly killed cobra.
Germans invented Eiswein (sound familiar?), wine made from frozen grapes.
Doc Hendley founded the company Wine to Water, an organization that uses wine tastings to improve the quality of water in under developed countries. What an inspirational story, check it out sometime.
Wine instead of gas? Prince Charles converted his vintage Aston Martin to run on surplus English wine. He cut carbon emissions by 25%!
How Healthy Is Wine?
One ounce of red wine contains:
2% potassium – for heart health ; smooth muscle contractions, digestion.
2% iron – helps to carry oxygen to your lungs
5% vitamin B-6 – brain, cardiovascular, digestive and muscular health
2% magnesium – nerve transmission, muscle contraction, blood coagulation, energy production, nutrient metabolism, and bone and cell formation.
Hmm, not bad, there’s more….
Some doctors believe one glass of red wine per day can lower the risk of alzheimer’s disease, cancer and diabetes, and you’ll look better.
Wine drinkers (1-2 4oz glasses per day) have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. Taken from a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.
Red-wine tannins contain procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Taken from a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.
WebMD states the reservatrol in wine is great for anti-aging!
1 tablespoon red wine (reservatrol, see below)
1 tablespoon honey (reduces blemishes and redness)
1 tablespoon greek yoghurt (for the probiotics)
Pour a glass of wine. Mix the 4 ingredients in a bowl. Spread on face and neck using a cotton ball. Enjoy your glass of wine for 15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. Apply your usual face cream.
I would love to hear if anyone tried this and what your results were! As an eczema sufferer, I was very excited to try it. It seemed a little watery but actually stuck to my face, no problem, only a couple of drips. Keep a towel handy (preferably a wine colored one!). It tingled my skin and smelled delicious. Yes, I licked the spoon. You probably will. too. Soon I could feel it tightening. After rinsing and applying moisturizer, my skin was so soft! There may not be a noticeable difference after one application but after a month, who knows?Pictures are below because I don’t want to scare anyone off by having them right here. Beware, glamour pictures they are not!
European wines are named for their region, such as Bordeaux, France or Sancerre, which is also in France. Even though they use the same grapes as Americans might use. They don’t put the name of their grape on the bottle either.
Whereas, non-European wines are named for their grape variety, such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Red vs White
Ok, I lied. Let me make one comparison.
Darker shades of reds and yellowish white wines come from warm climates and have a lush body to it. Lighter colors are from cooler climates and will taste lighter.
Why is red wine known to be heart healthier than white? The grape skins are rich in antioxidants. Red wine is fermented with the skin. White is fermented without the skin. A few studies I looked at are actually showing an increased risk of contracting cancer, especially of the digestive tract. This is if you are indulging in more than 2 glasses per day.
All the more reason to come to the dark side………
Since I’m on the topic of antioxidants, I learned something new. You’re probably way ahead of me on this. Polyphenal and Reservatrol, the antioxidants found in the grape seeds, prevent oxidization. Oxidization (the loss of electrons) occurs when an element, that loses electrons more easily (an apple, for example), is exposed to another element, that is reluctant to lose electrons (oxygen is one of these).When the insides of the apple are exposed to the air, it turns brown almost instantly. An antioxidant will slow this process. Oxidization can cause cell damage, even death.
Therefore, to help your wine last longer, transfer it into a smaller bottle and re-cork it. You’ve now eliminated that damaging oxygen in your bottle. For those who don’t polish off a bottle in one sitting.
Women get drunk faster than men because of their water to fat ratio, even if they are of the same weight and size. Sorry, ladies, it seems we have a higher fat content; men have more blood and water volume. Fat does not absorb alcohol so it spreads, in it’s highly concentrated form, throughout our body resulting in a higher blood alcohol concentration. It’s not all about the fat! Apparently, we have lower amounts of dehydrogenase, an enzyme in the lining of our stomach, men have more of this to help break down alcohol.
Just For Fun….
What do you call someone who talks about the wine he or she will open but never does?
The answer is hidden in the “tags” section. Unless you’d rather cheat and google it.
If you made it this far, I’m flattered. Thank you for taking part! See you soon…..
If curiosity got the better of you, you’ve landed on Travel By The Glass. It’s fun, informative and will take you to quaint, off-the-beaten-path places. On your next vacation, add a little spice to your trip with interesting detours to your travel itinerary. Mingle with the locals. Discover a whole new world while you’re globetrotting.
In the months to come, this website will showcase unique, maybe even unheard of, places. The country of choice will depend on what is the national “drink” of the day. I’ll even attempt to make the drink, too! (Scroll further or use the Facebook link in sidebar.)
Who Concocted the First Irish Coffee?
To celebrate National Irish Coffee Day, we discover the origins of this scrumptious drink all the way to, of course, Ireland.
Foynes to be exact, a small village near Limerick. It’s considered a fairly new town, being less than two centuries old. The Foyne’s Air Base, in affiliation with Shannon Airport, handled many passengers, including political VIP’s and celebrities, on their Flying Boats to and from Canada and the United States.
In 1942, a flight bound for North America had to return to Foynes due to extreme winter weather which was not an uncommon occurrence. The restaurant, located at the Foynes terminal, had just acquired a new manager, Joe Sheridan. Faced with these chilled, travel-weary passengers, Joe created a special drink. As the story goes, a hush fell as they tasted it for the first time. It became the main staple included on Joe’s menu for travelers in Foynes.
Travel writer, Stanton Delaplane brought the recipe back to America to Jack Koeppler, a bartender at the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco. Their early attempts to recreate the brew saw the cream sinking to the bottom of the glass. Jack traveled to Foynes to catch up with Joe to learn the proper method. He eventually found him at Shannon International Airport.
In 1952, Buena Vista Hotel offered Joe a position. Joe’s popular story is commemorated in the Foynes Flying Boat Museum.
Today, the Buena Vista proudly makes 2,000 Irish Coffees daily.
I would love to see your picture posted having an Irish Coffee! A follow up post will feature your photos.
Flying through San Francisco on February 25? Stop in for a brew at the newest location of the Sheridan at the San Francisco airport. The original is at the Buena Vista in the fisherman’s wharf area in San Francisco where it’s made to classic perfection. This is on my agenda next trip to Cali!
View the events from 2016 Foyne’s Flying Boat and Museum and to plan your visit for 2017. Be sure to watch the 10 minute video for a taste of what’s in store – the music finishes about the 3 minute mark then gets into the commentary.
For a more adult geared excursion, download the free app for Ireland’s Whiskey Trail available at Google Play Store. The tour guides you to Ireland’s distilleries, the best whiskey pubs and shops.
The Irish Based Flight Company, Ryanair has some exciting offers for it’s passengers:
If you’re in Ireland this time of year, re-live the past at the Sheridan Food Pub, named after you-know-who.
A wealth of Irish pubs are in the Ottawa Market and downtown area. All priced the specialty coffees around $6.95. I visited a few, including the following:
The Aulde Dubliner makes 2 versions of Irish Coffee. Barman Luc made the Bushmill’s Irish Coffee with flair and so generously gave his attention to all of my questions. Ask about the new drink menu geared for Winterlude. If the Carrot Parsnip soup is on tap, I strongly urge you to have one, it’s out of this world! Kudos to Chef Dave Rosa.
The Irish Village consists of 4 pubs meandering from the front of the Heart and crown to Mother McGinty’s at the back. The specialty coffee selection is the same as the Aulde Dubliner so I if you’re in the market tonight, you’ll find one, no problem.
Patty Boland’s, in the market, hosts great music almost every night of the week so check out the dj tonight for some mid-week dancing. I consider myself somewhat of a poutine connoisseur and theirs is definitely a 10!
The newly opened Starbucks on York Street sadly is not yet equipped to make today’s national drink; they do serve beer and wine. If we all request a specialty coffee, they may come around!
Lunergan’s Pub in Ottawa East, made a lovely Irish Coffee with Kahlua. Yum. Ask for the Irish stew either today or on St Paddy’s Day, they make it fresh on site.
Connor’s Gaelic Pub, on Bank Street, provided me refuge on a freezing rain evening. They offered a good variety of coffees but I opted for a soup for some reason. Was I missing that carrot parsnip soup? For a pea soup non-lover, it was quite good! Served in a giant bowl, it seemed quite thin which I discovered is the correct way.
Quinn’s Ale House, in the Glebe, has a lively, intimate atmosphere. The lovely Alli informed me they don’t make Irish Coffees but I could slip across the street, purchase a fresh brew and bring it back for a shot of rye. Voila, makeshift Irish Coffee!
Celtic Cross, two blocks away, is back on Elgin Street! The week kicks off Wednesdays for Open Mike so drop in for your specialty coffee tonight and catch the entertainment. Into Trivia? Every week, they host a trivia night and music Fridays and Saturdays. Each Sunday, they present a different movie, unless there’s a big game on. Planning your own event? Inquire within. The cool picture of the cross and Irish flag I give credit to Dave, the bartender with the most awesome hairstyle! Without his help, I wouldn’t have achieved that angle.
Woody’s on Elgin has a beautiful fireplace tucked away at the back surrounded with 4 comfy chairs. A great place to enjoy an Irish Brew.
Wherever you are, find your local Irish pub, preferably one with a fireplace to cozy up to, for a tasty, hot drink on this cold winter day. Distracted by delicious soups (Hey, if it fits in a glass, I’ll include it!), I still managed to visit 10 Irish pubs and feel I accomplished my goal.
If you enjoyed this bit of information, at least found it interesting and know someone who has a passion for airplanes or coffee, Irish style, share this piece with them.
I invite your feedback to help grow this site. Feel free to make requests. I’ll dig and research the hell out of anything (I live for this!) to bring to future posts. All suggestions welcome.
Most of all, please return for the next National Drink Day! Stay Tuned!
Respect Your Brothers and Sisters… Please Drink Responsibly