Empress of the Garden: 7 Sweet Rose Treats

Roses have been revered through the ages not just for their showy, complex blooms but also their health and nutritional benefits. Today you can find a plethora of rose treats to consume or slather on your gorgeous bod. About 2,000 years ago roses Greek scholar Pliny declared that roses could cure a minimum of 32 afflictions – everything from urinary tract infections, scurvy and scars. In more modern times, roses are said to have seven different skincare benefits according to the folks at Organic Authority.

Personally, I’m admirer of bloom and smell of Damask roses and Nootka roses. Growing up in rural British Columbia, I drank rose hip tea and at rose hip jelly. My grandmother taught us to chew up a rose hip and smear it on a fresh bee or wasp bite to take away the sting as children.** Major rose producing countries that specialize in distilling down 10,000 stems at a time include are Bulgaria, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt and India.

Today, you can find rose essence in everything from cocktails to facial toners. Last summer I was so inspired by the uber fragrant Nootka roses in my neighbourhood, that I distilled them to make a rose elixir to add to everything from soda water to ice cream. I’ve even bathed with rose petals and replenished my skin with rose essence. Since February is the month of love and roses, I’ve decided to share some of my favourite rose-infused or inspired finds. So instead of buying a bunch of roses for your sweetie this February, grab him or her one of these rose treats.  Read more

How did you get that f*#king awesome job Gordon Glanz?

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Photo credit: Grant Harder

Spirit distiller. East Vancouver innovator. Call Gordon Glanz what you want, but the co-founder of East Vancouver’s Odd Society Spirits is fast becoming a pioneer in B.C.’s distilling scene.

Rewind his life narrative a bit and this isn’t surprising. He has a Master’s Degree in distilling from the land of William Wallace, haggis and damn fine scotch. Rewind even more down Glanz’s winding life path and you’ll read about how he’s gone from teen-aged experimental distiller to a grown-up, award-winning distiller at Odd Society Spirits’.  Read more

Westcoast to Winnipeg – This Summer’s 5 Best Summer Sips

Victoria's Olo serves up a savoury summer sip: the What's up Doc?
Victoria’s Olo serves up a savoury summer sip: the What’s up Doc?

Summer is in full swing. My instagram feed is full of magic hour photos of patios, picnics and colourful cocktails. My real life feed is full of toddler trips to the beach, road trips with visiting family and when I can manage, a fancy cocktail or three. I love having folks for a bevvie on our deck. There’s nothing better than a tumbler full of quirky flavours spiked with some interesting spirits to mark the end of the day or the beginning of the weekend. I’ve been alternating my TGIF bevies between rose cordial spritzers and strong, extra sour mojitos. (The never ending pot of mint on our deck is a total enabler.)

Last year I interviewed some of Canada’s best bartenders for their favourite summer cocktail recipes and was completely inspired to up my host game. This summer, I decided to continue canvasing Canada’s cocktail stars to highlight the crazy talent we have in front of our bar stools from sea to sea to sea. Whether you love savoury sips with carrot garnishes or a rainbow twist on an old classic, I reckon you’ll swoon over the drink recipes below. Read more

Life of the Party: 6 Wintery Canadian Cocktails to Warm You Up

The Navidad Negroni

Holiday party season is in full swing. Sequins are everywhere, lunch invites are rolling in as work productivity is rolling downhill.

If you’re anything like me, you prefer to host a Christmas shindig at home versus booking out a venue. Just because your holiday house party happens at home doesn’t mean the fun factor has to be any less than a 12 out of 10. Hallmarks of a noteworthy holiday party include: strong, wintery cocktails, sparkly decor, snappy dress, a toe-tapping playlist, a dance floor (mandatory; see also: kitchen or living room), plentiful, tasty nosh and fantastic folks to laugh the night away with.

While I can’t help you with the entire list above save for sparkles, dance moves and laughter (if I’m invited, that is) – I can help with the wintery cocktails part.

To help you host a party for the history books or at least for The Facebook, I’ve curated a little list of cold weather, Canadian cocktails near and far to help lubricate the conversation and possibly kick start the dance floor at your festive soiree. I approached some of Canada’s best barkeeps for their wintery cocktails – you know, the ones guaranteed to warm your cockles, while dazzling guests with alluring flavours and textures. Click the jump below to nab drink recipes from Baie Saint Paul Quebec to Vancouver, British Columbia and points in between.  Read more