Category Archives: Mixology

Bar Chef Finals Spring 2011

Have you ever tasted a cocktail and thought hmmm I could definitely do a better job myself? Or maybe you have envisioned what you suspected to be delicious mouth-watering cocktails with ingredients one may never normally use in the bar? Six experienced bartenders from Toronto decided to bite the bullet on the evening of May 30th for the spring finals of the International Bartender Certification and each created some masterpieces that tantalised the judges’ taste buds on the night.

IBC Finals Spring 2011

Over the course of five weeks these bartenders attended the BartenderOne IBC course as students and tasted over three hundred different spirits, bitters, liqueurs, sweeteners, infused foams & spirits and alternate types of citrus and cocktails.

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The art of cocktail creation “the Ipour experience”

Grannys liquor

As a follow up to my previous blog “Syrup & Spirit Sundays” I have decided to share my cocktail creation experiences with you. What follows is a step by step breakdown of how our cocktail was created and thought process behind our syrups, infusions, and ultimately the end product!

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Syrup & Spirit Sundays

Syrups & Infusions

Inspired by my experience taking the Bartenderone IBC course, fellow Bartenderone instructor Jay Patience and I decided to undertake a weekly mission to create some “off the beaten path” syrups and infusions. The first step in our mission was a unique and groundbreaking brainstorming session where we were able to discuss a wide variety of ingredients and spirits. We anticipated the best place to start would be an urban market where we were introduced to an array of herbs, spices, and fruits that are not traditionally found in cocktails. The result for us was a countertop full of ingredients fit for more like a cooking class then a mixology experience.

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Coffee, Caffe, Café!

Coffee anyone?

Coffee anyone?

Coffee, Caffe, Café! It doesn’t matter where you come from or how you say it: If there is one thing I can’t go a morning with out this would be it. It’s a good thing I live in the Café rich city of Toronto.

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Falernummmmmmm…

What is Falernum?

What is Falernum?

Falernum – really the name seems to just roll off the tongue right? Emphasis on the num part here or should we say the ‘yum’ part because here at BartenderOne there is nothing better than a bit of quality homemade Falernum in your Caribbean style cocktails.

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BartenderOne in New York

Gin and Pears and Rosemary, Oh My!

Gin and Pears and Rosemary, Oh My!

Imagine walking into a phone booth, dialling a number, and being redirected back to a world of sipping cocktails next to Charlie Chaplin, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald……

On March 11th of this year, I traveled to New York to experience some of North America’s finest Speakeasies and Mixology bars. With only having one amazing speakeasy in Toronto, we were eager to head to the Big Apple and meet the bartenders that compete in Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.

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Bar Chef Finals – Winter 2011

Have you wished you could jump behind a bar with hundreds of ingredients, tastes, and ideas and be able to create the cocktail of your dreams?

On April 4th, 2011 the BartenderOne Bar Chef Finals took place at Empire Lounge in Toronto in Yorkville. As students, the mixologists had completed tasting over five hundred different spirits, bitters, liqueurs, sweeteners, types of citrus, infused foams and spirits, along with homemade syrups.

As mixologists, the students were asked to create an original cocktail from each of the 5 spirit categories. The cocktails could have been made with anything that the mixologists could think of; but were required to hold dear the traditional balanced cocktail theory. While they did have guidelines for balance, there were none for flavour profiles or presentation. Mixologists could incorporate elements that were taught in class such as: infusion, fatwashing, bruleeing, molecular mixology, spherification, custom foams, misting and much more.

As the student mixologists watched tentatively, their cocktails were tasted by three of Toronto’s top mixologists; Rob Montgomery, Gavin MacMillan and Scott McMaster. The students were were delighted to see that their hard work and development had paid off. The judges were impressed by all of the thought and effort that was incorporated into the final cocktails. The mixologists showed that they weren’t scared to test some boundaries in coming up with their very own recipes, and here are the top cocktails entered:

VODKA COCKTAILS

Strawbarb Bullets by Krissy Calkins

Strawbarb Bullets by Krissy Calkins

STRAWBARB BULLETS – By Mixologist Krissy Calkins

2/3 oz Strawberry reduction (no sugar added)
1/3 oz Rhubarb reduction (no sugar added)
1 oz Vodka
Shaken on Ice
Strain into Chocolate Cups
Float – Vanilla bean infused simple syrup on top
Served on a bed of Gram Crackers

Rainbow 1943 By Elizabeth Saad

Rainbow 1943 By Elizabeth Saad

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Something to tickle those tastebuds….

Thirsty?

Thirsty?

SOMETHING BLUE

A study was done in the bar industry with the purpose to find out what colour is the most effective to drive sales. Without question, the overwhelming result proved that blue was the way to go. As a bartender, if I make a blue cocktail such as a Banana Popsicle martini, or a Blue cosmo, without fail someone will see it and come up to my bar and ask for “that blue drink”.

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Sweet Sweet Vermouth….

The finished product mmmm...

The finished product mmmm...

What makes a Negroni stand out above all other cocktails for me is the variety of flavors that hit your tastebuds as soon as the liquid enters your mouth. The sweet sensation that jolts you back to reality after that first sip is the sweet vermouth which is also present in that manly martini named the ‘Manhattan’.

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A Lesson in Marketing (no, not that kind)

The amazing fresh produce at St. Lawrence Market, ripe for the picking.

The amazing fresh produce at St. Lawrence Market, ripe for the picking.


Not all freestyle mixology sessions need to start with a trip to the liquor store! Local markets packed with farm fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and fantastic finds can be your first destination for inspiration.

Here in Toronto we are particularly blessed with access to several excellent open and indoor markets. St. Lawrence Market and the Kensington District both offer fantastic selections of fresh produce, bulk goods, and specialty shops with every imaginable ingredient under the sun. You can almost always track down specific spices and preserves, thanks especially to the diversity of background in our city. However, at least half the fun of a trip to the market is the item you didn’t expect to see! Preserved Marasca Cherries, anyone? A hidden find at one of these well stocked purveyors could spark your next great cocktail idea!

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