Posts tagged cocktail recipe
The Mysterious Story of the Margarita

At some point this weekend, there's a good chance you’re going to sit down with a tasty margarita to celebrate one of our favourite booze-related holidays. 

Historically, Cinco de Mayo is a day in Mexico to celebrate the day their military unexpectedly beat the French in 1862, but for most of us, it's become an excuse for us to indulge in amazing food and partake in few celebratory drinks. 

The celebratory drink of choice for this holiday is the margarita. 

The history of the margarita is actually an interesting one as it’s origin seems to be one of those “depends on who you talk to” scenarios. The earliest sign of the drink dates back to 1937 when similar ingredients appeared in the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book but it was known as a Picador. 

One year later, a restaurant owner by the name of Carlos “Danny” Herrara claims to have invented the drink at his place called Rancho La Gloria. The story goes that the drink was created for a customer and a famous dancer known as Marjorie King. King was apparently allergic to mostly every spirit except tequila. 

Another bartender, Don Carolis Orozco also claims to have invented the drink in 1941. He claims that the daughter of the then German ambassador visited his bar that year in October. He had been experimenting with the drink recipe and she was allegedly the first to try and so it was named after her.

By all accounts, it appears the drink made it’s way to the United States in 1947 or 1948 in San Diego and Dallas. 

There are many more stories that have been told about the history of this drink and none have yet to be claimed as the real story leaving the creation of this cocktail still a complete mystery. 

So this weekend, let's raise our glasses to the mysterious margarita and enjoy it whatever way you'd like, on the rocks, iced, or as a punchy mix of fruits and juices because no matter who invented it and when we're sure glad that they did. 

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

3 Twists on Canada's Favourite Cocktail: The Caesar

Is there anything more Canadian than sipping on a Caesar on a patio before any rational human being would consider patio season underway? 

If there is, then I haven’t come across it yet. 

As Canadians, we take pride in our own creations and the Caesar might be one of our most beloved creations. It’s hardly as important as say the Canada Arm or the telephone but without question, it’s one of our favourites. 

Vodka, clam, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lime, rimmer, garnish and a sprinkle of seasoning. There’s nothing else like it. It’s so Canadian that even most Americans don’t even know about it. 

While the classic is the classic for a reason, there are more ways than ever to spruce up your Caesar and try something new. 

For starters, the easiest way to give your Caesar a different taste is to switch up the liquor in the drink. Vodka is the most popular spirit in Caesar, mostly because it’s a pretty tame flavour that lets the other flavours shine while still giving you a boozy kick. 

However, you can also make Caesar’s with just about any other liquor you want. Adding whiskey, gin or tequila can help make one of your favourite hair of the dog drinks even better. Whiskey adds more of a smoky taste, gin adds a nice floral touch, and tequila complements the spicy and citrus notes. 

If you want to try something different but don’t want to stray too far from the original, then a flavoured vodka might be for you. 

One of the most popular flavoured vodka’s for Caesar’s is dill pickle. For obvious reasons, of course. Pickles are one of the most popular Caesar garnishes and pickle brine has often been added as an ingredient too. 

In Saskatchewan, we've gone so far as to make dill pickle vodka a thing. I'm pretty sure we can take bragging rights on being the first to do so too. There are a few local distillers that have experimented creating this pickley spirit including Last Mountain Distillery and Lucky Bastard.

Dill pickle may be the most obvious flavoured vodka to add to your Caesar but there are certainly other options such as spicy or citrusy vodkas. A sweet vodka might not work as well, but I guess you never know. 

Another easy way to put a twist on your Caesar is to try something different when it comes to the other ingredients like spices, rimmer, hot sauce or even something you've never tried in a Caesar before. 

At Happy Hour’s mixology section, we have all kinds of different things to take your cocktails to the next level including horseradish extract and Lucky Bastard’s bacon bitters. Some restaurants and bars use horseradish in their Caesars, so a couple drops of this could be the new flavour you’re looking for. And as for the bitters, who doesn’t love bacon? It’s sweet and smoky flavour works well with any classic Caesar recipe.

What are some of the different things you’ve tried in a Caesar? What’s worked? Maybe more importantly, what hasn’t? 

Better Ingredients, Better Cocktails: Part One

Better ingredients, better pizza...oh wait, sorry, that’s Papa John's Pizza slogan.

When it comes to cocktails, the idea is the same. The better stuff is going to give you a better drink. Whether you’re simply making a rum and coke, a Caesar or something more complex, higher quality ingredients are always going to make a better drink. That’s true for both mix and alcohol (we’ll get into the latter next week).

We’ll start with what is probably considered Canada’s favourite cocktail, the mighty Caesar.

Most of us are content on grabbing on a bottle of the standard clam, or maybe a flavoured one if we really feel like mixing it up and all of the other necessary ingredients and get to work. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in recent years, the options available to Caesar lovers have never been better. Not only have major producers, like French’s come up with their own alternatives but so have smaller players.

At Happy Hour, we proudly stock Walter Craft Caesar Mix. What makes Walter’s special is their all-natural recipe, no MSG, and no added corn syrups. Many of these ingredients are found in some of the major alternatives. Their mix is made in small batches and is also Ocean Wise recommended. The added benefit? Everything is already included in the bottle. No need to add any Worcestershire sauce or any other spices, unless, you like your Caesar really spicy.

If a gin and tonic is more up your alley, fret not, we got your back. Not only have we grown our gin selection considerably, but we offer up a wide variety of tonics to spruce up this old English classic.

Currently, we stock a few different varieties of Fever-Tree Tonic including their Elderflower, Premium Indian and Mediterranean Tonic. Like Walter’s, Fever-Tree believes in only offering the best, naturally-sourced ingredients in their bottles. Fever-Tree launched in 2005 and was named after the Cinchona Tree's nickname, "Fever Tree" that produces a key ingredient in tonic called quinine. The best quinine is found near the Rwanda/Congo border. 

Whisky or rum lover? There are options for you too. Most notably the Fentimans Curiosity Cola and the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale. Both of these classic soft drinks take on a different twist for a taste that cannot be missed.

The options to reinvent the taste of classic cocktails don’t end with what’s been mentioned in this blog. We have an entire mixology section filled with all kinds of different craft products to help take your home bartending game to the next level. If you need it, we got it. If we don’t, we can probably get our hands on it for you.

The second half of the perfect cocktail? The booze. Check back next time as I delve into some of the new, different spirits available to make your favourite drink even better.