As the new year draws closer, we’re hoping it brings about positive change, along with opportunities to share special moments with friends at our favourite bars and restaurants once again (when it’s safe to do so).
The current reality is that Canada’s hospitality professionals continue to be profoundly affected by the pandemic. A total of 1.2 million people work in our hospitality industry, and every individual has been affected either by closures, reduced hours, or exposure to illness.
Over 800,000 bartenders, servers, hosts, and kitchen staff in Canada have experienced financial hardship, a decrease or complete loss in wages, and temporary lay-offs. The road to recovery lies ahead, and this holiday season, Corby Spirit and Wine is committed to supporting Canada’s bar and restaurant sector. To help industry professionals hit hard by the pandemic restrictions, the company is donating $100,000 to the Bartenders Benevolent Fund (BBF) this holiday season.
To raise a glass to the good folks behind the bar who need our support right now, we’ve put together a list of four festive cocktails by The Corby BEAT team — made using pantry staples — that you can add to your holiday must-try list.
If you’re looking for even more inspiration, plus more ways to help this holiday season, check out A Toast from Coast to Coast, a new coffee table book created by Corby — filled with over 100 cocktail recipes and stories from Canadian bars and restaurants. All proceeds from the sales of the book will go to the BBF and the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association.
Designed by Toronto-based Claire Freel, this three-ingredient cocktail is elegant and ideal for cozy nights by the fire (be it real or digital). An avid globetrotter, Freel discovered her passion for the beverage industry while living in the Australian state of Tasmania and working at a distillery in Hobart.
From there, she went on to work at breweries, wineries, and distilleries in Canada and overseas before pursuing her post-graduate studies at George Brown College in Toronto. Today, Freel’s experience, education, and passions merge in her role with Corby, further producing innovative takes on drinks like The Boulevardier.
- 1 oz. J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- 1 oz. Italian digestive bitter
Stir all ingredients over ice before pouring the mix into a rocks glass over ice.
The Glenlivet Royal
This elegantly smooth, citrusy cocktail is the creation of travel enthusiast Emma Chaleil, and it’s the perfect way to ring in the new year. Based in Montreal, she kickstarted her career as a Graduate Wine Ambassador with Pernod Ricard, a position that allowed her to travel and gain an understanding of the challenges New World Wines are faced with.
Developing expertise in the spirit and wine realm, Chaleil has gone on to become Corby’s Luxury Portfolio Consultant for Eastern Canada. She represents products like those found in this delicious cocktail, plus the cognacs of Martell House, Perrier-Jouët Champagne, and Monkey47 Gin.
- 0.5 oz. lemon juice
- 1 oz. honey water
- 1 oz. The Glenlivet 12 Year Old
- Mumm Napa Brut Prestige
To get your honey water, mix half water and half honey together in a cup, warm it up, and then stir it until the honey melts.
Combine the lemon juice, honey water, and The Glenlivet 12 Year Old in a wine glass. Top it all off with Mumm Napa Brut Prestige, et voilà.
Peppermint Mocha White Russian
If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly cocktail recipe to try, let it be this delight by Toronto beverage expert Danielle Yoon. She’s spent a wealth of her time exploring new cultures through flavours and appreciating the diversity of spirits, wine, food, and people, even starting up her own cocktail consulting agency along the way.
Over the past three years, Yoon has been educating people and sharing her love of quality spirits in her role with Corby. Her passion for social and environmental progress coupled with an exacting palate has been the driving force behind most of her career — and the creation of cocktails like this.
- 1 oz. Absolut Vodka
- 1 oz. Kahlua Mint Mocha
- 3 oz. milk of your choice (non-dairy option)
- Candy canes
Using a zip-top bag and a rolling pin (or a mortar and a pestle), crush the candy cane into a coarse powder. Wet the rim of a rocks glass and roll it in the crushed candy cane. Add Kahlua and vodka to the glass, then fill with ice. Top the mix with milk and stir it with a candy cane.
For another equally tasty variation, try this recipe with Kahlua Salted Caramel and roll the rim of the glass in a caramel sundae topping.
The Gingerbread Old-Fashioned
The holidays are synonymous with gingerbread cookies, but instead of letting them dry out in your cupboard, you can now use them as part of a great-tasting drink. Crafted by Colin MacDougall, a beverage pro from Nova Scotia now based in BC, this cocktail is a real treat for the senses.
Travel aficionado MacDougall has been telling the story of the beverage industry for almost two decades, exploring the nuances of world spirits. He’s worked as a bar manager for prestigious restaurants, won awards for his cocktail menus, and now educates others as a specialist for Corby. Make the following cocktail to discover his talents for yourself.
- 4 Stash Decaf Pumpkin Spice Teabags (optional)
- 1 cup brown sugar (optional)
- 1 cup water (optional)
- 2 oz. Jameson Stout Edition or Jameson Black Barrel
- Gingerbread cookies
- 4 dash Angostura bitters
For the syrup (optional), brew hot tea in one cup of water using four holiday-flavoured teabags (like Decaf Pumpkin Spice) and let it steep for 15 minutes. Next, remove the teabags and add one cup of brown sugar, stirring to fully dissolve the sugar. Let the mix cool down to room temperature before storing it in a jar in the fridge for up to one week.
To get your gingerbread-infused whiskey, leave dried out gingerbread cookies or broken bits of a gingerbread house steeping in whiskey in a sealed mason jar for one day. Strain the whiskey over a fine cheesecloth afterwards to get the particulates out. (Don’t worry if the mix is still cloudy in appearance.)
Pour your gingerbread-infused Jameson Stout Edition or Jameson Black Barrel over ice in a rocks glass, adding half an ounce of gingerbread syrup or a regular rich syrup (optional). Angostura bitters should be mixed in next and stirred well. For the finishing touch, garnish with a traditional orange zest and cherry or serve with a gingerbread cookie.