Drinks

The Reign in Spain: five bottles of garnacha to get you through what’s lef... The Reign in Spain: five bottles of garnacha to get you through what’s left of winter

Grenache, or garnacha, is like the white T-shirt of the wine world: low-priced, beloved, and it goes with everything By David Lawrason Garnacha is one of the world’s most undervalued and prolific grapes. The low-acid, high-sugar, fruity variety can suffer from over-sweetness and brash mocha flavours in the hands of producers looking to maximize its… Read more »

Top Five: the best speakeasies in Toronto Top Five: the best speakeasies in Toronto

These nightspots nail the trendy Boardwalk Empire vibe 1 At the Parkdale gin mill Geraldine, pictured above, the retro cocktails are a safe choice, but the absinthe fountain is more fun: the emerald elixir is available straight or in a slushie with fig syrup, crushed ice, bitters and fresh mint. 1564 Queen St. W., 647-352-8815.

Sparkling Personality: the best bubblies under 50 bucks a bottle Sparkling Personality: the best bubblies under 50 bucks a bottle

There’s nothing like French bubbly for swank luxury, but for everyday enjoyment, these international labels deliver great fizz By David Lawrason A midnight coupe on New Year’s Eve is champagne’s shining moment. But bubbles can bring levity and refreshment to more mundane occasions, like toasting the end of a bad day at the office. There’s… Read more »

A Bottle for All Reasons: because every holiday event goes better with wine A Bottle for All Reasons: because every holiday event goes better with wine

The Holiday Meal Buena Vista 2011 Pinot Noir | $24.95 | 91 points  The riot of scents and flavours in a traditional holiday meal can drown out complicated and refined wines. A tart, full-flavoured pinot noir is the answer. Buena Vista has enough edge to slake, plus the flavour wattage and textural weight to drink… Read more »

Small-Batch Wonders: gorgeous red wines that won’t break the bank Small-Batch Wonders: gorgeous red wines that won’t break the bank

This party season, skip the show-offy bottles for reds with a little more nuance (and a lot less sticker shock) By David Lawrason As the holidays loom, Vintages stocks pricier wines to give and (hopefully) receive. It’s easy to impress with a $100-plus cult label from Bordeaux, Burgundy, ­Tuscany or the Napa Valley, and the… Read more »

In Absinthia: where to sip the strong stuff in Toronto In Absinthia: where to sip the strong stuff in Toronto

The legendary wormwood liquor of green fairies, severed ears and global bans is in the midst of a revival. Here, three excellent places to sip the strong stuff. Photograph by Dave Gillespie Geraldine 564 Queen St. W., 647-352-8815 Stepping into the 20s-themed Parkdale parlour is a like taking Owen Wilson’s Midnight in Paris taxi to… Read more »

Cocktails On Fire: the city’s best flaming beverages Cocktails On Fire: the city’s best flaming beverages

There’s nothing subtle about the flaming accents on our new favourite sippers Photographs by Vicky Lam Sugar and Spice At Jake Valianes’s ­Prohibition-themed Linwood Essentials, the drink to get is Matilda the Unholy One, which combines ­cardamom-infused mezcal and Peat ­Monster scotch with Cherry Heering, chocolate liqueur, pine­apple and lime. $16. 930 Queen St. W.,… Read more »

How do you make a hi-tech cocktail? How do you make a hi-tech cocktail?

At Rush Lane, the Queen West snack bar and experimental cocktail laboratory, Jordan Bushell and Simon Hooper craft complex beverages using medical lab equipment. A clinical approach, they say, makes more consistent drinks: “the fewer variables we have, the better,” says Hooper. Last week, they came up with the Playa Riviera, a strong, smoky drink that tastes a bit like… Read more »

A new Parkdale brewpub is on its way A new Parkdale brewpub is on its way

Soon every Toronto neighbourhood will have a resto-retail-brewery complex to call its own. The next up is Duggan’s Brewery Parkdale, a reincarnation of the microbrewery that used to occupy the Beer Academy space at the corner of Richmond and Victoria streets. Canadian Beer News reports that the new west-end outpost will be a restaurant, retail… Read more »

The Great White Way: five refreshing Mediterranean wines The Great White Way: five refreshing Mediterranean wines

Ultra-refreshing wines from the sun-baked eastern Mediterranean By David Lawrason Toronto’s current love affair with cuisine from Lebanon, Greece and other eastern ­Mediterranean nations gave me reason to revisit the bottles from that region. I’ve found them underwhelming in the past, but his time around, I was swept up by their vibrant ­flavours. The high… Read more »

Two new brewpubs are coming to Liberty Village Two new brewpubs are coming to Liberty Village

Residents of the condo community are really into beer, or at least that’s what a couple of new businesses are banking on. Earlier this month, Alberta’s Big Rock Brewery announced that it was opening a “brewpub restaurant” in the former Artscape building at 60 Atlantic Avenue. That’s just a few doors down from the planned… Read more »

What it’s like to spend Saturday night in a nightclub made entirely of ice What it’s like to spend Saturday night in a nightclub made entirely of ice

I’m thrilled to see an actual washroom when I arrive at Chill Ice House. This allays my very real fear of having to pee on a hand-carved ice toilet. It’s Saturday night and I’ve just showed up for my pre-booked time slot, which will run from 11:15 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Chill Ice House charges… Read more »

Bellwoods Brewery set to expand by summer 2015 Bellwoods Brewery set to expand by summer 2015

The team behind the Ossington brewery has announced plans to open a new production facility and restaurant at Dupont and Dovercourt, in the slightly derelict-looking glass warehouse that’s been haunting the corner since forever. The additional space will let Bellwoods brew its most popular labels in much bigger batches, leaving more time and tank space… Read more »

Introducing: Rush Lane, a modernist snack bar and booze laboratory on Queen West Introducing: Rush Lane, a modernist snack bar and booze laboratory on Queen West

Name: Rush Lane Contact Info: 563 Queen St. W., 416-551-7540, rushlaneto.com , facebook.com, @rushlaneco Neighbourhood: Queen West Previously: Hot Wings Grill and Rib House Owners: Jordan Bushell, Alexis Arrowsmith, Simon Hooper, Doug Twigger and Brett Klyszejko Chef: Chris Scott, the former chef de cuisine at Bero in Leslieville The Drinks: Rush Lane is owned and operated by a pack… Read more »

Ontario craft beer is booming Ontario craft beer is booming

$50,200,000 —Total LCBO sales of Ontario craft beer in 2013-2014, according to a recent five-year trend report. The number represents a 220-per-cent increase over sales for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, which totaled $15.7 million.