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Toronto drinkin’: signature holiday cocktails

I went to a holiday party the other weekend and the hosts served a signature cocktail.

A signature cocktail adds a lot of class to a get together, especially when that party is BYOB. It’s a nice touch that shows the host was thinking about their guests. It adds class to a simple party. These signature cocktails are also fun to make and will fill you with pride when friends and family ask for seconds. Here are some simple, easy cocktails you can make for your holiday parties this weekend:

Mulled Wine: Why serve plain old wine when you could serve a holiday delicacy like mulled wine. The beverage warms the soul from the inside out! It’s ten times better than regular sangria. Combine one bottle of red wine, 1/4 cup of brandy, 1/4 cup of honey, one orange, two stars of anise, eight cloves and two cinnamon sticks.

Juniper Champaign: Champaign is nice, but it can sometimes have a bit of a funny aftertaste. Juniper syrup is a lovely addition to any cocktail. Simply mix together juniper berries, orange zest, cardamom, and half a cup of water and half a cup of sugar. Boil and let cool. Add a squirt of juniper syrup and a fresh pine sprig for a festive, celebratory beverage.

Cranberry Mule: This twist on a classic is perfect for afternoon cocktail. Combine equal parts cranberry juice and vodka. Add ginger beer, lime juice, and some cranberries to garnish. This drink is sweet, but packs a punch.

Orange gin martini: Not every drink has to have cranberry. Try adding some one and a half ounces of blood orange juice, half an ounce of Campari, a dash of vermouth, and one and a half ounces of gin. Mis together in a cocktail shaker with some ice and pour in a martini glass with a sugared rim.

Coconut warmer: Sure, you can serve the typical hot chocolate or eggnog, but why not create a new concoction? Mix an even amount of coconut and whole milk together with two to three teaspoons of hot chocolate powder (or homemade chocolate syrup). Heat up and stir in one and a half ounces of rum. Top with coconut whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

What are your favourite signature cocktails? Let us know in the comments below! 

5 fall ciders to try from Toronto Cider Festival

If you are looking for a sweeter alternative to beer — and aren’t feeling a glass of wine —  a tasty cider could be the perfect fall solution

Ciders are normally made with fermented apples, but other fruits can be used as well.  With harvest season just around the corner, delicious and fresh ciders are available throughout Ontario. To find the best cider in the province, I attended Cider Fest on Saturday at Dundas Square and sampled some of the amazing featured beverages offered.

Here are my five favourite ciders:

  1. Spirit Tree Cider

Spirit Tree Cider was my favourite out of the ciders I tried. There were two different samples — a lavender cider and a hoppy cider. The cider with a hint of lavender was made with local apples. The floral taste the lavender added was surprisingly pleasant, making it one of the most creative ciders at the festival. The hoppy cider was also a rarity, with only a few hoppy ciders available. The hops was subtle yet apparent, and added a kick to the cider. The hoppy cider from Spirit Tree is the perfect beverage for someone who loves beer, but is in the mood for a cider that isn’t as sweet. At the cidery located in Caledon, Spirit Tree has 12 different ciders available, a bakery, and offers tours.

  1. Shiny Apple Cider

My second favourite was the Shiny Apple Cider, made in Niagara on the Lake. This cider is gluten-free and vegan, using potato rinds instead of pork rinds during processing. Shiny Apple Cider is seven per cent alcohol, higher than many other ciders. It had a crisp taste, and it tasted like it had very little preservatives. It was sweet, but there was distinct quality in the taste. Shiny Apple Cider has two cider options — Shiny Apple Cider and Shiny Red Apple Cider — and is made by Small Talk Vineyard Wines.

  1. Angry Orchard

This sweet and light cider is from Walden, New York in the Hudson Valley, was not as sweet as Shiny Apple Cider and had a light bubbly taste. It still retained an apple taste though, but the bubbly quality made it seem more like a sweet wine than a beer.  Angry Orchard has over 10 ciders and provides a variety of seasonal tastes, ranging from adding cinnamon to ginger while retaining the true apple taste of the region. Definitely try Angry Orchard a cider.

  1. Thornbury Village Cider

The Thornbury Village Cider is sour and has a closer taste to a champagne. It is a perfect option for someone who loves wine, but is looking to branch out into other taste palettes. The cider is also highly carbonated, which varies in different ciders. The beverage is from Thornbury, and also boasts being gluten-free and vegan. The cidery is located along the shores of Georgian Bay and is a beautiful site for a tour.

  1. Forbidden Dry Cider

The final contender for best five ciders is the Forbidden Dry Cider, a beverage made by the Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery. This cider is very similar to wine, and is typical for dry ciders. If you like tart drinks then Forbidden is for you. The winery is located near Meaford, Ont., which is close to Georgian Bay.

The weather may be getting cooler, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy patio season with a good cold brew. Throw on a jacket and a light scarf and enjoy the changing of the leaves. For those who don’t enjoy hoppy beers or tart wines, a cider is the perfect option. These are just five recommendations, but there are dozens to try, each with different flavours and fruit notes. Be a bit adventurous and try these local ciders this fall.

 

What is your favourite cider? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.