Who doesn’t love a good cocktail? Toronto is full of bar’s serving up complicated and Instagram worthy cocktails that I’m always happy to order. Thing is, when I finally pick my poison off the drink menu, it magically appears completed before me and I have no idea what went into making it. I love hosting parties and our house even has its own little bar, but apart from serving up some super simple drinks (I’m talking rum and cokes, gin and tonics) and maybe some sangria, I have no idea what I’m doing.
That’s where Eating Through TO comes in (http://www.eatingthroughto.com) Mackenzie Putici, sommelier extraordinaire (and Toronto foodie) guides an intimate class through preparing four classic cocktails with a twist. Mackenzie has experience working in various Toronto restaurants and hot spots and he really knows his stuff. He presented each cocktail with a brief history and background and suggestions on how to make each drink our own. He came fully equipped with shakers, strainers (so THAT’S what that thing is!) and bitters galore. If you’re new to slinging drinks, little bottles of bitters and flavours that you add one drop at a time or jars boozy cherries may seem a little intimidating but we were encouraged to experiment and have a little fun with it.
We started off simple by making a Kir Royale. It’s basically sparkling wine with cassis and gave us a little confidence to get going. It was light and delicious and helped break the ice with the group. We then moved onto the Old Fashioned, usually not my favorite drink, as I prefer my drinks on the sweeter side, I was given the suggestion to add a little maple syrup. I added a capful along with a few drops of cranberry bitters. After muddling the sugar and adding lots of ice as instructed, I took a little sip. It was great and a far cry from the Old Fashioned’s I’ve become accustomed to. I usually can’t finish them if one’s been given to me, but with the added flavours, I created one that a little more fit for me!
The last two drinks required shakers. Rum Punch (now you’re talking!) and a somewhat complicated drink with the attention grabbing name of ‘Corpse Reviver #2’ were on the menu (includes gin, Cointreau and lillet). Mackenzie had great tips and tricks I hadn’t heard before. One fun one was to ‘smack’ mint in your palm before adding it into a drink, this helps release the flavour. If you try it at home, smell the mint after you’ve given it a few smacks and you’ll see the scent of it really gets released this way. Another tip was to use fresh lemons or limes when making cocktails that called for it, apparently the squeeze bottles you can buy or lime or lemon juice will never taste as good. We squeezed some juice out of fresh limes over our shakers filled with rum punch.
Now, I said I have a bar at home and have a shaker and a few other bar tools but mainly for ‘display’. I didn’t know how to use the strainer and Mackenzie showed us how to apply it all with one hand, he also instructed the class on the proper way to prepare a drink in the shaker. I feel like I walked away from this class with a little more confidence and would be able to make these drinks at home on my own. I also really enjoyed all the extra ingredients one normally wouldn't have on hand, made me feel like I should add a few more items to my bar at home.
I took my husband along and it made for a really fun date night. Eating Through TO provides snacks throughout to help pace yourself a little bit but as always, use your discretion when it comes to drinking as everyone is different! I made my cocktails a little less boozy since I knew I would be having 4. If drinking isn’t your thing, the company also provides what look like really fun foodie tours! I’m talking Pizza Crawls, China Town Dumpling Crawls and Pastry Crawls (that sounds up my alley). The team is really fantastic and attentive and I would love to try out more of their tours. For a fun date night, girls night out or maybe even a cool start to bachelorette party, check them out online! (Insta handle and Twitter handle both @EatingThroughTO ) Thanks for the great evening! Until next time ! x
Hey! I'm Sarah! A 30 something living in downtown Toronto with a great guy and an OK dog. I love seeing what my city has to offer and try to hit up as many fun events or attractions as I can! I haven't slept since 2004.