Notch 8 – Dice Game Old Fashioned

4-4-5 Dice Game Old Fashioned Cocktail by Notch 8

4-4-5 Old Fashioned

The second version of the “Dice Game” old Fashioned was a 4-4-5; Dewar’s, Masala Chai and Clingstone peach. I previously didn’t know that Dewar’s is actually a Whiskey and Scotch blend, which made the first sip a little surprising and a little too strong for my tastes. However, I did absolutely love the Clingstone Peach bitters. It added a perfect sweet after taste to the very strong taste of a the Dewar’s, with the pairing of a different Rye this bitters would be divine. Overall I will be back to try the Notch 8 “Dice Game”, with the potential for 218 different combinations, the Old Fashioned here will never be a dull cocktail.

4-4-5 Old Fashioned        $15

Dewar’s

Masala Chai

Clingstone Peach Bitters

 

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Notch 8 – Old Fashioned Dice Game

Notch 8 Dice game box

Old Fashioned “Dice Game” box

This next spot I went to twice in one week but had an old fashioned both times. Although they shared the same name both drinks were very different. Notch 8 can be found in the lobby of The Hotel Vancouver. Catering to their more comfortable clientele, they became known for a one of a kind “Dice game”. When a guest asks about the dice game they are given a small leather box with a list of 6 liquors, 6 syrups and 6 bitters and 3 die. The dice are red, blue and white, each corresponding to a type of liquor, syrup and bitters on the list. All varieties are the same price but you never know what you are going to get. Also during happy hour if all 3 die add up to 8, you get your drink for free! (All the more reason to check it out).

The first version I tried was a 3-6-6 which means a Rittenhouse Rye, Scottish Spiced, Cascade Celery Old Fashioned. Out of the 2 versions this one was the closest to a traditional Old Fashioned. I had a hard time trying to find the other 2 flavours in the drink, it is not explained what a Scottish spice is but possibly it added to the smokey flavour. I cant recall ever trying Celery Bitters so I’m just assuming that it would taste similar to celery salt, however, I couldn’t taste any Celery flavour. I realize I am making it sound a little weak, but in reality all the flavours worked out beautifully together. If you can rig the dice to land on a 3-6-6 I would recommend this cocktail.

3-6-6 Old Fashioned               $15

Rittenhouse Rye

Scottish Spice Syrup

Cascade Celery Bitters

Garnish with an orange peel and cherry

3-6-6 old fashioned cocktail by notch 8

3-6-6  Old Fashioned

The Diamond (con’t) – The Phoenix

The Phoenix Cocktail by The Diamond

The Phoenix 

To avoid long rambling posts, I am splitting the last post about The Diamond into 2 different posts to talk about the 2 separate drinks. This next drink was one chosen by my boyfriend, who was more than happy to help with my “research”. He is a HUGE fan of the Old Fashioned, meaning he is strongly inclined to gravitate towards the strongest drinks on any menu, the type of drinks that instantly warm you up. And his love for that type of cocktail is what drew him to this next drink, since we had just been stuck outside in the rain on a chilly March evening.

Being a cocktail lover and new blogger I am always curious to learn about new ingredients, but very rarely am I stumped by an ingredients list. However, 50% of the (4) ingredients making up this drink were totally new to me. First the Cochhi Rosa, which I found out, is a wine aperitif. This is a type of wine served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. These wines are typically drier and less sweet than normal wines. This particular brand of aperitif is an Italian brand, with only 2 varieties; the Americano (the most popular) and the Rosa, which has a slightly pink tone to it and is bitterer than the Americano. The next mystery ingredient is Amontillado. A dry sherry wine from the Montilla region in Spain, it can also be used as an aperitif. As for the other ingredients on the list I was very familiar with the Smoky Scotch and American Whiskey.

I have not often come across a cocktail made entirely out of different types of liquor. Except for some of the classics, that only tend to have 2 -3 types of liquor. 4 sounded very intimidating to me, and the taste definitely lived up to my expectations, but I did find it very enjoyable. I would also recommend this drink but those who typically drink “lighter” types of alcohol would probably not be a huge fan of this cocktail. As for the rest of you…  be warned…it’s strong one, don’t operate heavy machinery after drinking!

The Phoenix    $13

Cocchi Rosa

Smoky Scotch

Amontillado

American Whiskey

 

The Diamond- The Sun Also Rises

The California Chrome Cocktail by The Diamond

The California Chrome 

After a short break I am back to take on the difficult task of sampling cocktails (all in the name of research). This next bar is one I found last week while wandering around Vancouver. It is located in the downtown area called Gastown overlooking Maple Tree square, slightly hidden upstairs only distinguishable by the large sign in the window. Known for their delicious cocktails they definitely did not disappoint.

While here I had the chance to try 2 of their homemade cocktails, the first was called the California Chrome. With a name like that you would think it to be very light and easy to drink, on the menu it is under the heading “refreshing”. Refreshing is a very appropriate word for it but not in the sense that you could slug it back in one sip. This is the perfect drink for the person that is a little bit sweet…little bit sour…and comes with a BIG kick. The California Chrome is made up of Bourbon (hence the kick), Poached Peach (sweet), Amaretto (sweet) and grapefruit (sour). I am a bourbon drinker so that caught my eye immediately, I also enjoy a grapefruit in the morning and peaches are a favourite fruit of mine, so I obviously had to try this drink. It’s almost like a late night breakfast in a cup! The variety of flavours mixed together perfectly, the amaretto, although not being a favourite liquor of mine, played a key role in blending the often over-powering flavour of the bourbon in with the rest of the drink. Definitely would recommend.

The California Chrome      $12

Bourbon

Poached Peach

Amaretto

Grapefruit

Garnish with a Grapefruit slice

Bar Begonia – The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises Cocktail Bar Begonia

The Sun Also Rises

I seem to be drawn to cocktails with citrus wheels decorating their tops, and they all have somehow been from different countries! First Italian (Mandrin Mule), French (The Sun Also Rises) and now Mexican! The particular one came In the form of the Cadillac Margarita- And with a name like that you know it’s going to be deadly.

A few years ago a Mexican restaurant pandemic hit Toronto, the Mas Playas restaurant group was one of the companies who played a large part in bringing a little piece of Mexico to Toronto. Playa Cabana Hacienda is one of 6 restaurants in the Mas Playas family (and conveniently right down the street from Bar Begonia). Each one of the Mas Playas restaurants is a little different, with it’s own life and flair. From the outside Hacienda looks like one of the Annex homes it is surrounded by, but once you walk inside you are bombarded with the smell of delicious tortillas, coronas on every table and tequila induced laughter. 99% of the house cocktails are tequila based so be warned and carefully prepare yourself before diving in…

Stopping by on a Friday meant the only open seats were sitting at the bar, which was perfect so I could get a one-on-one with the bartender. He recommended the Cadillac Margarita so I took his word, who would know better than the man behind the magic. The Cadillac Margarita definitely lived up to its name, so don’t let the size fool you and sip slowly! No need to mess around with a true classic, a good margarita is a thing of beauty and can be hard to find. Look no further. The Cadillac Margarita was simple and scrumptious.

Cadillac Margarita       $15 /gls or pitcher for $80

Herradura Reposado

Grand Marnier

Agave

Fresh squeezed lime juice

Served in a salted glass

 

 

The Parlour – Mandrin Mule

Mandrin Mule Cocktail

Mandrin Mule Cocktail

The Parlour Cocktail barAs a fairly new resident to Vancouver, I am still trying to discover the best spots to satisfy my cocktail cravings. The Parlour was one of the first restaurant/bars I ever went to in Vancouver and I have loved it ever since – food, ambiance and most importantly DRINKS are all fantastic. So it seemed fitting to make The Parlour my first post.

If you are hitting up The Parlour to eat I recommend everything, you can never go wrong with Italian food. As for drinks wine is naturally the first that comes to mind when at an Italian restaurant. Yes, wine wonderful and almost like water to me, but when I want to switch it up, with an after dinner digestif of sorts The Parlour has no shortage of amazing cocktails, my favourite being the Mandrin Mule.

Fellas if you want to impress the ladies I wouldn’t recommend ordering this. It is delicious but not the not masculine of drinks (note the sparkling copper cup). But ladies…this is my go-to drink and a must try, very light with the perfect amount of kick. Enjoy!

Mandrin Mule: $13

Absolut Mandrin Vodka

Fentimans Ginger Beer

Fresh lime juice

Bitters

Garnish with a lime wheel

Playa Cabana Hacienda – Cadillac Margarita

The Cadillac Margarita Cocktail

Cadillac Margarita

I seem to be drawn to cocktails with citrus wheels decorating their tops, and they all have somehow been from different countries! First Italian (Mandrin Mule), French (The Sun Also Rises) and now Mexican! This particular one came In the form of the Cadillac Margarita- And with a name like that you know it’s going to be deadly.

A few years ago a Mexican restaurant pandemic hit Toronto, the Mas Playas restaurant group was one of the companies who played a large part in bringing a little piece of Mexico to Toronto. Playa Cabana Hacienda is one of 6 restaurants in the Mas Playas family (and conveniently right down the street from Bar Begonia). Each one of the Mas Playas restaurants is a little different, with it’s own life and flair. From the outside Hacienda looks like one of the Annex homes it is surrounded by, but once you walk inside you are bombarded with the smell of delicious tortillas, coronas on every table and tequila induced laughter. 99% of the house cocktails are tequila based so be warned and carefully prepare yourself before diving in…

Stopping by on a Friday meant the only open seats were sitting at the bar, which was perfect so I could get a one-on-one with the bartender. He recommended the Cadillac Margarita so I took his word, who would know better than the man behind the magic. The Cadillac Margarita definitely lived up to its name, so don’t let the size fool you and sip slowly! No need to mess around with a true classic, a good margarita is a thing of beauty and can be hard to find. Look no further. The Cadillac Margarita was simple and scrumptious.

Cadillac Margarita       $15 /gls or pitcher for $80

Herradura Reposado

Grand Marnier

Agave

Fresh squeezed lime juice

Serve with salted glass