The Chilly Maple Manhattan – a Toast to Surviving Winter

Chilly Maple ManhattanSeems like its been a tough winter on the streets of Manhattan. Every time we’d turn on the news it seemed like everyone was digging themselves out from another foot of snow.

Let’s raise our glasses to surviving winter and forgetting about gloves, coats and mitts until next year. It’s time to gather ourselves up and head for the patios, rooftops and cafes to share good times. So, in honour of spring here’s a variation on the classic Manhattan with just enough maple syrup to sweeten things up.


  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark
  • 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup
  • dash or two of Angostura bitters

Combine the bourbon, sweet vermouth, maple syrup and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake several times, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a cherry on a pick for a garnish.

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The Irish Manhattan

Irish Manhattan

Slàinte, and have a great St. Paddy’s Day!


  • 1 1/2 oz Jameson
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 can Guinness
  • Maraschino cherry

Combine the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters to a mixing glass.  Fill the glass 2/3 of the way full with ice. Stir for15-20 seconds, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Pour a can of Guinness into a tall glass and allow to settle. Gently scoop all the light foam from the top of the Guinness and place it on top of the drink. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

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A Madtini Night Out at the LCBO Classic Cocktails 1960s Soirée

LCBO Classic Cocktails 1960s Soirée

Thursday was a very special night out for Madtini. The LCBO hosted a 1960s-inspired party at The Carlu in downtown Toronto to celebrate the launch of their new Classic Cocktails website and mobile site.

The evening’s star attraction was Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, who gave a short talk on classic 60s style.

The folks attending the event were arriving in style as well (heck I even wore a tie). Take a look at some of the 60s-inspired fashion on The Hip and Urban Girl’s Guide and It’s All Style to Me blogs.

(and hey, for a fun drinking game, do a shot every time you read the word ‘classic’ in this blog post)

The website features recipes for 24 classic cocktails, appetizers, product information and a flipbook version of the Classic Cocktails magazine. Do yourself a favour and pick up the magazine the next time you visit an LCBO store.

First off Madtini has to thank Anita Clarke of  I Want I Got for hooking us up with 2 invites for this great party.

The soirée took place in the classic round room at The Carlu. The Carlu alongwith the Design Exchange are two of the best examples of Art Moderne style architecture in Toronto, and was a perfect venue for this celebration of classic cocktail culture.

The event featured live musical of the the circle of fifths, great food, and two bar set-ups serving expertly crafted classic cocktails. The bartenders were making drinks with flare, juggling the bottles and garnishing with style.

Cocktail Time

It was now time for the most difficult part of the evening, choosing which cocktail to try first. After some deliberation we went with an ice-cold Grey Goose Vodka Martini as our first choice.

We moved on to the Negroni next made with Broker’s Premium Gin, Campari and Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth. If I can pass along one party tip, it would be don’t lean over to ask the bartender a question while he’s making the orange flambe garnish. Eyebrows are awesome and it’s nice to leave the party with both of them.

For our third and final drink of the evening our server recommended a Rusty Nail, made with Johnnie Walker Black Scotch and Drambuie.

The classic cocktails served this evening were a welcome change from the sweet drinks that made up most of our Christmas and New Year’s drinks. Which of these 24 classic cocktails are your favourite?

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Dexter’s Back! Four Drinks fit for any Crime Scene

Dexter Cocktails

Everyone’s favorite serial killer of serial killers Dexter Morgan is back for a 5th season tonight. The crew here at Madtini Intoxicology Labs have an ongoing argument about whether we should officially count the silliness of Season 3 featuring Jimmy Smits. Nothing personal Mr. Smits but wow, just wow that story arc was, well just lameness incarnate. Moving on, Season four ended in an ending or all endings, we didn’t see it coming and we admit to sitting in utter shock staring at our TV in disbelief. Now, how will Dexter cope with all that has happened. The preview trailer has us drooling in anticipation.

In honor of the Season Five premiere, the crew at the Labs present you with four great drink mixes fit for any crime scene. Click the links below for the ingredients and preparation instructions. I must go supervise the Madtini interns as they clean up the fake blood splatter in the kitchen… errrr, I mean Labs.

Cheers to all Madtini and Dexter fans.

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To the Groundhog… oh yes, and World Peace

Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks

Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks

Happy Groundhog Day, but it looks we’ll have to keep the snow shovels handy as Punxsutawney Phil, Shubenacadie Sam and Wiarton Willie all saw their shadow predicting six more weeks of winter – and six more weeks of indoor drinking.

How the heck did we become reliant on psychic rodents to predict the emergence of spring in the first place? Well, let’s blame the Germans, Groundhog Day has its origins in ancient European weather lore, where they used a badger or sacred(?) bear as the predictor instead of the lowly groundhog. The holiday began anew in North America as a Pennsylvanian German custom in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the movie Groundhog Day, TV weatherman Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) travels reluctantly to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the Groundhog Day celebrations. What he didn’t know was he was cursed to be repeat the same day over and over again. In one attempt to get close to his producer Rita (played by Andie McDowell) he joins her in a bar and shares her favorite drink, a sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist. After repeating this scene over and over, Phil uses the information from previous days conversation to his advantage in the following scene

Phil: Yeah I’ll have a sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist.
Rita: I’ll have the same, thats my favorite drink.
Phil: Mine too, it reminds me of Rome…in the evening when the sun lights the buildings.
Rita: what should we drink to?
Phil: I always drink to world peace.
Rita: World peace…

Sweet Vermouth is a white wine with brandy and infused with herbs, flowers, fruit peels and other plants that give it a unique flavour. It is a popular apertif in Europe, but it not often used straight in North America.

The Groundhog Day Vermouth Cocktail
– Double Old-Fashion cocktail glass filled with ice
– Pour sweet vermouth over ice
– Stir and twist lemon peel over the glass
– Serve with a cocktail straw and lemon twist as garnish

Cheers to the Groundhog and World Peace!

The Classic Manhattan – #Madtini Featured Cocktail for Week 2 of Mad Men Season 3

Preparing to make the Classic Manhattan

Preparing to make the Classic Manhattan

Mmmmm the Manhattan…. or maybe I should call it the Madhattan… is one of my favourite cocktails. Perhaps not as trendy currently as the Martini or the Cosmopolitan it’s still a classic and was a favourite in the 1960s.

Depending on where you find your recipe the Manhattan is made with whiskey, rye whiskey, Canadian whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, bourbon or even scotch. Personally, I’ve always favoured the Manhattan as made with Jack Daniels (Tennessee whiskey) and that’s what @RandyMatheson and I are making tonight. The classic Manhattan – whiskey, sweet vermouth and a maraschino cherry to garnish. Yum!

Served in a cocktail (martini) glass it’s sure to bring you right into the spirit of the Sterling-Cooper offices ;)

Classic Manhattan

2.5 ounces whiskey
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1 dash Angostura® Bitters
1 Maraschino cherry

In a mixing glass combine whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters with 2 or 3 ice cubes stirring gently so as not to bruise the spirits and cloud the mixture.

Strain into a chilled cocktail (martini) glass and garnish with a Maraschino cherry and a curl of orange peel if desired.