17 Dec 2014

sips // cranberry bourbon shrub

Cranberry Bourbon Shrub

Hello internet friends! How are you faring these days? Since exams are over, I've been all too happy to get back to my cocktail making hobby. Today we're making...a shrub!

A nice one! That's not too expensive!
I have seen many a tempting sounding recipe for shrub-based cocktails floating around pinterest and liqurious and decided I simply must try one myself.

Cranberry Bourbon Shrub
Cranberry Bourbon Shrub
Cranberry Bourbon Shrub

Shrubs, which are also known as drinking vinegars, were a fixture in the 18th and 19th centuries before refrigeration was a thing people were into. They were also made by sailors to help illegally smuggle alcohol, because sailors were crafty and knew how to get away with a fair bit of crime (in that vein, we can also thank them for vodka gimlets.) Shrubs are made by preserving fruits and berries in vinegar and adding alcohol or sodas for festive sipping. The vinegar helps keep bacteria at bay and lets you enjoy fruits long past their seasons. I thought I would go with a cranberry shrub, since it's the holidays and all.  

Cranberry Bourbon Shrub

One would think that something called a "drinking" vinegar would be unpleasant on the palette but this was surprisingly sweet and only slightly acidic. It makes a nice after dinner beverage. 
As I was short on time, I used the hot method: boiling and straining my ingredients. I think with a bit more time I will try the cold method, which involves berries and sugar sitting overnight and then mixing with the vinegar. The Kitchn has a good post with instructions on the cold press method. Both ways are dead easy and a great way to use up left over fruit or berries that have gone a bit wibbly. This would make a nice gift for the holidays (because it's cheap and easy for those of us who are, uh, in full time school and not currently holding high paying jobs, or whatever.) Cheers! 

Cranberry Bourbon Shrub

Cranberry Bourbon Shrub
makes one drink
3/4 oz shrub mixture (see below)
1.5 oz bourbon 
up to 1 oz club soda 
orange for garnish

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add shrub and bourbon, stir together with a bar spoon until combined. Top with club soda. Add orange peel for garnish, rubbing the peel around the rim of the glass. Add more or less shrub to taste. Enjoy! 

Cranberry Shrub 
makes about a cup 
1 cup vinegar (apple cider, white wine, etc)
1-1 1/2  cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup sugar 

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan on medium heat. Stir constantly until cranberries begin to burst. Strain mixture through mesh strainer or cheese cloth. Let cool completely before putting in fridge. Add to sodas or mix with booze. Store in fridge for up to three weeks. Enjoy! 

Cranberry Bourbon Shrub

PS Full Shrubbery Sketch

14 Dec 2014

internet stuff for your reading enjoyment

Happy Sunday lovely friends. How were your weekends? I spent mine off in the woods visiting my aunt and uncle and baking Christmas cookies. The remainder of Sunday is being allocated to lying in bed reading and most likely ordering take-out. If you're on the same agenda, here is some stuff from around the internet for your reading enjoyment, including this song which has sustained me through the grey mornings and early sunsets this past week. Enjoy!

15 fresh starts for a new year, which if you're following along, is only 17 days away (!!)

this spiced averna toddy sounds ah-mazing

some excellent books to add to your winter reading list

the broke girls guide to holiday saving 

Toronto brunch fanatic? Try one of 25 new brunch spots in Toronto

a tipping tip

the life cycle of shopping 

Very Important Winter Activity alert: DJ Skating Nights 

Happy holiday-ifying! xo
photo by me 

12 Dec 2014

Pie Therapy

Tiffany and I have an unofficial tradition of indulging each other in something I am going to call Pie Therapy. We go to The Lakeview, a restaurant in the very hip west end that is open 24 hours a day, wherein we eat pie and kvetch about our lives. Since we both started midwifery school some two plus years ago, we have spent countless late nights at The Lakeview, just the two of us in a booth, eating pie and figuring out our shit. After every trip, long absence and big/emotional life event, we send the inevitable text: "Lakeview?" and get our pie therapy on. 

Pie Therapy always begins the same way. I order coffee. Tiffany orders a root beer. We ask what their pies are that day, and then pretend like we're going to think about what we want for a few more minutes. They always have apple pie, and two other varieties they rotate through pretty steadily. Coconut cream, fig and brown sugar, key lime, peanut butter fudge. I almost always get apple, as that is the best pie to eat while pointing a spoon at an invisible but Very Important Point you're making. Tiffany is much more daring and often orders whatever sounds good that day. 

One of the important aspects of pie therapy is that the pie itself is not really all that good. If we wanted unbearably good pie we would go to Wanda's or Mabel's or even Phipps. Instead, we choose The Lakeview. We got to there because it's always cheap, always open and they always leave you alone. This is important for lots of reasons. One of which is that I happen to posses a variety of particularly strange laughs. I'm fairly certain I used to laugh normally, but that phase of my life is over. Now I laugh like church bells in desperate need of repair whose volume knob has been thrown away. It's entirely unbecoming (but also quite funny). Thankfully, at The Lakeview you can sit undisturbed for hours at a time, in a squeaky vinyl booth, laughing away and nobody comes over to give you even so much as a whisper of stink eye. 

You need that public privacy to talk about pie therapy kinds of things. Things that you know people don't actually care about, but are worth discussing out loud for a small audience of sympathetic friends, simply because it makes you feel better. Like midwifery school, weird summer jobs, unbearably stupid things boys do, strange things that happen to your body, re-hashing of text conversations, all of the embarrassing things that happen to us during placement, and why, bless their hearts, our mothers drive us crazy. Things that unleash the entire spectrum of my particularly strange laughs. We always leave the restaurant with bellies aching from pie and laughter, and in my case anyway, feeling like the next day won't be completely and entirely horrid. 
Three cheers for pie therapy. 
Until next time, xo

11 Dec 2014

Toronto // winter at the beach

Hi blog friends! How do you fare on this crazy snowy day? I'm just popping with a few sorta really pretty photos. Before Toronto got hit with it's first serious snow storm, Tiffany and I went to the beach. Regrettably we did not get hot chocolates to accompany us on our very cold walk. However it did leave more free hands for photos, which was handy since the sky put on a rather grandiose display for us and the few brave joggers out at sunset. Thanks, nature!

Toronto is pretty cool, you guys. 
Keep it classy xo