There’s been a lot of debate lately in the world of Toronto alcohol enthusiasts over the merit of cocktails.
Toronto lifestyle publications like the Grid and blogTO seem to have amped up their cocktail coverage, and stories abound in the dailies about the complex new places that mixology is taking Toronto’s drinkers.
The mixed-libation trend seems even to have spilled over (pun!) into the world of beer.
Beer cocktails seem to have reached a new level of prominence and you can even find beer cocktail recipes from certified cicerone, beerologist, and blogger, Mirella Amato in the current issue of the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine.
[Semi-related sidenote: Back in March the beer cocktail debate really began to rage (as much as online writing about beer can rage...) when Andy Crouch, author of BeerScribe.com called for "Death to Beer Cocktails."
Ezra Johnson-Greenough, founder of The New School craft beer commentary blog then responded with a somewhat-less-than-subtly-titled "Andy Crouch is a Big Fat Idiot" and various other beer bloggers joined the fray on both sides.
The fracas ultimately culminated in Toronto's own Stephen Beaumont calling for cooler heads to prevail by noting the "Futility of Either/Or Thinking."]
In short, things seem to be getting pretty crazy in the world of Toronto libations in general and, as Christine Sismondo summed up in an excellent HuffPo article this week about how exactly we got here, the “mixology” craziness has even reached a point where “today’s professional craft cocktail makers create syrups from scratch and hand-carve ice to achieve specific levels of coldness suited to the level of dilution required.”
Uh, alright then.
Toronto bartenders, it seems, are going to great and weird lengths to one-up each other with the most original concotions and some of them seem to bringing all the annoyingly pretentious aspects of foodie-ism to my favourite past-time; namely, getting drunk.
In response, much like extreme foodie-ism has ushered-in a reactionary resurgence of simpler fare, it feels like drinkers have dug in their heels even more: The Bar Towel sect has likely continued to recoil from the elaborate world of myriad angostura bitters with the comfort of a simple pint of craft beer and the unitiated drinker, scared off by $16 cocktails, has probaly resigned him or herself to a–yechh–rum and coke.
Now I’m not going to pit beer against liquor–a pointless act akin to making sunshine fight hugs–and I’m certainly not going to wade into the beer cocktail debate–these bloggers can get down right nasty.
Instead I’m just going to offer a simple cocktail recipe that I think will satisfy all sides here: the beer drinker, the liquor fan, those who think beer and booze should be kept separate and those who like to combine them.
Just follow these simple steps to drinking bliss, as I do a few times a week.
- Walk to the place in your home where you keep your liquor. Find something well-made with a complexity of flavours you appreciate. I tend to favour single malt scotches, but whatever you prefer will also work.
- Now go to your fridge. If you’re like me, your fridge will be full of an assortment of delicious and interesting craft beers. Select one that you feel like drinking.
- Go to the place where you keep your glassware. Select a beer glass, as well as a short tumbler or low-ball glass.
- Pour the alcohol you have chosen into the tumbler, making sure you’ve got plenty in there. If you want, add some ice.
- Now pour the beer into the beer glass.
- Set the beer glass next to the tumbler, preferably close to a television that’s broadcasting a sporting event or an HBO show with sufficient violence/nudity.
- Occasionally drink from each glass.
- Repeat as necessary.
You could always pour yourself a bourbon, too. Just for good measure.