Ladies Choice cocktail

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of presenting a session about food at YoUnlimited,  a local women’s conference here in Victoria.

The day was filled with presentations and panels all touching on various aspects of mind/body/soul, and was a great opportunity to connect with other women I normally only get to see in passing, or wave at via social media.

The evening prior, Carolyne Taylor, YoUnlimited’s founder, teamed up with the Seaside Times to run a Women in Business Mixer to help celebrate their most recent issue highlighting some of the great work that women entrepreneurs on the Penninsula are doing!  I have to say, Sidney is bursting with business activity — certainly not the sleepy little town I remember growing up here!

I was asked to create a cocktail to commemorate the weekend.  One of the ingredients I was hoping to showcase were the herbal teas produced by Lily Fawn, of Earth’s Herbal.   I’ve used her Root Beer tea in this cocktail, and it really does taste like root beer — all the herbs, spices and roots I put in my own root beer!  (I may be using it in my next root-beer batch – I’ll let you know it goes!).

I’ve called this cocktail “Ladies Choice”, in part to recognize the women building community here in Victoria, BUT also because I went with Forty Creek whisky as the base spirit — a whisky that distiller John Hall has said he created with his wife’s palate in mind. I also added ginger syrup, and a splash of Fernet Branca.

Ladies Choice

created by Janice Mansfield, 2012

  • 45 ml Forty Creek whisky
  • 20 ml ginger syrup
  • 20 ml grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 5 ml Fernet Branca
  • 60 ml Earth’s Herbal Root Beer tea
  • 2-3 dashed grapefruit bitters

Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker.  Strain and serve straight up in a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a grapefruit twist and a piece of candied ginger.





The Kentucky Cloud

It’s 5 degrees C here, not 25 C, but for some reason, I’ve had summer-ey cocktails on the brain.  Thus, when a recent challenge arose to do something with bourbon, my mind naturally turned to sours … and fizzes (after all, a fizz is nothing more than a sour with bubbles!).  And from there, I began hankering for Ramos Gin Fizzes, but wanting something a little more seasonal than a fine gin, I started wondering why something similar hasn’t been done with whisky.

Bourbon and rye for some reason, tend to not dominate the summer drinks lists.  Yes, bourbon makes and appearance in the julep, but on the whole, it does not have that cross-seasonal appeal that rum commands.

In a different round of season-bending set of pairings, I’ve been looking for more winter-ey ways of using falernum (most recently in the Spiced Citrus Punch), and am pleasantly surprised with how nicely it plays with the spicier, warmer notes in both bourbon and rye whisky.

I’ve used Makers 46 for this drink — a spicier, slightly more belly-warming version of the classic Makers Mark, feeling the spicy notes in the falernum would be a nice complement.  The falernum has the spicy, hot notes from the ginger, and brightness from the lime, with deep allspice notes which round out the the cinnamon and nutmeg the Makers 46 gets from the French oak staves.  I immediately began thinking of ways of transforming this into something ethereal, and imagined using the same methods used to create the dreamy texture of the Ramos Gin Fizz (sans the dairy) … thus, the Kentucky Cloud was born!

A couple of notes:
  • I debated whether to stick with the classic addition of hydrosol, and opted to include rosewater — many of the flavour notes in bakalva (honey, nuts, cinnamon, allspice) are already present in Makers 46, so while it may seem an unusual addition to the mix, it provides an intriguing backnote.
  • If you are concerned about the use of unpasteurized egg white, you can use the bulk egg whites from the carton – about 3T worth.
  • Thanks to Shawn Soole of Clives Classic Lounge for the tip on using the ISI for the Ramos Gin Fizz!
The Kentucky Cloud
(created by Janice Mansfield, 2012)
  • 1 ½ oz. Makers 46
  • 1/2 oz. falernum
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 dashes rosewater
  • 1 egg white

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, shake with ice to chill and achieve dilution and begin to emulsify the egg white.

Add mixture to a in ISI dispenser.  charge with 1-2 chargers.  OR continue to shake in the cocktail shaker in classic Ramos Gin Fizz style (if you have guns like Ron Burgandy 😉 ).   Dispense into a highball glass.  Top with chilled ginger ale, stirring with a barspoon as you add the ginger ale.

Serve with a straw.

Spiced Citrus Punch

Spiced Citrus Whisky Punch

(Janice Mansfield, 2011)

One glass A whole bunch of punch!
½ oz. falernum 225 ml falernum
½ oz. ginger syrup 225 ml ginger syrup
½ oz. freshly squeezed lemon 225 ml freshly squeezed lemon
½ oz. freshly squeezed orange 225 ml freshly squeezed orange
1 ½ oz. Rye whisky 450 ml Rye whisky
2 oz. brewed and cooled green or white tea 900 ml brewed and cooled green or white tea

Method:  One glass:
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into a chilled glass, garnish with an orange twist or an orange wedge studded with cloves.

Method: A whole bunch of punch!
Use a container or punch bow with at least 3 litre capacity.  Combine all ingredients and stir well to combine.  Add ice.  If you like your punch a little less strong (or a little more spicy!) add 1-2 cans (355 ml) of ginger beer and keep chilled with the biggest block of ice you can fit in the bowl.


The Snowday, a delicious warm cocktail

Today was a snowday here for most folks on the Wet Coast!  To be fair, it only takes a few cms to throw folks into a tailspin, but there are about 15 cms stacked up in the back yard!

What to do on a snow day, but sit back, enjoy some slow food, and have a nice hot toddy to warm up!


I recently made up a huge batch of dark marmalade, and have been craving that delicious sweet/citrus/bitter flavour lately.  I thought it would be translate quite well into a hot toddy concoction….

This is a slight nod to a Boulevardier — the bourbon version of the Negroni.  The orange notes of the marmalade riff quite nicely off the bourbon — I used Bulleit here, but Makers Mark would also work well with the citrus.  A little bit of Campari provides the final herbal/bitter edge to stop this toddy from being too cloying.

The SnowDay Hot Toddy

Janice Mansfield, 2011

  • 1 barspoon orange marmalade (dark and bitter preferably)

Dissolve the marmalade in a splash of hot water in a mug.  Add:

  • 1 oz. Bulleit bourbon (If you like your toddy a bit stronger, increase this to 1.5 oz.)
  • 1 generous barspoon Campari

Top with 3-4 oz. water

Garnish with an orange twist.  If you’re feeling creative, garnish this with an orange twist that goes on for miles and swirls around in the mug!!!

The Jack Rose: an oldie but a goodie!

We had an impromtu photo sho

ot here today at the Shiba Shack!  One of the local media outlets covering Art of the Cocktail came by take some shots of at-home cocktail making, and get the scoop on what prompts someone to enter a cocktail competition instead of leaving it to the pros! 


With a request for something with some camera appeal (think pink!), I decided to whip up an oldie but a goodie: the Jack Rose.  Its a simple sour, with a twist.  Applejack as the base spirit (a decidedly prohibition-era spirit!), made sour with lemon juice, and sweetened with grendadine.  With homemade grenadine, the end-result is a soft Hello Kitty pink, rather than the vibrant pink those accustomed to pre-mixes might be expecting — its definintely tastier!

The Jack Rose

  • 2 oz. Applejack (I used Laird's bonded, If you don't have Applejack try Calvados)
  • 0.75 oz. lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. grenadine

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass