by Aviva Cohen
Last year I went to an event called Art Of The Cocktail that was put on by Toronto Life, it featured five cocktail stations and food pairings. Not every cocktail was great but I kept drinking the few I did like and got so tipsy I even ate non-kosher meat; I continue to only bring shame to my family name.
Made With Love promised a similar evening but with even more booze. My reaction was, in the elegant words of Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there.”
Made With Love is a North American cocktail competition; two winners would be picked from the Toronto competition to head to the finals in Montreal.
Most of this review is written Memento style. I took a lot of photos to help me remember. While I went home in fine mind, I woke up hung over, and in the evening I had huge red circles under my eyes. But that’s what I get for drinking 17 cocktails.
Yes, 17 cocktails, it’s no urban myth; it’s a true story that happened to me. So let me regale you with tales of the night I drank 17 cocktails so that one day you may tell your children and they will tell theirs.
Let me start of by saying that I did not have a great strategy, we got there early before the food was served and drank fast and loose. Always have a strategy and always stick to the game plan.
The first competitor that caught my eye was Adrian Stein from Boots & Bourbon with their Coffee & Donuts. At the end of the day while more sophisticated and creative cocktails won my heart I did think this was a very cleverly executed concept. Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Rum infused with cocoa bean/cinnamon with a donut infused with the very same.
Next my pal suggested we check out The Geraldine and spoiler alert, this is who both of us gave our dog tags (each person was given a dog tag to give their fave) to.
Geraldine had a pretty table, high concept, fantastic tasting drank and a bartender with a great moustache / tie combo.
The drink was called The Sea Of Trees; the concept was to take the drinker on a tasting journey back to AOKIGAHARA, a forest in Japan. The drink had, along with mushrooms and fennel, cedar dust. It really was a perfect drink.
Some other choice drinks included Jamaican Trade by Home Of The Brave, another boozey coffee that did it better than Boots & Bourbon’s offering. Points to their bartender for sporting a great pointy villain moustache. Fonda Lola had a light summer time drink with their Campari Sunrise; Whippoorwill Restaurant (which may or may not take their name from a Magnolia Electric Co. song, once can only hope) had a Dark Horse rye paired with candied gingers and the ever exclusive Toronto Temperance Society had a black pepper infused gin (this was the last drink of the night, it was so strong I took one sip, I regret not being able to drink the whole thing).
Two Black Sheep had a rhum drink that used a gadget to smoke hickory; unfortunately it kind of ended up tasting like burnt marshmallows. But the low point of the night was for sure Marche with their Three Course Cocktail. Real Talk: it’s the Marche.
When I got to the point that I couldn’t stand up straight anymore, we hovered around the kitchen doors: mini Rueben sliders, fancy fries, veg tacos, it was a plenty delicious spread. Every time the doors swung open it was like what I imagine Christmas morning to feel like. If you spent every Christmas morning pretty wasted.
The winner of the event was announced past 10 P.M. with the People’s Choice award going to the much-deserved Michael Mooney of Geraldine and the Judges Choice going to Jay Meyers of Hudson Kitchen.
Good luck to both of them in the finals and Made With Love, this one’s for you: