Spring in Toronto generally means stepping into our small outdoor spaces, sweeping away remnants of the previous summer’s container gardens, and scouring the blanket of grit accumulated over the last six months. Cold, damp April showers blending the old dirt with new growth and fresh topsoil is where we looked to for our inspiration in this spring cocktail shoot. Only problem is that our balconies aren’t really strewn with decaying flora right now. All we have are uncharacteristically organized stacks of empty planters and patio furniture.
The rule of thumb for planting In Ontario is to wait until the May 2-4 weekend when we’re at last safe from overnight frosts and other plant-killing weather, so new buds aren’t exactly popping their heads up on our balconies just yet. Thankfully, Jen has a green thumb and has started many of her tomatoes, peppers and herbs from seed inside. A quick trip to Young Jong Fruit & Flower Market, along the popular strip of Avenue and Davenport florists, also helps to fill in the gaps for new and dried spring flowers. The added assistance of my cocktail-loving, and skilled set-designer friend Justine helped to put the finishing touches (and rain drops) on the scene.
I wanted to make something refreshing and clear to mimic the spring rain pouring down on us and I really wanted to come up with something using white whisky because it’s a clear spirit that’s enjoyed in its infancy. We may be waiting a month or so before we see spring mature into summer but at least we don’t have to wait years for it to happen like whisky-makers do for their product. White whisky, also known as white dog and perhaps even more unflatteringly, moonshine, doesn’t contain any of the aged-characteristics that whisky-drinkers love. It doesn’t actually taste much like whisky, and depending on the brand, it could more closely resemble the flavour profile of tequila.
Where I would normally never want a lime near my whisky, the rules change for its un-aged counterpart. Though I hate to do it when we’re suffering through a lime crisis, I think this spirit needs the sourness of lime. An old-fashioned daiquiri, subbing out the white rum for white whisky makes great use of a spirit better known for being distilled into bathtubs in the backwoods of Tennessee. This cocktail tastes of spring and would do well with the addition of some herbal flourishes like thyme, lemon verbena, lavender, or mint. The herbal notes will have to wait for summer though, giving time for the plants to grow sturdy and robust before I cut them down for happy hour.
The White Rye Daiquiri
makes 1 cocktail
In a cocktail shaker combine the lime juice, simple syrup, Cointreau, white whisky, and egg white. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds to ensure the egg white is fully incorporated, then fill the shaker with ice and shake again for 20 seconds or until the outside of the shaker feels very cold. Strain and serve in a chilled cocktail glass with additional ice.