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Club soda vs Tonic water, what’s the difference?

Every year when summer rolls around my love of a good cocktail is rekindled.

Liquor and cocktails aren’t normally my thing. It’s not my preferred liquid to liquor ratio, it hits me harder, and for a long time buying it felt cost-prohibitive. But still, every summer I enjoy a handful of caesars and the occasional gin and tonic.

As my passion for all beverages alcoholic deepens it’s also expanded to include some of the more peripheral cocktail necessities. Bitters, vermouth, maraschino cherries – they’ve all caught my interest.

Then, last week, a friend asked me a question that stumped me.

“What’s the difference between club soda and tonic water?”

I couldn’t answer him. But now I can.

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Beer, Spirits, Wine

Drinks to show your pride


June is, among other things, Pride month. It’s a time when LGBT people can come together to celebrate how far they’ve come and how much still needs to be done.

As a queer person I look forward to Pride every year. I love having an annual chance to celebrate this part of my heritage, to take stock of how I can help make things better for my LGBT siblings, and (let’s face it) to party!

Here are some ways to celebrate Pride this year – in drink form of course. If you need me I’ll be in Toronto’s gay village, enjoying the festivities.

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Beer, Spirits, Wine

One-Year Blogaversary



January 24th was the first anniversary of the first post here on Palate Practice. That feels like a big accomplishment! I decided to celebrate it in a truly fitting way (parade, day of honour – the usual), but as I got out my bunting materials and bucket of ticker tape I thought, “you know, this doesn’t feel right”.


So instead of having yet another public festival celebrating my accomplishments, I started thinking of all the things I learned and experienced over the course of this first year of blogging.


A short-list of lessons learned

  • I don’t know nearly as much about wine and beer as I thought I did
  • I’m ok with that
  • I’m excited to learn more
  • I have so many more ideas than I thought I would
  • I can do it! I can keep this up for an entire year!


And that last lessons brings me to the second part of this post – help me learn more about you! Below is a link to a short survey (shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes) where I hope you’ll share with me your thoughts on the blog, what you like or (gasp!) don’t like, and what you want to read about in the future. Because one thing is certain: I’m not leaving this blog any time soon.

Take my survey!


And, in case I forget to say it later, THANK YOU. Thank you (yes, you) for your support, for your comments, and for reading anything I’ve written here! I can’t wait to keep writing, and I hope you’ll keep reading.

finding nemo stay

Beer, Spirits, Wine

Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2015 Placeholder


Merry Christmas, all! I’ll be taking a few days off to spend time with my family, eat (a lot!) of great food and, yes, partake in some festive beverages.


If you celebrate this particular holiday I hope you have a joyous and festive one. If you don’t I hope you have a wonderful 25th of the month.


In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to read or do, let me recommend the following posts:


Enjoy and see you in 2016!



Entering the World of Bourbon

This past weekend I went home for a little pre-holiday visit and was pleasantly surprised with a small bourbon tasting!


My parents have recently been doing some travelling through the American South and have fallen in love with the Bourbon trail. And in true souvenir-finding form they keep bringing home Bourbon. Since my family takes any available opportunity to enjoy and explore new drinks, we decided to have a mini-tasting. My mom, stepdad, brother (Nick) and I all gathered at the dining room table on a random Monday night to try three different bourbons.


What is Bourbon?

For the uninitiated, bourbon is a type of whisky made from corn. It’s made in a bunch of different places, most notably the US. There are US laws that govern what can technically be called bourbon, which, conveniently enough, Canada also abides by.


Bourbon can only be called bourbon if it meets these terms:

  • Made in the US
  • Made from at least 51% corn
  • Aged in new, charred oak barrels
  • Distilled to no more than 160 proof
  • Put in the barrel to age at no more than 125 proof
  • Bottled at more than 80 proof



Not a bad bunch, really.


Here are the three bourbons we tasted, and my impressions of each.


Angels Envy

This guy was the mildest of the bunch. It had a fruity, almost tropical nose. The flavour was a bit like candy or marshmallow which, to be honest, blew my mind a little, and it had a gentle flavour, almost creamy. My stepdad said it was very soft, and we all thought that maybe this was because this bourbon is finished in port wine barrels – surprise! That’s probably why I liked it so much.


Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whisky

This guy had a much more earthy nose. Nick smelled some caramel and my mom and I both smelled a little smoke. Nick and I agreed that it had a nice bite and a smooth finish. This one ended up being Nick’s favourite, which is great for him because it’s the only one currently available at the LCBO.


Rowan’s Creek

This one had a lighter nose, more similar to the Angel’s Envy than the Bulleit. The flavour was bracingly spicy and peppery, but I was a little disappointed when it ended harshly. Nick and I talked about how, like the Bulleit, the Rowan’s Creek had a nice bite but then finished just as hard, which neither of us liked.  






Everyone enjoyed this impromptu tasting.


Final Thoughts

On first blush I liked the Angel’s Envy best. I did also like the Bulleit – it’s stronger, slightly harsher flavour would be nice if my mood was right. I would really like to try the Rowan’s Creek with a bit of water (I had all three bourbons neat) added to see if it opens up and finishes more smoothly, since that was the main reason I didn’t love it.


bourbon tasting

You’d smile this big if you were enjoying this bourbon too!