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The Rick Mercer Report Stops by The Gentlemen’s Expo

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Hey! Still feeling the aftermath of The Gentlemen’s Expo 2016? We don’t blame you… It’s been a few months now and we still can’t get over how awesome of a weekend it really was.

Luckily, our friends over at The Rick Mercer Report helped us relive the excitement last night on their new episode which features Rick at our annual event.

Check out the video clip below and see what it means to #BeBetter!

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10 Things You Need To Know About Attending #TGE2016

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Here we are friends. The Gentlemen’s Expo is on and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring it to you. Here are 10 things you need to know about #TGE2016

10) We Welcome Gentlewomen or Gentlemen:

Sure, our show name has ‘Gentlemen’ in it, but our event is for everyone. #TGE2016 is open to anyone who enjoys great experiences, watching engaging speakers and acquiring knowledge.  Seriously, if you like great food, whisky/beer/wine/spirits, sports, tech, style, fashion… then #TGE2016 is for you.

9) Tickets At The Door:

Yes, tickets will be available at door! We are in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. Tickets are $45 for General Admission and $65 for VIP tickets. Remember the VIP tickets come with an incredible gift bag that features a wide array of products. For real, the VIP bag has so much stuff in it we needed to write a whole blog about it. Find it HERE.

8) Hours & Location:

  • Thursday, Nov 10 – 4pm to 11pm. Last call at 10:30pm.
  • Friday, Nov 11 – 4pm to 11pm. Last call at 10:30pm.
  • Saturday, Nov 12 – Noon to 11pm. Last call at 10:30pm.

Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building is at 222 Bremner Blvd. The entrance is right across the street from Steam Whistle Brewing, beside the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.

7) See Our Speakers:

We have a stellar line up of speakers that include *takes deep breath* George St-Pierre hosted by Showdown Joe, Jason Grilli of the Toronto Blue Jays, Leafs Legends Wendel Clark & Doug Gilmour, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, Ewan Currie and Ryan Gullen of The Sheepdogs, Ian Thornley of Big Wreck hosted by Jeff Woods, Gary Roberts, Mark DeMontis of Courage Hockey, Illusionist Robert Testa, and Hypnotist Chris Jones.

6) So Many Attractions:

There is so much to do once you get inside the MTCC. HERE is the full list of attractions. We recommend that you do a ‘once around’ and see what attractions catch your eye. Talk to the people working there. See if you need to book time with them. See if there is an additional cost. Ask them about the experience. We recommend the Bag Jump in support of TenFed where you plunge yourself from a 30 ft platform. It’s nuts… in a good way.

5) Food and Food and Food:

Our #TGE2016 Culinary Programme is out of this world. So many Top Local Chefs, headlined by the Openly Discussion and the Underground Chef Co Battle that sees Chef Ted Reader vs Chef Jeff Dueck, hosted by Joe Friday and Mike Ward. Check the DAILY SCHEDULES for the entire listing of On-The-Line Culinary events!

4) Tokens & Cash

Tokens are the currency on site for all alcohol. Tokens can be purchased from Token Booths. You’ll be able to use Debit/Credit/Cash at pretty much every other vendor. VIP Ticket purchasers get extra tokens, Just sayin’.

  • 1 Token = $1. (Tokens are sold in 10 packs)

3) Share Away!:

Tag your photos, your tweets, your posts, your snaps with #TGE2016 and #BeBetter

2) Directions:

  • TTC

Yonge-University-Spadina Line: Exit at Union station and proceed west on Front Street to the North Building , where you can access the Skywalk to enter the South Building. Or exit to Union train station and follow the Skywalk to either the North or South Building.

Bloor-Danthforth Line: When travelling west or east, you will need to transfer to the Yonge-University-Spadina Subway Line at either Bloor-Yonge Station, St. George Station or Spadina Station. Then continue until you reach Union Station and exit the subway. From Union station you can proceed west on Front Street to the North Building , where you can access the Skywalk to enter the South Building. Or exit to Union train station and follow the Skywalk to either the North or South Building.

Scarborough RT Line: Travel west to Kennedy Station. From Kennedy Station transfer to the Bloor-Yonge Line. Continue on the Bloor-Yonge Line until your reach Union Station and exit the subway. From Union station you can proceed west on Front Street to the North Building , where you can access the Skywalk to enter the South Building. Or exit to Union train station and follow the Skywalk to either the North or South Building.

Sheppard Line: Travel west to the Sheppard-Yonge Station and transfer to the Yonge-University Spadina Line. Travel south until you reach Union Station and exit the subway. From Union station you can proceed west on Front Street to the North Building , where you can access the Skywalk to enter the South Building. Or exit to Union train station and follow the Skywalk to either the North or South Building.

  • GO Transit

From Union station you can proceed west on Front Street to the North Building , where you can access the Skywalk to enter the South Building. Or exit to Union train station and follow the Skywalk to either the North or South Building.

  • UP Express

From the Union Station UP platform, exit and proceed west through the Skywalk corridor. Take the elevator (or staircase) to street level, Lower Simcoe Street. Proceed west on Front Street, and arrive at the MTCC North Building main entrance.

  • Driving Directions & Parking: 

Driving directions can be found HERE. There is pay parking available on site.  Even though we are posting info about driving, we strongly encourage you to take public transit. You see, there is a wide array of spirits, beer and such available on site and we are strongly against drinking & driving.

1) #BeBetter

The entire event revolves around this #BeBetter message. Soak it in. Share your thoughts with friends, with us. There are plenty of things to do and see at #TGE2016 but let’s never lose site of the ultimate goals: To be better human beings.

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#TGE2016 Culinary Programme: Full Schedule Announced!

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Boom. Our #TGE2016 Culinary Schedule is set. Hold on to your spatulas, cuz this is big! Get ready to experience the biggest, baddest and most epic Chef Battle that Toronto has ever seen! The team over at Underground Chef Co. have been hard at work organizing an amazing line-up of Chefs that hail from around the GTA to create a special edition Chef Battle, exclusively as part of The Gentlemen’s Expo Culinary Programme.

Underground Chef Co., challenges Chefs to create several dishes from secret ingredients in under one-hour and provide audience goers with a real-time experience of life in the kitchen. It’s hot, it’s loud, and it’s messy but this on-stage event will leave you in shock and awe once you see what these Chef’s come up with. Don’t miss it! Here’s the #TGE2016 Culinary Schedule:

Thursday, November 10th:

  • 6pm – Patrick McMurray
  • 7pm – Tonia Wilson
  • 8pm – Afrim Pristine
  • 9pm – Albert Ponzo

Friday, November 11th:

  • 6pm – Rob Rainford
  • 7pm – Lindsey Greflund
  • 8pm – Ted Reader
  • 9pm – Matt Jones

Saturday, November 12th:

  • 3:30pm – Jamie Johnston
  • 4:30pm – Rob Rainford
  • 6pm – Openly Discussion: The Openly Discussion is a culinary roundtable featuring Matt Jones, Ted Reader, Jeff Dueck, Krista Faist, Kevin Brauch, Rob Rainford, Amanda Ray, Marcus Mariathas, and surprise guests!
  • 7:30pm – UCC Battle: Ted Reader vs Jeff Dueck. Hosted by Joe Friday & Mike Ward!

Learn more about the Underground Chef Battles on their website or by checking out this vid:

Want to find out more about the Chefs being featured in the Openly Discussion Panel? Get to know each and every one of them below:

Chef Rob Rainford

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Rob is a Canadian chef, author of Rob Rainford’s Born to Grill (published May 8, 2012 by Appetite by Random House) and former host of Licence to Grill (LTG) on Food Network Canada, Discovery Home in the U.S. and Asian Food Channel across Asia. The format of the show involves Rainford hosting a get-together at his home for one reason or another, and preparing meals on his grills for the occasion. The different “occasions” provide the impetus for the food choices, and allow Rob the opportunity to demonstrate different techniques.

Krista Faist

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Krista is the owner of Foodism Toronto, the first international outpost of London England’s highly successful magazine Foodism. A Toronto native, she crossed the pond four years ago and worked with Foodism’s publisher Square Up Media for the majority of that time. She returned in late 2015 after with the Foodism brand with tow. The website and weekly newsletter launched in November 2015 with the first print issue landing in September 2016.

A lover of cats, hater of the term ‘cat lady’, endless curator of Spotify playlists and often called out for saying things a bit strange thanks to her her time in the UK, Krista is now back in Toronto discovering (read: eating and drinking) her way through the city, all in the name of work. of course.

Kevin Brauch

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Kevin Brauch was the host of the show The Thirsty Traveler on the Fine Living Network (originally on the Food Network), MegaWorld on Discovery Channel Canada, and Superstar Chef Challenge on Food Network Canada. He also served as the floor reporter for Iron Chef America (on both the American and Canadian Food Networks). He was also the host the Food Network Canada program CheF*Off.

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Brauch worked as a bartender for seven years early in his career while working his way through the radio and television program at Ryerson University.

Brauch worked for CFNY radio in Toronto (FM102) from 1988 to 1990. He began his television career on TVOKids in 1994. He received the Canadian Gemini award in 1998 for “Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series” (Stuff “Triathon”), in 1999 for “Best Host in a Lifestyle or Performing Arts Program or Series” (Canadian Gardening III) and also in 2005 for “Best Host in a Lifestyle/Practical Information or Performing Arts Program or Series” (The Thirsty Traveler). Brauch appeared as a guest on NBC’s Tonight Show hosted by Jay Leno, taped on the afternoon of Friday, March 17, 2006.

In the Cora v. Miranda episode of Iron Chef America (2010), it was revealed that Kevin and host Alton Brown were Kentucky colonels. This appointment comes with the title of Colonel and so he could be addressed as Honorable Kevin Brauch or Colonel Kevin Brauch

Chef Amanda Ray

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Amanda Ray has worked in some of the swankest restaurants in the city. After graduating from George Brown’s culinary programme she worked at Auberge du Pommier before taking on the role as a sous chef at Canoe. Following, Amanda was able to live her dream by studying rustic Provencal cuisine in France. Now she’s the chef de cuisine at Biff’s Bistro, another Oliver & Bonacini establishment and a longstanding favourite amongst Bay Street brokers and discerning foodies alike

Mentored by Corporate Executive Chef Anthony Walsh, she continued to hone her culinary skills. After a promotion to Sous Chef in 2006, she traveled to Crillon le Brave in Provence, France to expand her knowledge and technical skills alongside Chef Philippe Monti, cooking rustic Provencal cuisine. With all of Amanda’s experience and successes, she keeps her culinary mantra sweet and simple: “I strongly believe that cooking is simplest way of saying ‘I love you’.”

 

Chef Jeff Dueck

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Jeff is a creative professional chef, inspired by the simple pleasures of the table. Good food, family and friends.  Able to meet any professional challenge head on with confidence.  Able to successfully combine creative culinary concepts, with prudent financial management of the kitchen.

Chef Ted Reader

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Known as the ‘Godfather of the Grill’, his charm and fearless culinary spirit has led Ted to becoming an award-winning chef, author, food-entertainer and most recently professor of Modern Culinary Applications Innovations at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College.

Ted’s culinary adventure began at George Brown College Chef School in Toronto which to date has paved the way for his dynamic career. He cooks for all walks of life from swanky corporate affairs; to backyard BBQ parties and summer festivals.

Alexandra Feswick

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Born and raised in Dundas, Ontario, Alexandra Feswick formed a connection with food and nature from a very young age.  Graduating from the University of Guelph with a BA in Sociology, she eagerly began training at George Brown Chef School in 2005.  Feswick landed an apprenticeship at the Ancaster Mill for five years under Chef Jeff Crump, and was educated with the belief that good food should speak for itself and that it is vital to the integrity of what you’re cooking to do it with your heart. In addition to invaluable cooking skills, she also picked up knowledge about working on a farm and the importance of high quality, fresh, seasonal ingredients – insights that continue to inspire her menus today.

After relocating to Toronto in 2010, Feswick quickly gained ranking as one of Toronto’s top chefs, working behind the line at restaurants like Brockton General and Samuel J. Moore with her loyalty to fresh, local produce served in unique and elegant ways. She remains committed to food service by actively contributing to the network of culinary leaders in Ontario, and regularly donating her time and expertise to cooking for various charitable events.  Career highlights so far include cooking at the venerable James Beard House, participating at Cook It Raw with some of the world’s top chefs, and being invited to compete in the influential Gold Medal Plates competition. In March 2014, Feswick joined forces with Corporate Executive Chef Teddy Corrado as Chef de Cuisine at The Drake Hotel, where she now has a place to call home and an ever-growing, ever-inspiring space to create – which includes an urban garden full of fresh herbs and ingredients, located in a secret alley off of Queen St. W.

Marcus Mariathas

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Marcus Mariathas came to Canada in 1993 from Sri Lanka. While studying Business & Finance at the University of Toronto, Marcus took a night job at ACE Bakery®, in the very early days when ACE® had their first bakery and store front on King Street. This serendipitous opportunity would change Marcus’ life forever. It was here that Marcus discovered his natural talent and love for baking authentic, European, artisan breads.

Over the years, Marcus studied and travelled through Europe learning everything there is to know about artisan breads, while rising to the position of Master Baker with ACE®. Today, ACE Bakery® has grown into Canada’s leading artisan bakery; the success in large part due to Marcus’ recipes, crafting exceptionally tasting and artistic breads and baked goods.

This past February, Marcus had the privilege of showcasing his bread skills, representing Team Canada, as he competed in the highly coveted Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (the equivalent of the Baking Olympics), in Paris.  2016 was the first year in history that Canada has ever qualified for the Coupe du Monde. Marcus along with Team Canada, placed 7th out of 35 competing nations.

Whisk(e)y Chef Matt Jones

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Both bartending nerd and whisk(e)y geek, Matt has been working within the beverage alcohol industry for 18 years. He has trained bartenders around the world in product knowledge and bar technique for over a decade. Also known as @Whisky_Chef, Matt continues to share his love of classic cocktails and culinary applications of whisk(e)y.

In 2010 he accepted his favourite role to date: Beam Suntory’s Whisk(e)y Ambassador to Canada and Bourbon Specialist. In this role he travels the country coast to coast preaching the gospel of Whisk(e)y. In 2016 Matt was officially highly commended by Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky as American Whiskey Ambassador of the Year, as well as World Whisky Ambassador of the Year. Matt was most recently featured on the cover of Whisky Magazine issue 138, a global publication

Last but not least… We cannot forget our great hosts of the UCC Battle: Joe Friday and Mike Ward:

Chef Joe Friday

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Chef Joe Friday was born in North Carolina, raised in Okinawa, Japan, trained in French Cuisine. His impressive culinary journey began when he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America to train in pastries and savories. At the age of 20 he was one of 10 pastry students selected globally to work in the international culinary program at Walt Disney World. Six months in, Friday’s superiors recognized great talent, and placed him on the “hot line.” There, is where Friday found his love and passion for savories and has been refining that talent ever since. Within three years time, he had worked his way up to sous-chef and had successfully moved around to various restaurants within the Disney family.

Friday was exposed to different cuisines and cooking techniques while working with influential chefs such as Chef Martin Yan (from “Yan Can Cook”) and Disney’s Executive Chef, John State. After he apprenticed in Norway and England, he returned to Japan to perfect the culinary experience of his childhood; the art of Japanese noodle making. Friday took a position at the world renowned Nobu Wakiki, Honolulu. This was a pivotal moment in Friday’s career were he understood his identity as a chef. With a love for Honolulu, he furthered his career and established himself as the sous-chef at the Hilton Hawaii Village and shortly after became the Executive Chef at Giovani’s.

Seeking tutelage from Canadian renowned Chef Jason Bangerter, Friday assisted as the chef-da-partie in the opening of Toronto’s Luma by O&B at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. In the Fall of 2011, Friday joined the team at Bar Mozza (part of the Alimento Fine Food Emporium) downtown Toronto, as executive Chef.”

Mike Ward

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Mike has had a rare and valuable mix of both successful culinary, and media careers. He began cooking at the age of 17 in Sydney, Australia and never believed he would one-day cook for Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. In early 2000 he expanded his creativity to include writing, producing and directing award winning cooking/travel/lifestyle TV series that have been seen in over 120 countries.

Mikes honest and unfiltered perspective on both the food he cooks and the food topics he talks about has seen him rapidly become a respected and influential personality across both mainstream media and social media. He writes for the Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, 24 Hours (national) and several magazines including content being featured on top online food outlets including the Today Show’s food site, Domino and Food52. Mike has combined monthly social impressions of over 350,000, including nearly 4 million views on his YouTube channel to date.

He is the former Food Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Living (Canada’s #1 food magazine) and cooks on several TV outlets including Cityline (Canada’s #1 morning show). He also regularly hosts and emcee’s leading food and culinary events including the Visa Dining series and Taste of Toronto.

He also serves as a consult to Centennial Colleges’ culinary department to develop curriculum and guest instruct industry relevant culinary courses. Mike is also involved in many charities including Dancing with Parkinsons. His personal passion remains finding solutions and working with organizations that can and are actualizing the concept of fair and accessible good quality food for people of all economic levels. Whether it be a quiet night at home teaching his two daughters how to use the “grown up” knives, in a foreign country directing a cooking series, or flying his beloved 2- seater aerobatic aircraft, Mike’s insatiable appetite for food and adventure continues to drive him to explore and create.

About #TGE2016:

The Gentlemen’s Expo is the premium event for emerging and established men’s lifestyle products, integrated consumer experiences and on-stage programming that will entertain and educate men.  It all happens November 10-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. Oh, and tickets are on sale right now. (AND YOU CAN SAVE $5 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS BY USING PROMO CODE: FIVEOFF) 

Come to #TGE2016 if you are interested in: style, tech, music, sports, cars, alcohol, grooming, sex, food, entrepreneurship, whiskey, beer, spirits, gaming, DIY, wellness, health and more.  Come to#TGE2016 if you want to see great speakers and compelling ATTRACTIONS. Come to #TGE2016 if you want to #BeBetter.

  • BUY TICKETS for Thursday, November 10th – 4pm to 11pm
  • BUY TICKETS for Friday, November 11th – 4pm to 11pm
  • BUY TICKETS for Saturday, November 12th – Noon to 11pm
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The Gentlemen’s Expo Culinary Programme

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The Gentlemen’s Expo is back and we’ve taken all of your requests over the last year and we’ve listened. This is why we are expanding the #TGE2016 Culinary Programme at the show: bringing you more food purveyors, and more incredible Chefs because after all… What kind of Gentlemen would we be if we didn’t: A – have a vested interest in cooking, and B – love to eat. Are we right?

So, here’s a heads up on what to expect at our #TGE2016 Culinary Programme. Additions will be added as we move closer to the event in November, so keep checking back because you will not be disappointed:

Patrick McMurray:

Patrick McMurray

Patrick McMurray, also known as @ShuckerPaddy to the online community, owns and operates an Irish Local – The Ceili Cottage – in Leslieville Toronto. This man is like the ‘shucking’ king of shucking oysters. You probably will never shuck as fast as he does, but you can learn by watching him, young grasshopper.

Tonia Wilson:

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Tonia Wilson owns and operates Savour Flavours and is a certified sommelier with great depth of knowledge in the world of wine and beer. If you want to learn anything about those two subjects, she is the one to teach you so make sure you check out her segment as part of #TGE2016 Culinary Programme – you won’t want to miss it!

Afrim Pristine:

Afrim Pristine

Afrim Pristine is a Maître fromager (Cheese Master) who has years of experience in affinage, a practice handed down through the family business, Cheese Boutique. He’s super charming, very funny and a long-time friend to our office so be ready to have a laugh or two when you watch him live!

Albert Ponzo:

Albert Ponzo

Albert Ponzo is a master in French cuisine classics and is an active ambassador for sustainable farming and aquaculture. He has been leading his kitchen at Le Sélect in Toronto for 10 years and you can find him online @albertponzo.

Rob Rainford:

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Celebrity Chef, Robert Rainford, is no stranger to The Gentlemen’s Expo. He is our go-to guy for anything related to backyard BBQ’ing, especially when it comes to steak (drool). Rob is a Canadian chef, author and former television host of shows that have aired on stations including Food Network Canada, Discovery Home in the United States and Asian Food Channel throughout Asia. Robert was the host of the wildly popular Food Network TV show, License to Grill (which aired in Canada, the USA, Australia, Africa and Asia).

Lindsey Greflund:

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Multi-talented Chef Lindsey Greflund is a master when it comes to making delectable pastry deserts. She is the owner of TKO Cakes and will be at our show promoting both Le Dolci and George Brown College’s culinary program. She will turn you in to the baker your grandmother always wanted you to be.  This way, the next time some goon tries to ask you “Do you even bake, bro?” you know exactly what to tell him.

Ted Reader:

Ted Reader

Ted Reader, aka: the ‘Godfather of the Grill’ will be at #TGE2016! His charm and fearless culinary spirit has led Ted to become an award-winning chef, author, food and product innovation entertainer and a professor of Modern Culinary Applications Innovations at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College. Ted has written over twenty-one cookbooks and has won such awards as Cookbook of the Year for the 2014 Single-Subject Cookbook at The Taste of Canada Food Writing Awards for Gastro Grilling.

Matt Jones:

Matt Jones

Matt Jones is a whisk(e)y Ambassador for Beam Global Canada – speaking to 25 premium Scotch, Irish, Canadian, and American whiskies. Bourbon Specialist. Coast to coast educating consumers and trade professionals on whisk(e)y with a cocktail and culinary approach.

 

This may be a good time to let you that Pie CommissionHank Daddy’s BBQ, Carbon Bar, Feast, Magic Oven, Caplansky’s, The Landing Group, Dr. Oetker and Oyster Boy are the first of many to be added as food purveyors at #TGE2016.

Hungry yet?

See you in November.

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The Debate: How To Make An Old Fashioned

Homemade Old Fashioned Cocktail

Did we get it right? Did we get it wrong?

Here’s our take on the Old Fashioned:

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Here are some wise words from our buddy (and Whisk(e)y Ambassador, Bourbon Specialist for BeamSuntory in Canada) Matt Jones: “The Old Fashioned is the quintessential cocktail. One that showcases the complexity of its base spirit, whisk(e)y, the best. Balanced with sugar, water, and accented with bitters and citrus zest, this 200+ year formula of a potent medicinal tonic was named the Whiskey Cocktail and appeared in mid-late 19th century recipe books. The 20th century ushered in the golden age of cocktails, and burst at the seams with variety, they were the modern flavoured martini’s of their day. However, sometimes you just wanted a simpler refreshment cocktail, made the Old Fashioned way.

Independent of this, in the late 19th century at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky, the bartender wanted to impress James E Pepper, heir to his grandfather’s Oscar Pepper Bourbon,  muddled an orange and cherry with bitters and sugar cube, and added a luxury of the day, carbonated water. Thus the offshoot. He called it an Old Fashioned…”

Classic or Post-Classic, the debate endures…

Here are some Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipes:

How do you like your Old Fashioned? Tell us in the comments…

The Gentlemen’s Expo is the premium event for emerging and established men’s lifestyle products, integrated consumer experiences and on-stage programming that will entertain and educate men.  It all happens November 10-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. Oh, and tickets are on sale right now. (AND YOU CAN SAVE $5 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS BY USING PROMO CODE: FIVEOFF) 

Come to #TGE2016 if you are interested in: style, tech, music, sports, cars, alcohol, grooming, sex, food, entrepreneurship, whiskey, beer, spirits, gaming, DIY, wellness, health and more.  Come to#TGE2016 if you want to see great speakers and compelling ATTRACTIONS. Come to #TGE2016 if you want to #BeBetter.

BUY TICKETS for Thursday, November 10th – 4pm to 11pm

BUY TICKETS for Friday, November 11th – 4pm to 11pm

BUY TICKETS for Saturday, November 12th – Noon to 11pm

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Appreciating Whisky like a Gentleman

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There is more to whisky than just drinking it. Capturing flavours and aromas can tell you a lot about the whisky you enjoy. Below are some steps on how to truly enjoy whisky. 

Look
The colour of the whisky can tell you a lot. Generally speaking, the darker it is the older it is. Whisky gains its colour from being in contact with the oak barrel during the aging process. 

That being said, the barrel also makes some difference. Using a barrel that has been used a few times will mean the whisky won’t turn as deep a shade as the previous batches. Or if a whisky is put into a barrel that once contained wine, it will pick up those colours along with that of the oak barrel. 

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Smell
Smell your whisky before you taste it. Don’t stick your nose into the glass but gently raise your glass up to your nose until you begin to capture the aroma.  Often the aroma you smell will be a good indication of how that whisky will taste. 

Taste
That’s right. Bring the glass up to your mouth, and taste the whisky. Taste, not drink. Make sure you coat your entire tongue and let it linger a little before you swallow.  Now think about what you have just experienced. Was it thick or thin on your palate? What flavours did you experience? Did it taste the way it smelled? And, most importantly, did you like it?

Most likely, you probably just tasted the alcohol. It may have been too intense for you to fully appreciate the whiskey. Some suggest adding water to your whisky (a little at a time) and returning to smell and then taste again.  Adding water will bring out more of the whisky’s aroma, as well as lower the alcohol level, reducing its numbing effect on the palate. 

The Label
I doubt it’s very often that you read your alcohols label (let’s be serious). But this will also help you learn more about the whisky you are enjoying. 

Whisky vs Whiskey
Denotes the origin of the whisky.  American whiskeys, like bourbon, rye and Tennessee whiskey, usually spell their whiskey with an “e”. Irish whiskeys also keep the “e”. Scotch and Canadian whiskies are spelled without the “e”.

Is “finishing” important?
Whisky spends most of their live in one cask, but then is put into a different type of cask for a short time before bottling. This is known as “finishing” which is often identified on the label. Finishing is often used with Scotch whiskies. Most scotches are initially aged in a used bourbon barrel, finishing them in a wine cask. ""

How old is it?
If there is an age noted on the label, then the whisky must be at least that old. For example, should a distillery mix 12, 15 and 18 year old barrels of whiskies, the age statement on the label can not be more than 12 years old. Remember, whisky ONLY ages in the barrel. 

What’s its strength?
All whisky must contain at least 40% alcohol by volume (ABV). Usually when its taken from the barrel, water is added to bring it down in strength to meet the strength the producer is looking to sell it at. If a whisky is bottled at the strength it comes out of the barrel at, it is referred to as Barrel Proof or Natural Cask Strength on the label. 

Is it chill-filtered?
When a whisky’s temperature is lowered (ice or cold water added) it will become hazy or cloudy, which whisky companies think is unappealing and will hurt sales. To fight this, before the whisky is bottled, they chill it and filter out the components that would make it cloudy. Those components (known as congeners) contribute to the flavour, so by removing them, the flavour is changed. Some producers’ bottle without chill-filtering, and this is what is identified and explained on the label. 

Remember whisky best expresses itself at room temperature and in the company of friends. Enjoy yourself Gents.
Please enjoy responsibly. 

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Whisky

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Whisky has a reputation. Men who drink whisky are tough, smart, and confident. They know who they are and what they like to drink. Whisky isn’t an easy drink so to enjoy it, it helps to know a bit about it.

It Begins with the Grain

Whisky is a distilled beverage made from fermented grain mash. The grain that’s chosen has the most significant impact on the flavor of the whisky. Grains commonly used include barley, malted barley, rye, and malted rye. The grain is mashed first, which means water is added; it’s often heated, and then it’s allowed to sit and ferment. Whisky fermentation often takes place in oak barrels, which can have a significant effect on the flavor of the whisky.

Whisky is Beer

To make whisky you have to make beer first. The “wash,” a technical term for beer, is then distilled two or three more times. In fact, many whiskys, including Tennessee whiskys and bourbons use hops.

Regions and Types

While there is some dispute about how many types of whisky there really are, the primary regions and types of whisky include:

  • Scotch Whisky – AKA, Scotch, this whisky has a smoky flavor due to the fact that it’s made from barley that’s been dried over a peat fire. Common brands include Macallan, Glenlivit, Tallisker, and Highland Park.
  • Irish Whisky – Made using pure malted barley, it is triple distilled. Common brands include Jameson’s, Bushmill’s, Michael Collins, and Power’s. It’s clean, strong, and does not have the smoky flavor of some whiskys.
  • Tennessee Whisky – This is the same thing as Bourbon or Kentucky Whisky except for the fact that it’s not made in Bourbon, Kentucky. Common brands include Jack Daniels and Jailer’s.
  • Kentucky (Bourbon) – Made of mostly corn, it tends to taste sweeter than other whiskys. Good examples would be Wild Turkey and Maker’s Mark.
  • Canadian Whisky – This is the most popular whisky in the United States. It’s made from malted rye and can be distilled several times. Common brands include Seagram’s and Crown Royal.

There are, of course, other whiskys available in other countries, including New Zealand, Japan, and Australia. There are also whisky blends. These blends are created from taking whiskys from other distilleries and blending them. Johnnie Walker is an example of a whisky blend, as is Dewar’s, Jameson, and Chivas Regal.

The Water of Life

Whisky literally means “Water of Life” in Gaelic and you might have noticed that the Scottish spelling of Whisky is different than everyone else. Many believe that when the Irish began making whisky their word for it sounded a bit different and an e was added. Regardless of how you spell it, learning to understand the different types of whiskys can help you find the one you prefer. On ice or straight, whisky may become your favorite drink.

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