Get Acquainted with the Duke’s Fall Cocktails

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler but that doesn’t mean cocktail season is ending. Luckily, the Duke Pubs have put together an impressive menu of soon-to-be classic cocktails for this September to help ease the transition from our patios back to your favourite spot at the bar.

This photo credited to Jeff. S.
This photo credited to Jeff. S.

The Duke Pubs take cocktail creation very seriously and their Cocktail Committee (CC) meets several times a year to discuss the trends in the industry and to report on any new and local products that have been discovered. Let’s take a look at what the CC has created for fall.

Donnelly’s Cricket

A favourite of Cindy Simpson, Executive Vice President, this decadent cocktail might get you in the mood for the holiday season months before the snow starts to fall. But if you’re worried about ordering a cocktail that is too sweet for your taste buds, fear not — the generous kick of Courvoisier balances out the flavours.

Old-FashioCollingwood Canadian Whiskeyned Collingwood

Based on the classic cocktail, the CC decided to include a local whisky. Collingwood Canadian Whisky, crafted in Collingwood, Ontario was chosen thanks to its unique finishing practice, largely attributed to sugar maple trees found in the area. The result is a whisky with vanilla, caramel and butterscotch aromatics, with a warm and sweet finish. The team swapped sweet vermouth for homemade cinnamon syrup which might make it the perfect post-dinner cocktail this season. Oksana Salamaszek, bartender at the Duke of Westminster, is the mixologist behind this great beverage.

Orange Bulleit

Of course bourbon needed to show itself somewhere on the fall menu and Candice Salkeld, General Manager at the Duke of Westminster, knew just how to do it. This cocktail combines Bulleit Bourbon with orange juice and homemade sour mix. A Captain Morgan’s Dark Rum float, is the perfect finish to this already delicious cocktail.

The Copper MooseDillon's White Rye

Ever heard of Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers? Well you have now. This distillery based in Beamsville, Ontario is becoming well-known for taking local food and grain and turning them into delicious, premium spirits. They also make delightful homemade labels for their bottles, which I really dig. One of their most popular products is their white rye, which the CC fell in love with and after mixing many a cocktail to find just the right recipe, they created the Copper Moose, a Canadian take on the Moscow Mule. You’re going to love it!

Pie & Ginger

Last but not least, the Pie & Ginger. This cocktail takes everything you love about fall and pops it into a highball. Created by Julia Glanfield from the Duke of Kent, prepare yourself for hints of apple pie and maple syrup finished off with candied ginger.  If you are still craving a slice a pie after this cocktail I’m all out of ideas.

So no need to feel glum about the changing of the seasons – as long as you’ve got the Duke Pubs around, you’re going to be just fine. And don’t forget to tell your bartender that Lizzie sent you.

The World’s Smallest Pub

At the beginning of 2013, the folks at the Duke Pubs decided they were ready to expand the family. But the thing is, they didn’t want to expand by a lot. They only wanted to expand by a little. And with that the concept of the World’s Smallest Pub was born. With a capacity of only 8 patrons, the World’s Smallest Pub opened in May of 2013 and has been serving the Duke of Westminster patio while the weather has been warm. I tracked down Steve Forler, designer at Squarefoot Design Inc. to find out what it wMicroPub Presentation AUG14as like designing for such a small space.

What did you think about the concept of the World’s Smallest Pub when you were first approached by the Duke Pubs?

I loved the idea of a small pub. We had seen one in London, England a few months back and were inspired by the thought of something similar. The idea that it could be a working storefront to give the pub more exposure to the public at street level was even more appealing from a business standpoint.

It really adds another dimension to the patio as well during the summer. Also, being the smallest pub in Toronto makes it a conversation piece.

 Do you have a lot of experience designing for small spaces?

Not quite THAT small but close (it is 205 sqft).  Many quick service restaurants in food courts can be 400 – 500 sqft, so we have designed for clients with that kind of criteria on other projects.

 What was the biggest challenge in designing the World’s Smallest Pub?

That was the mobile window-wall system. Not from a physical point but due to the restrictions of the Liquor License Board, a portion of the wall had to be fixed in place, while the rest could open to the public for access. Getting all those dimensions exact so that all parties were satisfied took a little bit of stick handling.

The design challeng20130118_144729e was to make it feel like a pub that had existed there for years, tucked away in this small space. We refurbished large antique, acid-etched windows and mounted them into the back bar millwork to add to the sense of worn out wood. There is something about aged millwork that says hand-made. The small dints and dings in the edges and off colour of the stain add a lot of character. The over- sized design of the windows also elevated the height of the back bar wall and the mirrors behind them added visual depth to the space.WSP

What type of clientele do you think this space will attract? Regulars? Scotch drinkers? Beer drinkers?

This will definitely attract regulars. As soon as the weather is too cold for the patio to be open, a regular crowd with gather into the small bar to be engaged in the experience of the smallest pub in Toronto. Almost as an extension of the patio season.

What IMG_20130527_103954do you look for in a pub?

A sense of realism. There is a specific way a pub is designed and detailed compared to other restaurants. The proportions of the moulding and trims in combination with the interior finishes and seating, when executed properly, give the pub a greater sense of reality. That is the atmosphere that we are trying to create. As if it has existed for a hundred years.

Head down to the Financial District and check out the World’s Smallest Pub. Order a pint and tell them to put it on Lizzie’s tab. ;)