CFRA News Talk Radio

June 15th, 2019

Theme:  Sommelier recommended Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Today on CFRA, CFRA’s Dahlia Kurtz and Sommelier Matt Steeves showcased fantastic (Sommelier recommended) gift ideas for Father’s Day.


With Father’s Day literally hours away, if you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to get Dad a gift, and ideally one he’ll love.

But what do you buy for someone that has it all?

My solution (for the Dad that has it all) is a special bottle of wine!  You can’t go wrong with these Sommelier recommended picks!


Today we’ve got a selection of fantastic wines that Dad will love this Father’s Day!

Treating Dad with a bottle of fine wine is a sure way to put a smile on his face, especially when it’s something he may not splurge for himself but that he’d love to receive as a special gift.

A new shop vac or lawn mower can be very practical gifts for Dad but is that what he really wants?  How about gifting Dad something that comes with relaxation attached to it, such as a fine wine which can deliver relaxation in spades.

And when we’re talking about a fine wine, picking up a Sommelier recommended bottle is much different than grabbing whatever’s available on the shelf of the corner store on the way home from the lake on Sunday evening.

The act of mindfully selecting a special wine for this occasion says a lot and will go a long way.  Visiting your local Vintages and speaking to an LCBO product consultant is a great way to find a special gifting bottle that Dad is sure to love.

It’s always good to pick something that you know he’ll like, for example if you know that Dad’s go-to wine is a $20 California Cabernet, why not gift him a bottle he may have never tried before, from the same region (Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or a more specific sub region of Napa Valley like Rutherford or Oakville) and select one that’s slightly outside his normal price point to make it an extra special wine to enjoy on a special occasion.

I’ve never known a winelover that doesn’t like tasting a premium wine.  Instead of buying two $20 bottles, why not try one $40 wine for this occasion.  Buying something a bit above the normal price point says a lot and will make that wine taste even better when you enjoy it together, especially when he remembers who gave it to him!

And let’s not forget that Father’s Day is a celebration and every celebration commands some bubbly…so while gifting a fine Champagne is always a great idea, right here in our own great country we’re producing world-class sparkling wine which makes for a terrific gift.

Many of these wines are available at LCBO throughout the year and typically wines from Canada are all available winery direct, shipped straight to your door – it’s a very convenient way to have the finest wines delivered straight to you.

Here is my selection of  what I consider to be fantastic gifting wines that Dad is sure to love this Father’s Day, and for many years if he chooses to cellar them and enjoy them with you down the road.

Benjamin Bridge NV, Nova Scotia – $32.95


Benjamin Bridge is increasingly becoming a top recommendation for Canadian Sommeliers when customers are looking to enjoy a premium sparkling wine with a delicious meal. Produced essentially the same way as Champagne, with all the labour intensive rituals, craftsmanship, and care, it’s no wonder why wine lovers around the world are getting excited about the high quality products that Benjamin Bridge is producing each and every year.

In 2015 Benjamin Bridge produced their first non vintage “NV” classic method sparkling wine. It’s a blend of L’Acadie, Vidal, Seyval, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, all from their estate vineyard. BB’s acclaimed winemaker, Jean-Benoit Deslauriers, reached deep into their library of vintage wines to craft their inaugural NV wine, which includes wine dating back to their first harvest, 2002. The nose shows crisp orchard fruit, brioche, with a touch of sea-breeze, for which this maritime winery is well known. The palate is crisp and tart with great texture from the never ending supply of fine bubbles. Lip smacking tart citrus and gum drop flavours make way to the long and palate cleansing finish. Ideally suited for enjoying with rich dishes, this NV is sure to be loved for it offers great quality at a terrific price. Benjamin Bridge continues to demonstrate that they’re a world-leader in premium sparkling wine production. Available winery direct and at wine stores across Canada (and internationally).  Pick-up your bottles of NV at LCBO starting December 9th, 2017, just in time for holiday gifting and entertaining.

Tasted December 2015, 2016, and 2017. Consistently 92 points. Matt Steeves

Buy NV here for $32.95

Also, Benjamin Bridge released it’s super popular Nova 7 and Pet Nat lightly sparkling wines in 250ml can format this spring which are going to make them the perfect treat for Dad to tuck into a picnic basket or Yeti cooler and enjoy after that softball game, on the patio after chores are done, or when celebrating with friends in any setting.  This is one of the first premium wines I’ve tasted in can format…which I noted was the greatest thing I had experienced in the wine industry in a while!  So happy with this brilliant small format single serving offering by Benjamin Bridge.


Check them out here for shipping winery direct.



Beringer Kinghts Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – $44.95


Beringer Kinghts Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This Cabernet is built each vintage on the notion of a Bordeaux blend, with soft and silky tannins crafted for immediate enjoyment. Aromas of lavender and clove join flavors of dark red fruit led by boysenberry, huckleberry, raspberry, black cherry and evident oak spice are joined with more traditional Knights Valley tones of black and blue fruits. Fine acidity and elegant structure lead to a touch of licorice and mocha, rounding out a lingering, pleasant finish.

Available at LCBO – $44.95


Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay – Nappy Valley – $22.95 ($3 off this week)


Founded in 1876, Beringer is California’s longest continually operating winery. A beautiful Napa Chardonnay expression that bursts with grilled pineapple, pear, butterscotch, vanilla, and spice on the nose and palate. Rich with a creamy texture this Chardonnay is well suited to enjoy with grilled pork tenderloin with pineapple chutney, fettuccine with scallops & white wine sauce, chicken pot pie, or pan-seared scallops. Tasted June 2019. 90 points. Matt Steeves –

Available at LCBO – $22.95 this week!


Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay – Napa Valley – $65.00




The 2017 Chardonnay Private Reserve aged for ten months in 100% new French oak. It opens with beautiful crème brûlée and candied ginger notes over a core of pineapple and green mango with a waft of brioche. Medium-bodied, satiny and with fantastic freshness, it delivers loads of tropical layers and great length. Drink Date: 2018-2023. Score – 93+. (Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW,, Oct. 29, 2018 )

Available throughout the year at LCBO – $65.00


Who doesn’t love Tuscany…and if you can’t afford to take Dad on a trip to Tuscany, why not bring Tuscany to him (in a bottle)…

Ruffino Modus, Tuscany, Italy – $29.95


Each vintage Modus further solidifies its place in the fine wine world continuing to earn the reputation of a sought after Super Tuscan which is impressive given it’s only a fraction of the cost of its storied peers. A blend of 50% Sangiovese, with 25% of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that shows juicy layers of dark fruits, plum, spice, leather, and cigar box. Great depth of flavour, texture, and structure make it ideally suited for enjoying now with rich Osso Buco or hanger steak with bagna cauda pan sauce; it’s also an ideal candidate to cellar for up to a decade to enjoy its evolution. Ruffino’s Modus is a terrific value priced Super Tuscan that I’d highly recommend buying by the case. 93 points. Matt Steeves –

Buy Ruffino Modus at LCBO – $29.95



Now to switch it up a bit…what Dad doesn’t like receiving a fine bottle of Scotch?  I certainly do…and I’m pretty sure every dad I’ve ever know does too.  Here are a few beautiful and reasonably priced Scotch Whiskies (and Whisky Cocktails) to check out this Father’s Day weekend:


Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – $65.20 @LCBO



Medium amber; forward sweet malt, vanilla, marmalade and crème brulee aromas, with notes of toasted nut, marzipan, butter, cream and light oak; on the palate, light and fresh, approachably smooth and elegant; followed by malty, creamy, toasted barley flavours and notes of fruit, nutmeg, clove oil, sweet nut and spicy oak.

Available at LCBO – $65.20



Here is a terrific Scotch cocktail using Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky:

The Monkey Shoulder Rob Roy

The story behind the Rob Roy (Scotch Whisky Manhattan) goes back to the early 18th century. Vilified by the crown and the government as a cattle thief, worshiped by the people as a hero and resistance fighter, he went down in the history of Scotland and was a role model for authors such as Sir Walther Scott, even Hollywood loved his story.  We are talking about Rober Roy MacGregor, also known as Rob Roy.  Fast forward to the end of the 19th century and the Rob Roy cocktail emerges.

While in the early days of Manhattan, and later Rob Roy, spirits and vermouth were often mixed in equal parts, over time they have given more space to the spirit base in these fine cocktails.

A classic Rob Roy is prepared as follows:

50 ml Scotch whisky – I’ve selected Monkey Shoulder 


20 ml sweet red Vermouth

1-3 dashes of Bitters (mostly Angostura Bitters)

Stir the mixture cold on ice and place in a pre-chilled coupe and garnish with a cocktail cherry and/or an orange twist.







The Balvenie Doublewood 12 year Scotch Whisky – $94.95 @LCBO





2018 marked the 25th anniversary of The Balvenie DoubleWood, aged 12 years. 

DoubleWood 12 was launched in 1993, using a process designed by Balvenie’s Malt Master David Stewart in 1982, now commonly known as ‘wood finishing’.   

To make The Balvenie DoubleWood, Balvenie’s Malt Master, David Stewart, takes whisky that has spent at least 12 years in traditional whisky casks, American Oak ex-bourbon barrels and hogsheads, and moves it to Spanish oak ex-Oloroso sherry casks for an additional nine months. 

The whisky is then transferred to large oak vessels called “tuns” for 3-4 months to allow the whiskies from individual casks to “marry”. 

The Balvenie DoubleWood single malt whisky gains its distinctive character from being matured in two different wood types. Each stage lends different qualities to the resulting single malt whisky. 

The traditional casks soften and add delicate character, the sherry wood brings depth and fullness of flavour and the final few months in our tuns allow the whiskies to marry harmoniously.


NOSE Sweet fruit and Oloroso sherry notes, layered with honey and vanilla.

TASTE Smooth and mellow with beautifully combined flavours ~ nutty sweetness, cinnamon spiciness and a delicately proportioned layer of sherry.

FINISH Long and warming

Buy Balvenie Doublewood 12 year at LCBO – $94.95



The Balvenie DoubleWood (12 year) Old Fashioned – A stunning Old Fashioned cocktail

I love an Old Fashioned cocktail with Balvenie…here’s my easy to make, yet highly complex and impressive tasting, Old Fashioned cocktail:

  • 50ml Balvenie DoubleWood
  • 4 dashes aromatic bitters
  • 1 bar spoon white granulated sugar
  • Garnish: large orange twist

Combine the ingredients in a glass. Mix and muddle to dissolve sugar. Add ice (block ice preferred) and stir to chill and slightly dilute. Finish with an orange twist, and squeeze some orange zest from the peel on the top of the cocktail for extra aromatic enjoyment.




Monkey Shoulder Whisky Sour…one of my favourites!


How to Make a Whiskey Sour


2 oz. Monkey Shoulder 
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup (or 1 tsp. fine sugar)
1 egg white + brandied cherry + orange slice/peel twist



Shake all ingredients twice, first without ice and then with ice. Double-strain over ice, then garnish with a cherry and an orange peel. Top with a dash of Angostura bitters.




Ever wonder what exactly a single malt Scotch is?

To be a single malt Scotch the whisky must have been distilled at a single distillery, in Scotland, using a pot still distillation process, and made from a masth of malted grain. In Scotland, the only grain allowed to be used in a single malt whisky is barley. As with any Scotch a single malt Scotch must be distilled in Scotland and matured in oak casks, also in Scotland, for at least three years and one day (most single malts are matured longer…in fact most are a minimum 10 or 12 years, and go up to 40+ years, although those are astronomically priced and very hard to come by).

“Malt” indicates that the whisky is distilled from a “malted” grain. In the case of single malt Scotch, barley is the only grain used.

“Single” indicates that all the spirits in the bottle come from a single distillery. Bottlings containing malt whisky from multiple distilleries are called “blended malt“.

The age statement on a bottle of single malt Scotch is the number of years the whisky spent maturing in casks. Very few whiskies are bottled from a single cask, and the mixing of spirits with different amounts of ageing is allowed (such as 10, 11, 12, 13 year olds); the age statement reflects the age of the youngest whisky in the mix (10 year old in the example).


Other gift ideas this Father’s Day…

Here are some other very practical gift ideas for Dad, especially for the aspiring Cocktail king, such as nice gadgets to make quality ice…often an ingredient that’s forgotten but it’s so critical for crafting quality cocktails.

I use icecube trays like this one which are available on Amazon and at bar supply stores, or houseware stores like CA Paradis, Homesense, and Winners.

3 Pack Ice Cube Trays Set - Sphere Round Ice Ball Maker, Large Square Ice Cube Mold and Diamond Shaped Silicone Ice Cube Tray for Ice, Whiskey, Candy and Chocolate Reusable and BPA Free (Black)


A fine glass mixing pitcher and strainer is key to making any non-shaken cocktail…this is my go-to:

So whether you choose a super special and slightly premium wine for Dad, or a bottle of Scotch, or all the above, I wish you all and all those fathers out there a very happy Father’s Day this weekend!

Stay classy my friends!

Matt Steeves




PS: Here are some of my top rated Summer Cocktails for when the weather finally heats up…try them out this summer when hosting and I guarantee your guests will love them!  This content is from a CTV Morning Live segment I did in the summer of 2017 as we were celebrating Canada 150 in Canada’s capital!

When the temperature is sky rocketing there’s nothing like an ice cold cocktail to keep you refreshed.  Ice cold cocktails are the perfect solution to cooling off on these hot summer nights, and when you’re hosting a crowd they’re great as they can be made ahead of time and served to many without delay.

With a few simple ingredients, you can easily craft your own signature iced cocktails that you and your guests will love!

Before we get into some of my favourite iced cocktails and sangria recipes, here’s a few tips for serving ice cold drinks in the heat of the summer…

  1. Put down that massive pint glass…bigger isn’t always better when it comes to serving and enjoying ice cold drinks in the heat of the summer.  This time of year I recommend smaller glasses with smaller and more frequent pours.  Smaller glasses, loaded with ice, means you’re going to enjoy that beverage served cold (as planned) and not end up with a watered down jug of melted ice had you opted for the 32 oz super sized mug.
  2. Use big ice cubes.  Small ice cubes or crushed ice will melt faster than large cubes meaning your special drink is more likely to get watered down and lose the flavour profile you intended when you mixed it.  Bigger is better in this case.
  3. Use small cans of tonic water and club soda to get the most fizz.  2L bottles tend to go flat quickly which means you’re not getting the full texture your drink is supposed to deliver.  I prefer the small 222ml cans of club soda and tonic water versus the 355 ml cans as the smaller cans are perfect for one drink and they seem to pack more fizz too.
  4. Whenever possible use freshly squeezed lemon and lime over the bottled alternatives.  You know exactly what you’re getting when you squeeze a lime on your own and there’s nothing fresher than that.
  5. Keep your vodka, gin, and other spirits in the freezer prior to service to help keep your cocktail as cold as possible.

Following those few tips will help make your cocktails some of the finest your guests will enjoy all summer long!


These sangria and iced summer cocktails are absolute dynamite and will work perfectly at keeping you and your guests refreshed this Canada Day and all summer long:


There are so many options when it comes to Sangria. Most common in Spain and Portugal, it normally consists of red wine, fruit, a sweetener, and a small amount of brandy or Grand Mariner. Chopped fruit can include orange, lemon, lime, apple, peach, melon, berries, pineapple, grape, kiwi, mango, and just about anything else! A sweetener such as honey, sugar, syrup, or orange juice is added.  Instead of brandy, other liquids such as soda water or lemonade may be added. Sangria is steeped while chilled for as little as minutes or up to a few days, making it a great drink to prepare in advance of your Canada Day party so it’s full flavored and ready to enjoy as soon as your guests arrive.





  • 1/2 apple, cored, skin on, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 orange, rind on, sliced into small pieces, large seeds removed (save the other half of the orange for garnishing the individual glasses)
  • 3-4 Tbsp organic brown sugar (or 3 Tbsp (37.5 g) organic cane sugar)
  • 3/4 cup  orange juice, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup brandy, plus more to taste – I elected to use Grand Marnier
  • 1 750 ml bottle full bodied, fruity, dry red wine ( I chose an Italian red from Puglia…Torrevento’s Negroamaro)
  • Ice to chill (~1 cup, preferably large ice cubes or spheres (the bigger the ice the slower it will melt))
  1. Add apples, oranges, and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon
  2. Add orange juice and brandy and muddle again
  3. Add red wine and stir, then taste and adjust flavor as needed. If you want a bit more kick then add a splash more brandy, orange juice and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
  4. Add ice and stir once more to chill. Serve as is, or with a bit more ice. Garnish glasses with orange wedges.



From the very southern end of Italy, in the famous ‘heel’ of Italy’s boot, Puglia produces delicious deeply flavorful wines, such as Negroamaro. Torrevento’s 100% Negroamaro is nearly black in colour with a deep ruby hue. The nose shows dark black fruits, some stewed, black cherry, liquorice root, and sweet spices. Ripe dark fruit greets the palate with moderate acidity and a hint of tannins making this a great wine to enjoy with BBQ burgers, ribs, or Italian tomato-based pasta dishes. If you like Sangria in the summer sun then this value priced wine ($9.35 at the LCBO) makes a great choice given its sweet dark fruit flavours. Tasted June 2017. 88 points. Matt Steeves –

Available at LCBO – $9.35




Strawberry F’rosé



Servings: Makes 4–6

  • 1 750 ml bottle hearty, bold rosé (I chose Featherstone’s Rosé given its deep colour, flavour profile, and affordable price)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, quartered
  • 2½ ounces fresh lemon juice

Recipe Tips


  • Pour rosé into a 13″x9″ pan and freeze until almost solid (it won’t completely solidify due to the alcohol), at least 6 hours.
  • Meanwhile, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add strawberries, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes to infuse syrup with strawberry flavor. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl (do not press on solids); cover and chill until cold, about 30 minutes.
  • Scrape rosé into a blender. Add lemon juice, 3½ ounces strawberry syrup, and 1 cup crushed ice and purée until smooth. Transfer blender jar to freezer and freeze until frosé is thickened (aim for milkshake consistency), 25–35 minutes.
  • Blend again until frosé is slushy. Divide among glasses.
  • Do Ahead: Rosé can be frozen 1 week ahead.


I chose Featherstone’s 2016 Rosé for the Watermelon Sangria given its dark colour and complementary fruity profile.  My review of the 2016 Rosé: Featherstone’s Rosé has won impressive awards in the past, including double gold medal at the 2014 Ontario Wine Awards. Year after year this sub $15 wine offers a very consumer friendly style that many reach to as their go-to patio-wine. The 2016 shows strawberry, candied watermelon, and baked cherry on the nose. Creamy and refreshing, with cherry and cran-apple persisting on the finish. Enjoy in the sun on a patio, and pair with grilled Cajun shrimp skewers. Tasted April 2017. 88 points. Matt Steeves –

Featherstone rose

Available at LCBO









  • 1/2 cup Rosé (I chose 13th Street Wine Rosé (Pink Palette) given its deep colour, flavour profile, and affordable price)
  • 1/2 cup ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • mint and grapefruit slices to garnish
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 sprigs rosemary



  • Bring water to a boil and add sugar and rosemary sprigs. Stir vigorously to allow sugar to dissolve entirely. Allow syrup to come to a boil once more and then remove from heat.
  • Pour the syrup into a heat proof vessel such as a mason jar and refrigerate until entirely cool. Remove rosemary sprigs.
  • In a blender, combine ice, Rosé, rosemary infused simple syrup and ruby red grapefruit juice. Blend until mixture is a smooth, icy consistency.
  • Pour frozen mixture into glass and garnish with rosemary sprig and serve.



With a remarkably deep and brilliant pink colour, 13th Street Winery’s 2016 Pink Palette does exactly what a great Rose ought to do…gets your taste buds revved up and upon that first sip delivers you to that summer oasis. The nose shows ripe sweet red fruit, cranberry, apple, cherry and pomegranate aromas. A blend of 31% Cabernet Franc, 31% Merlot, 19% Pinot Noir, and 19% Chardonnay from the Niagara Peninsula, it all makes for a refreshing glass of wine that delivers layers of sweet and tart red berries with baking spice and dried herbs making it very approachable to enjoy on its own and equally delicious when enjoyed with a wide array of dishes. My top picks include BBQ burgers, charcuterie, summer salads, and also spicy Asian cuisine. A touch of sweetness on the finish keeps inviting you back for another sip… Tasted June 2017. 88 points. Matt Steeves –

Available at LCBO in July 2017 or winery direct – $15.95



Kannuk Sparkling Cup


  • 6 leaves fresh mint
  • 2 slices cucumber
  • 2 oz. premium vodka (I chose Canada’s premium Kannuk Vodka)
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • Sparkling Wine – Jackson Triggs Cuvee Close

Directions: Muddle mint and cucumber. Add Kannuk vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup and shake. Pour over glass with ice. Top with Sparkling Wine, I’m using Jackson-Triggs Cuve Close (on sale for $14.95 at LCBO until mid-July) which was served at the Juno’s held earlier this year in Ottawa.




JT Cuve Close




Vodka Gimlet


  • 2 oz. vodka, preferably a premium Canadian vodka such as Beattie’s, Kannuk, or Iceberg
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • Lime wedge, for serving

Directions: Shake vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup. Pour over a coupe and garnish with lime wedge.


Cucumber Cocktail

Stay cool with this perked up party-pleaser. A cucumber and Kim Crawford cocktail will be your favorite sippable splash of summer.   Although this delicious cocktail is stunning with New Zealand Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, try a Canadian twist on it and enjoy with 13th Street Winery’s Burger Blend (white), which is on sale until mid-July.



  • 1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime thinly sliced
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup of local honey
  • 1 bottle of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 liter bottle carbonated water, chilled


In a large pitcher, combine cucumber, lime slices and 12 mint leaves in a large pitcher. In a small bowl, stir together lime juice and honey until combined. Pour over cucumber mixer, add wine, stirring gently. Cover and chill for at least two hours. (Recipe makes a batch. For single serving, use parts; 1 oz = 1 part).

Make this a fully Canadian treat and substitute 13th Street Winery’s Burger Blend White for a refreshing summer wine cocktail.  Crafted with summer and BBQ season in mind, 13th Street’s winemaker, JP Colas, brought together two very popular aromatic grapes (78% Riesling, 22% Pinot Grigio) that are packed full of sweet tree fruit (pear, apple), honeysuckle, and sweet spice. The creamy-smooth mouthfeel is backed with refreshing crisp pear and spice on the long finish. Fantastic with seared tuna or salmon burgers, or go all out with a stacked Aussie burger with the lot (i.e. big, bold and delicious stacked burger topped with beets, pineapple, fried egg, and smothered in a creamy sauce). Look for it in LCBO all summer long or get some shipped to your door winery direct. Terrific wine for the price and perfect to enjoy this summer! Tasted June 2017. 89+ points. Matt Steeves –


Available at LCBO



Canadian Mule

A favourite iced cocktail is the Moscow Mule. This cocktail became popular during the vodka craze in the USA during the 1950s. The Moscow Mule is made with a high quality vodka, a spicy ginger beer, and lime juice, garnished with a slice or wedge of lime. It is usually served in a copper mug. I like to mix my Moscow Mules with  premium Canadian vodka such as Kannuk, Iceberg, or Beatties,thereby transforming them into Canadian Mules. I’ve used local Ottawa produced Harvey & Vern’s Ginger Beer to add that sweet and spicy extra kick to this popular summer cocktail.   

Classic Moscow Mule rebranded as a Canadian Mule using Canadian vodka and Harvey & Vern’s Ginger Beer



1/2 oz. lime juice

2 oz. vodka (Iceberg or Beattie’s make great choices)

4-6 oz. ginger beer



Squeeze lime juice into a Collins glass (or Moscow Mule mug) and drop in the spent shell.

Add 2 or 3 ice cubes, then pour in the vodka and fill with cold ginger beer (not ginger ale, although what the hell).

Serve with a straw.



Watermelon Sangria


  • 1/2 medium seedless watermelon, washed
  • Three 750 milliliter bottles rosé wine, chilled
  • One 375 milliliter bottle sparkling wine, Champagne or moscato, chilled

Several hours before serving, slice big slabs of rind from around the outside of the watermelon, making sure there’s plenty of red fruit attached. Slice the rind into large chunks. Add the chunks to a large drink dispenser or punch bowl and add the rosé wine. Cover and stick it in the fridge to let it chill for at least 6 hours (or more if you can).

Right before serving, stir in the chilled sparkling wine. Serve in glasses, using tongs to add individual pieces of fruit. Yum!






F’rosé Watermelon Slushies

frose watermelon slushies

  • Directions:
  • Cube 2 cups of watermelon and place in freezer until frozen solid.
  • Combine 1 cup (250ml, a 3rd of a bottle) of chilled rosé (my pick for this is Niche Wine Co.’s Pinot Noir Blanc)
  • Blend the frozen watermelon and chilled rosé until smooth and serve immediately. Given the high water content of watermelon, this drink has a tendency to separate quickly so best to serve immediately and not store in the fridge for any period of time.


Summer in a bottle! Niche Wine Co.’s Pinot Noir Blanc is a unique and delicious twist on a patio-favourite wine! The 2015 Pinot Noir Blanc has a light coral-copper colour with a sweet and fragrant bouquet of strawberry, baked peach, blood orange, vanilla, and ginger. Richly flavoured and very refreshing, it’s perfectly suited for a wide array of patio-foods, including charcuterie, sweet chili BBQ’d wings or shrimp kebabs, fresh and tangy summer salads, and is terrific on its own. With direct to consumer shipping, it’s a breeze to get these wines shipped right to your door. Highly recommended. Tasted May 2016. 90 points. Matt Steeves –

Available winery direct



Basil Watermelon Cocktail

Cool down with this refreshing mix of Kannuk Vodka, watermelon and ginger.



3  large basil leaves

1  slice peeled ginger

1  chunk watermelon

.5 oz Simple syrup

2 oz Kannuk Vodka

.5 oz Fresh lime juice

Splash of Ginger ale



1 Watermelon chunk and basil leaf

Glass: Rocks, or Mason jar.


In a shaker, muddle the basil, ginger, watermelon and simple syrup.

Add the Kannuk Vodka and lime juice, and fill with ice.

Shake well and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.

Top with ginger ale and garnish with a watermelon chunk and basil leaf.









1.5 oz Georgian Bay Gin

3  Basil leaves

2-3  Large strawberries (preferably deep red locally produced strawberries)

2 oz Lemonade

Splash of Club soda


1 Strawberry and basil

Glass: Double Old Fashioned



In a shaker, muddle the strawberries and basil leaves.

Add the Georgian Bay Gin and lemonade to the shaker and fill with fresh ice.

Shake, and strain into an Old Fashioned glass (or Mason jar).   Top up with ice and a splash of Club Soda and garnish with a strawberry and a basil leaf.




Blackberry Wine Slushy



12 oz Vodka
5 Blackberries
1 oz Orange juice
4 oz Red wine
1 tsp Agave



If you love crisp white wine (as I do!), then these refreshing Sauvignon Blanc based wine cocktails will be right up your alley on those warm summer days and evening!





  • 2 parts chilled Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
  • 3-4 pieces lemon wedge
  • .75 parts simple syrup
  • Pinch of mint
  • Lemon for garnish
  • Mint sprig for garnish
  • ice cubes


  1. Muddle Mint, lemon and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass over ice.
  4. Garnish with a mint sprig and lemon pinwheel.








2 parts Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

2 parts Green Tea

Splash Sparkling Water





  1. Allow tea to cool before pouring.
  2. Mix Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, cooled green tea and sparkling water in a Collins glass over ice.
  3. Garnish with thin strips of lemon and lime peel.



Cucumber Cocktail

Stay cool with this perked up party-pleaser. A cucumber and Kim Crawford cocktail will be your favorite sippable splash of summer.



  • 1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime thinly sliced
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup of local honey
  • 1 bottle of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 liter bottle carbonated water, chilled


In a large pitcher, combine cucumber, lime slices and 12 mint leaves in a large pitcher. In a small bowl, stir together lime juice and honey until combined. Pour over cucumber mixer, add wine, stirring gently. Cover and chill for at least two hours. (Recipe makes a batch. For single serving, use parts; 1 oz = 1 part).



Matt Steeves –  Sommelier, Wine Writer, and Director with the National Capital Sommelier Guild (  Follow Matt on Twitter @QuercusVino  and check out for his top wine and spirits picks.