It came as a shock this week to hear Frosty the Snowman playing at my local LCBO store. The gorgeous weather we’ve been having has kept thoughts of winter away from downtown Toronto, giving us an eternal autumn, as if we lived in Imladris. But apparently Christmas is coming anyway, so thoughts turn, naturally, to festive alcoholic iterations. I am not a huge aficionado of ready-mixed cocktails – I much prefer them freshly made – but every rule has its exceptions. Two Toronto brothers, Bruno and David Codispoti, have decided to raise the bar on the genre by commissioning no less a mixologist than Frankie Solarik of Barchef to create a trio of drinks of unusual verve and depth of flavour.
The brand is called Crazy Uncle and the first of the three is already available at the LCBO in a litre-sized hooch jug for a bargain $17.95. It’s rather delicious – a sort of vodka punch infused with the sweet-tart aroma of blood orange juice, deeply spiced up with nutmeg, clove and cardamom and sweetened with a dash of maple syrup. Hanging around the bottleneck is a sachet of powdered cinnamon and rosemary sugar with which to rim the glass. The only thing you need to add is a great big two-inch cube of ice (easily made if you have a King Cube ice tray (call 888-225-7378 for retailers near you)).
Promised for early next year are two more flavours – a Basil & Lime Daiquiri and a Cola Bitter & Mint Julep, one tart and herbal, the other sweeter and pleasantly minty. Thank you, fratelli Codispoti! Thank you too, Frankie! These are cocktails that will carry one right past Christmas and into the real winter if it ever comes. Meanwhile I have been toasting the great victory over the mega-quarry speculators with my blood-orange Crazy Uncle – while the last leaves fall in the blessed sunshine.