Merry Mixology!

We had our “I guess it’s now an annual tradition” create your own cocktail party this weekend and it was festive. Like, Mariah Carey festive.

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The premise of a create your own cocktail party is that guests bring everything they need to make their drink of choice, as far as ingredients go. As the host, I provide the ice, the glassware (martini, cosmo, champagne flute, champagne coupe, hi ball, shot glasses etc.), shakers, and various tools of the mixology trade.

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The cocktails should be festive, swanky, and delicious. Ergo, survivalist drinks that remind oneself of university days gone by such as the spleen-tormenting vodka cran, should be avoided at all costs.

If things go well, everyone will show off their mad shaker skillz, concoct something amazing, and…share!

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Here’s Robert’s take on MY favourite drink – ‘The Last Mechanical Art”. In order to justify the fact that he had hijacked MY favourite drink, he renamed it “The Last Mechanical Science”.  The crucial ingredients in here are mezcal, Campari, cynar, and vermouth. Boozy as heck, just the way I like it.

Boozy or bubbly. I can easily roll my cocktail caravan in either direction. I made a classic champagne cocktail with angostura bitters soaked sugar cubes, and then I tried one I’d never made before.

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The name is lacking in glitter and swank, but nevertheless! With two forms of rhubarb (including the bitters) and two of elderflower (one being the St. Germain), this was highly festive! My only advice to you is to ensure that you do not accidentally confuse the St. Germain with the rhubarb bitters. GAH.

Don’t forget to have on offer a crapload of food or your guests may end up, as my young adult daughter tells me, turnt.

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Naked vanilla cake from The Art of Cake. Soooo light and yum.

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Absolutely stunning sugar cookies from Milk and Cookies Bakeshop. Oh my gosh. These were not only beautiful, they were also super delicious. Highly recommend!

I also ordered individually packaged sugar cookies in the shape of champagne coupes as guest favours and they were so lovely!

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Guests brought a plethora of cocktail fixins – from Canadian Club to Moet & Chandon.

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Of course, my true love, St. Germain himself, HAD to attend. He is truly the most sinful saint I know.

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I am always a stickler for lighting and festive touches. Oh, how I TRIED to get my POP FIZZ CLINK idea going. It didn’t turn out to be the greatest ever. Lack of wall space and…

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deflated N in CLINK, which Lord Andrew is handily hiding. Sigh.

No matter how cozy,

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no matter how festive,

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no matter how many dogs need petting,

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people always end up in the kitchen.

In order to facilitate this, it’s important to include a guest list that is both diverse and festive. A mix of personalities and stories is vital in avoiding the dreaded AWKWARD LULL or worse, the dreaded HOSTESS LEFT HER OWN PARTY TO GO TO KARAOKE.

Here we have new soulmates, Chris and Kris. Chris has helped me avoid the pain and torture of Hades itself and in a different manner, so has Kris!

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A renowned triathlete and styler of dapper hats attended.

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Suzanne is an aspiring sugar cookie model.

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Kris is flanked by, on the left, a rockstar, and on the right, an expert on rare and antique water heating systems that involve important valves.

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No romances blossomed, but there WERE bromances galore.

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And appearances by nobility in wearable works of esoteric art.

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Scottish clan chiefs cheersed Russian dukes (and my Russian language advisor). Nazdarovya!

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This was the only way I was getting a pic of me until someone took pity on me.

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My swanky outfit actually turned out to be kind of Aunt Shirl-ish.

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the aftermath.

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Ugh. Abhore cleaning up.

Thank goodness I have a husband who has certain obsessive tendencies when it comes to cleaning. I’ll leave him to it.

Love to you all! And goodnight!

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50 is the new 30 and the annus horribilis

Hi.

I’m back.

Well…I’m trying to be back! This truly has been a most horrible year in many ways. Yes, some serious shit went down. But I have found that, try as it might, when the aforementioned horribleness goes down, it does not have to take you with it. No, it does not.

Adversity and pain, I laugh in your puny, spotty, and weak-chinned faces! And I intend to prove that here, by sharing with my ever-faithful 4 (actually I think I’m down to 3 after my extended break) readers, myriad frivolous photos of…

LORD ANDREW CLINTERTY’S 50TH BIRTHDAY PARTY!

If you have never had the privilege of meeting Lord Andrew, you need to make that a priority – stat. This man is a beast of an enigma, with the craziest stories from his youth and the oddest of current life choices. He has lived in Sri Lanka, Scotland, Wales, Greece, Malta, and Luxembourg. He has owned tea plantations and been chased by a wild elephant. He owns a fire engine red Lotus but doesn’t drive it. He is a Lord but lives with his parents in Edmonton.  He was featured in a 1985 edition of Flare magazine as one of the top ten bachelors in Canada – right beside Mario Lemieux.

Pics or it didn’t happen.

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Clearly, a 50th birthday party of Lord Andrew’s calibre was in order.

However, unfortunately for my noble friend, I have report cards due and I am also addicted to eating too many muffins every Saturday and Sunday at Credo (which seems to take up a good chunk of my weekend – proper attention to the ingestion of baked goods is so important!), so the party ended up being about 3 calibre levels too low, but OH WELL.

I went with a MOD MADNESS theme to commemorate the year of our Lord’s birth – 1967. We are talking Mary Quant and British Invasion and poofy hair and gobs of eyeliner. I didn’t decorate that way, though. Like I said, the lure of the cornmeal muffin was too strong to get into authentically period details. I went straight for the golden 50 sort of decor – way more Lord Andrew.

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Look at my festive balloon ceiling photo display!

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So. Much. Andrew.

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There was mod madness everywhere. Some rando dude with a full head of hair was striking a groovy pose.

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I tried to do a poofy beehivey hairdo but failed when I realized that I do not own hairspray or styling products. Look at that super miniature poof. Ugh.

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Some hippie types showed up at the wrong party. This is mod madness, people! Not tie dye and poncho weaving 101!

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Of COURSE, the guest du jour thought he would be allowed to celebrate in his Tommy Hellfinger and slippers, sans modness.

I soon fixed that.

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I also fixed Lord Andrew a signature cocktail for the night – a riff on his favourite drink. Now I know, I know. You’re thinking, what could such a lord’s favourite drink be? Classic gin and tonic? Expensive Moët & Chandon Dom Perignon White Gold? Perhaps a wee dram of Isabella’s Islay?

Well, no.

Milkshakes. Milkshakes are his favourite drink.

So milkshakes it was!

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Pretty festive! If slightly sickening.

After fortifying ourselves with food, milkshakes and a rousing game of “Who is Lord Andrew Clinterty?” trivia (apparently one can lose one’s virginity over the time and space of a continuum of approximately 21 years), we headed out to karaoke.

If you have never been privy to Andrew’s karaoke skillz, you are remiss. Andrew is famous for his signature two microphone rendition of “Benny and Jets”, among others.

And here is the Karaoke King himself!!!

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Um.

Well.

Those milkshakes though.

Anyway, here’s me!

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Very artistic. (That’s creative code for grainy and blurry). Accompanied by the world’s largest beer to my left.

That’s about it for Lord Andrew’s 50th birthday celebration. A festive evening fêting a very festive man! Happy birthday, Lord Andrew!

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New Year, New Reason to Sparkle!

There is no better excuse to wear sparkly things, drink sparkly drinks, and eat non-sparkly but outrageously decadent foods, than New Year’s Eve, baby!!!

And since I am constantly on the lookout for reasons to be festive and sparkly, you can bet your bottom bauble that I maximize NYE.

Robert and I started out at Duchess where I, by some wonderful twist of NYE fate, managed to get my hands on a chocolate bread pudding. Robert had his pet Tartiflette, and his required multi-selection of macarons. We tried the candy cane, eggnog, gingerbread, and Robert’s true love – salted caramel.

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After Duchess, we went home, got all sparkled up, and Ubered over to the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald for festive cocktails in the Confederation Lounge. There really is no more festive place than the Hotel Mac for grown-up yet partyish drinks. I had the Raspberry 75, which I love, and the Flower Royale, which included bubbles and St. Germain. But even more AMAZING was the sight of Robert in his new Utkilt!

 

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This was my Christmas present to Robert, and I do think that it’s the gift that just keeps on giving…;)

 

We posed by the Christmas tree, but even though I was wearing my “Stephanie” dress by Workhall, which has a beautiful peplum that hid adorable black lace that matched the lace panel at the bottom of the dress, I fear that the wee laddie Robert of the moors of Westmount outshone me at every turn!

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After we finished at the Mac, we headed home to enjoy the bubbles and festive foods collection that we had carefully curated (grabbed at 4 pm that day) for our at-home NYE. We started off with smoked salmon, cheese boards, charcuterie and a classic lowbrow baked cheese dip. Paired (poorly, and without a care to what works!) with the food were Kir Royales and Prosecco with violet liqueur cocktails.

THEN THE DESSERTS.

We picked up some delights from Duchess earlier in the day. Had to have the Duke since I am so deeply in love with the whipped chocolate ganache and the salted caramel layer, not to mention the beauty of it!

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We also chose the Montreal Tarte – more ganache, spiced caramel this time, and soooo wintery good! It’s that beauty in the middle, surrounded by dark chocolate meringues!

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Finally, we tried the showpiece – the Galette des Rois! This grande dame of pastries intrigued me with its whimsy, so we HAD to get it! To galette it up, the youngest person has to hide under the table and call out the names of the guests. The pastry is then served in that order, and the person who finds the fève, or ceramic tile hidden in the cake, is crowned the king or queen for the night, literally!

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P.S. Rhubarb, cassis, AND cardamom?! Yes, please!

The galette did not disappoint – layer upon layer of rich, buttery, flaky pastry with just the right amount of subtle, wintery flavour.

Roni, the most youthful of us all, hid.

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And Robert, already the king of Engelwood, did not choke on nor break a molar on, the fève!

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P.S. Did I mention rosé champagne raspberry floats?

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So festive! I didn’t include the questionable photos of Lord Andrew Clinterty in a Happy New Year dunce cap, or of various noisemakers being blown in an undignified manner, or of our dogs begging for smoked salmon and biting certain guests, but you’ll have to trust me, that the night was full of sparkly, and possibly lawsuit-inducing, surprises!

 

How did you spend your NYE? Hope it was sparkly!

 

xox

 

Ginger