Le Lab Syrups

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Disclosure: All products were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

I haven’t been to Le Lab before, but doing a quick search, I found that it is known to be Montreal’s best cocktail bar. Being an expert in mixology, of course Le Lab has come up with a line of products to use in cocktails.

Le Lab’s artisanal products are made in Québec with fresh or organic ingredients. Seven syrups and two bitters, all 100% natural, add character to dishes and cocktails both sweet and savoury. These syrups are now distributed across Canada, have recently broken into the Italian fine products market, as well as Australia and the United States, and soon in other countries. Le Lab syrups are hand-crafted and contain no additives, colourings, artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Creators Fabien Maillard and Gabrielle Panaccio wanted to give gourmets and foodies the opportunity to add a new dimension to their dishes and drinks. The Le Lab product range provides a variety of options for cocktails and “mocktails,” to improve sparkling or still water, or to add flavour to a meat or fish marinade.

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I got sent the following syrups to try:

  •  Tropical BBQ Artisanal Syrup: A smoky, spicy, fruity syrup that transforms cocktails and meat or fish marinades into a unique and delicious experience.
  • Hell’s Ginger Artisanal Syrup: A ginger cayenne syrup that adds a kick to rum-based drinks, cakes, cookies and Asian dishes.
  • Simple Artisanal Syrup: The essential base syrup for sweetening alcohol or virgin mixes or quick recipes to avoid sugar crystals: use it on ice cream, strawberries, or ham as it browns in the oven, or add it to cut the bitterness of a dish.
  • Old Timer’s Tonic Syrup Concentrate: A quinine-based artisanal tonic with floral, spice, fresh citrus and floral notes for the original gin tonic. Anise and gentian add a touch of finesse that pastis lovers will appreciate. Great for cookies, cakes, puddings, and more.
  • Vintage Grenadine Syrup: The classic syrup used in all those Shirley Temples you drank in childhood! Fruity, refreshing and delicious, it amps up classic cocktails, with or without alcohol, and adds a wonderful aroma to fruit salads, sorbets, pies and crêpes.

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I used the Simple Artisanal Syrup to make a classic Gin and Tonic. One part syrup, two parts gin, and instead of tonic water, I added a splash of Sparkling Ice water. Add a squeeze of lime, and this syrup sweetens the overall drink!

More details:
Format: 250 ml and 100 ml (online)
Price: $15.95 and $8
Points of sale: https://labproduitsartisanaux.com/en/store-locator/
Online purchase: labproduitsartisanaux.com/
Recipes: https://labproduitsartisanaux.com/en/category/recipes/

 

Sparkling Ice: Cocktail Recipe

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Disclosure: All Sparkling Ice beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

With the summer heat getting real these days, I’m always looking for new beverages to try. It’s also time for patio season and barbecues, and of course cocktails must be present! I was recently sent some of the Sparkling Ice beverages to try and decided to whip up a cocktail recipe.

 

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Sparkling Ice is a fizzy, flavourful beverage without all the calories! In fact, they are advertised as a zero calorie beverage! The best part is that they come in a variety of fruity flavours, so make a great addition in your cocktail. Some flavours include Lemon Lime, Coconut Pineapple, Kiwi Strawberry, Cherry Limeade, and Black Raspberry. You can drink it straight, or add it to cocktails, flavour your marinade, and even use it in baking for flavour!They are available at most retailers, including Walmart and Amazon if you want to shop online.

 

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S and I enjoy gin, so we decided to make a Gin Fitzey:

INGREDIENTS

1.5 oz of gin
Simple syrup
½ Lime (sliced into 3 wedges)
Splash of Sparking Ice Lemon Lime
Lime (garnish)

DIRECTIONS

Add gin, simple syrup, and lime wedges to shaker. Muddle. Add ice. Shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Add a splash of Sparking Ice Lemon Lime. Garnish with lime twist.

The cocktail was super easy to create, especially if you don’t have a lot of ingredients. I loved how the drink wasn’t too sweet, and the fizz isn’t overwhelming.

 

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To find more cocktail or cooking recipes that incorporate Sparkling Ice, check out their website and on Instagram. I especially love their cute and quick videos on Instagram! Cheers!

Raw Bar at the Lobby Lounge (at Fairmont Pacific Rim)

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Torched Wagyu Beef Salad; Bloody Mary

Back in December, I took S out for her birthday at the Raw Bar at the Lobby Lounge located inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim. In the winter months, they had a five-course cocktail brunch for $42 per person with the cocktail pairing for an additional $28.

For the first course, there are two selections, so of course we got one of each. I chose the Torched Wagyu Beef Salad which comes with red onion, sake-beet puree, scallion-ginger emulsion, nori chips and miso creme fraiche. The wagyu beef was tender and melted in my mouth! The only complaint was that the beef was served cold, but I guess since it is a salad, the rest of the ingredients are cold.

The cocktail pairing was a Bloody Mary with vodka, lemon, tomato juice, sriracha, horseradish, salt, and pepper. I normally don’t like Bloody Marys but I actually quite enjoyed this one as the spice level was just right.

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Red Tuna Tataki

S got the Red Tuna Tataki  with yusuf cosh vinaigrette, soy glee, daikon, and micro greens. This was beautifully presented and the tatami was seared just enough while keeping the centre a beautiful pink.

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Light- Zaiten

The tuna tataki was paired with a Light-Zaiten which consisted of gin, organic green tea, dry vermouth, rosemary, cucumber and lime. This was a light and refreshing drink which paired well with the fresh tuna.

 

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Signature Bacon and Sable Miso

The second course was the same for everyone which was the Signature Bacon and Sable Miso. This soup featured bacon dashi, house-cured sablefish, ginger and scallions. This is definitely a gourmet miso soup and we both really enjoyed it. The bacon bits with the sablefish was absolutely delicious and paired so well together! I only wish this came out piping hot as it was served warm rather than hot.

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Beer Makes Miso Happy

The miso soup was paired with Beer Makes Miso Happy which we thought would be beer at first, but it was served in a tall cocktail glass. Turns out it consists of Grand Marnier, wheat beer, ginger, and lemon. The ginger flavour was very strong so if you’re not a beer drinker, you can still enjoy this. Love how they put puns in their menu names by the way!

 

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Wild Salmon Motoyaki “Benny”

For the third course, S chose the Wild Salmon Motoyaki “Benny”. This is their take on an eggs Benedict as it’s not what you would usually see. It came with a poached egg, sweet milk bread, inure, miso hollandaise and avocado. Unfortunately, the egg rolled off and broke once our server placed it down. However, S really enjoyed the dish and the twist from the traditional.

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Kurobuta Pork Kakuni

For myself, I had the Kurobuta Pork Kakuni, which feature braised pork belly, 62 degrees egg, sweet soy broth, daikon, carrot, potato, and tamanishiki rice served on the side. The pork was very tender with the fatness bringing some richness to the dish. The soy broth was delicious with the rice and the egg was poached perfectly with the yolk oozing out. By this course, we were starting to get full, so the rice itself makes this course even more filling.

 

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Pepe Le Pew; Pork ‘N’ Cider

The cocktail pairing for the salmon benny was the Pepe Le Pew, which featured a Lillet rose, sherry, and sparkling brut. This was definitely sweeter but I enjoyed the fizz from the sparkling brut. The cocktail pairing for the pork belly was the Pork ‘N’ Cider which featured Lonetree cider, sweet vermouth and sherry. The sherry paired really well with the pork although I found the drink on the sweeter side.

 

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Sushi Omakase; Sparkling Junmai Sake

The fourth course was the Sushi Omakase, which featured a spicy tuna maki, temari sushi topped with crab meat, halo sushi topped with cured saba, and salmon and tuna nigiri. Honestly, this was one of the courses I was excited for, but I felt that the sushi left me disappointed. The presentation was not as nice as I expected, and the fish was cut sort of choppy. The seafood is oceanwise here, which is a plus, but I just didn’t find the fish very fresh. As for the pairing, this came with Sparkling Junmai Sake, which I really enjoyed. It can be quite strong for some though.

 

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Yakult Shooter; Wakayama Beach

For dessert, the five course meal ended with a Yakult Shooter, which featured plum glee, pear, matcha green tea, black sesame powder and yusuf pearls served in oyster shells. This was visually beautiful to look at, but S and I both agreed we were confused with the flavours and ultimately did not enjoy it. Something was just off about it. This came with the Wakayama Beach which featured gin, yuzu, basil, coconut water, and ginger. The drink was a refreshing drink to finish off the meal, although we were quite buzzed after the 5 drinks!

As it was S’s birthday, I mentioned to the server the special occasion hoping to get a message written on our dessert, but they ended up giving us a delicious plate of truffles on the house which I thought was very sweet.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the five course brunch and would highly recommend getting it with the cocktail pairings. You get quite a lot of food and will be stuffed at the end and given its reasonable price, I think it’s a pretty good deal. I did have some issues with service, since I made the reservations a month in advance through email and had received confirmation. Yet, when I arrived, they told me there was no such reservation. Quite disappointed with that given they are such a large hotel, but luckily since it was a snow day, the restaurant was not very busy. Our server also did not tell us what our drinks were each time she placed them down, which would be expected at hotel restaurant. However, the ambiance of the restaurant is A+ since it has amazing natural light coming in and the simplicity of white tables and chairs with the orange chopsticks makes the setting visually appealing. I will be back again if they have other set menus in the future!

Pros:
– Cocktail pairings are on point with overall good food
– Ambiance and plating is visually beautiful

Cons:
– Service was a miss for us

Price Range: $50-80

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 2 Ambiance: 5 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3.5

RawBar at The Lobby Lounge - Fairmont Pacific Rim Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sai Woo

Super late post again but back in early May, us accountants finally celebrated the end of tax season! Our firm treated us to dinner and drinks at Sai Woo in the heart of Chinatown. Sai Woo doesn’t server your typical authentic Chinese food, it’s more of a westernized style of Chinese food.

We basically booked the whole restaurant and the inside decor is beautiful! I loved the fairy lights and the ambiance gave a nice chic and elegant feel.

Their cocktails are what I would come here for and they have a long bar on one side where you can come in if you want to just enjoy some drinks.

Sai Woo Sour

E and I decided to go all out that night (since we were’ paying!) and tried to go down the list of the cocktail list. Yes, huge headache the next day, but it was fun! We started off with the Sai Woo Sour which featured Bombay Sapphire East, Benedictine, ginger syrup, lemon juice, and egg white.

Elderflower 75

The Elderflower 75 was my favourite and consisted of Finlandia Vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice, and sparkling cava. This was the fruitiest drink and extremely easy to drink. Plus, it’s always classy to have some cava in hand.

Smoking Gun

The Smoking Gun is the men’s drink and the process in making the drink is super cool to watch. They light up the drink and some smoke comes out then they throw in this huge ice cube. The drink consisted of El Dorado 12 year old rum, bitters, brown sugar, oak, and tea smoke. A very bitter drink and great for those who like to drink straight rum. The guys said it was too sweet from the brown sugar though…but us girls found it bitter!

Carioca

Another favourite was the Carioca with Cacha 51, guava juice, orange juice, lime juice, and sloe Gin float. Another one of those lighter and fruitier drinks which I enjoyed.

Tuna Tartare

As we booked the place up for a private event, our menu was already pre-ordered and it included some canapés to start. I didn’t get pictures of all of them but a memorable one was the Tuna Tartare which came with nori on top. Quite yummy! They also seem to enjoy using raw ingredients at Sai Woo.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

We were able to choose two appetizers each. For myself, I chose the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio which came with broccoli puree, crudite, rye crumble, sorrel, and candied lime. To be honest, I found this to be just average. The beef lacked flavour and the plate itself was also extremely small for the price.

Beet Salad

E got the Beet Salad which came with buckwheat cracker, yoghurt, blackberry sauce, fermented grapes, and herbs. A colourful dish but E also said it was just average.

Sai Woo Salad

My second appetizer was the Sai Woo Salad which comes with smoked sockeye salmon, gem lettuce, frisee, pickled tomato, blue cheese cream, and fennel. Again, something was off about this dish. It was way too acidic with the pickled tomatoes overbearing the whole dish. The smoked salmon was also more like cooked salmon as it was fully cooked. Everyone agreed this dish was too pickled.

Pressed Lamb

For my entree, I got the Pressed Lamb which was my favourite of the dishes. The lamb was packed into a rectangle and was crispy on the outside while staying very moist in the inside. It came with seasonal vegetables of what appeared to be brocolini, braised shallots, kale, sherry jus and a side of long grain rice.

Ling Cod

Some of the other diners got the Ling Cod which came with oyster mushrooms, green onion puree, greens, and jasmine rice. Apparently this was extremely salty for some while being perfect for others. Seems like they have inconsistencies in seasoning.

Lemongrass Chicken

The other entree option was the Lemongrass Chicken which came with vermicelli noodles, bitter greens, and a sunny side up fried egg.

Baklava

Dessert was just as disappointing. the Baklava was unappealing to look at and consisted of pistachio nuts, toasted nuts, honey rose pearls, and phyllo chips. This was sort of an deconstructed baklava but something about it just didn’t seem right.

Chocolate Cake

The Chocolate Cake came with candied fennel and orange marmalade and it appeared that most diners did not enjoy this. Perhaps it was gluten free and therefore the cake itself was very hard and dry.

 

Overall, we found the food at Sai Woo to be underwhelming but we think it might be because they aren’t experienced with catering to a large group. Most diners who have gone to Sai Woo on a regular day have had good experiences, so I would probably give them a try during their regular service. I have to say that their drinks are great so I wouldn’t mind coming here to grab a drink. Plus the decor is beautiful inside!

Sai Woo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cocteleria Baritimo – Barcelona

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Finally after a week of traveling in Valencia and Ibiza, I finally returned to Barcelona, where it would be home for the next 4 months. Weather is absolutely beautiful here, and it’s hard to remember that I’m actually here for school, because every day seems like a vacation here! I hadn’t gone out much since arriving as I was nervous to explore the city alone, but when my roommate U arrived, we headed out to see Port Vell along with her father. Port Vell is the major waterfront port built due to the Olympics and is a major tourist point as it also has a large shopping centre. We headed over to the Maremagnum Mall and as it was a boiling hot day, we sat down at Cocteleria Baritimo on the second floor for a drink.

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U and I both ordered a glass of Sangria. This would soon be my go-to drink here in Barcelona as you can get it for really cheap. However, the one here was quite pricey, but I have to admit it was really good. I don’t think they used really cheap wine, hence it tasted much better.

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We sat right against the water where we were elevated from the ground as we were on the second floor. The view was truly amazing and with the sunny weather, I see why people always want to relax here! Amazing place if you want to grab a drink, have some tapas and enjoy the beautiful view. Of course, it comes with a slightly higher price, but so worth it!