Party Time

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Is anyone else shocked by how fast this month has flown by? It feels like I’ve been all over the place, from PEC to Muskoka and Bancroft and back again, and there’s SO much to share with you guys I don’t even know where to start! There’s a lot of really great content coming up between now and July 1st, in fact, there will be a new post up almost every single day between now and then, so get ready for a lot of FUN!

Now that I’m back in Toronto for a hot second I’m finally able to start sharing some of the awesome things we’ve been working on around here. First up, I FINALLY decided on furniture for my apartment (months after moving in) and I’m THRILLED with how our new headquarters looks now that it’s come together. We’ll be sharing a full tour with our friends at CB2 later this Summer, but you’ll get a sneak peek in this post.

So what exactly IS this post? We’ve got two main things to share with you here, one being an introduction to Eivey. I’ve always been obsessed with organizing and cleaning out my closet (my best friend and I had little “closet cleanout” parties throughout our very type-A childhood), and thought I donate most of my extras there are a few special pieces that I have a hard time piling into a bag and waving goodbye to. That’s where Eivey comes in – a new Canadian website that makes listing and selling your high-end items super simple and, dare I say, fun? You can list items to your “closet” (here is mine if you feel like shopping!) and other users can follow you to get notified when you add something new. Best of all, Eivey sends you a mailing package directly so all you have to do is pop your pre-loved item into the mail.

The amazing ladies behind Eivey approached us to host a little wine and cheese closet cleaning party with some of our friends, and my childhood nostalgia alone prompted an automatic yes! Everyone brought a couple items and we all shot photos and posted together over epic cheese plates and rosé punch. Rosé punch you say? Which brings me to the recipe portion of this post!

We pretty much live off of Zevia sparkling water here at HQ, and we figured this mini party was the perfect time to dream up a new Summery recipe! We used their deliciously refreshing Mandarin Orange flavour with a trio of our favourite melon, fresh mandarin orange slices and a splash of our all time favourite rosé, SUMMER WATER (get it here at a special price!)

Scroll down for the full recipe and more party pics!

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What you’ll need //

Zevia’s Sparkling Mandarin Water
Honeydew Melon
Watermelon
Cantelope
Mandarin oranges (clementines work too)
Summer Water Rosé

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Instructions //

Use a melon baller on all three melons to create a bowl’s worth of mixed colours. Peel your oranges and add the slices to your bowl. Put the bowl of fruit in the freezer for 10-15 mins. Stir melon and orange slices in a Yari mixing glass with ice, muddling a bit while you stir.

Add Zevia’s Sparkling Mandarin Water and let sit in the Yari in a cool place for half an hour, letting the fruit “steep” for more melon flavour.

Fill a glass with ice (we used this copper pineapple sharing cocktail glass) and pour the Zevia and fruit combination over into the glass (or glasses)

Top it off with a splash (or two) of rosé and garnish with slices of melon!

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This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Christmas dinner may be the tradition, but we feel very strongly about Christmas brunch! Just think, all of your favourite holiday flavours infused into all of your favourite breakfast foods! Oh, and did we mention the cocktails?

No brunch is complete without a good bubbly, fruity brunch cocktail, and due to our obsession with all things sparkly, champagne was obviously a must. We also can’t resist good packaging, so Chambord was also a shoe-in… but what about the delightful concord grape flavour?

We were lucky enough to scoop up one of the very limited edition jars of Kitten and the Bear’s handcrafted concord grape jelly before it sold out, and we knew it would be the perfect touch to our festive berry cocktail. Don’t worry- if you missed the boat on their seasonal batch this bubbly beverage is also incredible with our exclusive Rosé All Day jam (and it adds little floating gold flakes to your cup!)

Scroll down for the full recipe!

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Ingredients //

Champagne or sparkling wine
Grape jam (we used Kitten and the Bear’s Concord Grape)
Chambord
Grapes
Sugar sprinkles

First, make your garnish – frozen, sugar dusted and Chambord infused grapes! You’ll want to start this the night before. In a small jar allow grapes to soak in about 3 oz Chambord for 3-4 hours. Drain the alcohol and place the grapes on a tray lined with parchment paper, dust with sugar and place in the freezer. Halfway through freezing, turn and dust again with sugar.

To make the cocktail, start with a teaspoon of jam at the bottom of your glass. Add 1 oz of Chambord and top it off with Champagne. Finish it off with the frozen infused grapes. Cheers!

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Halloween is just around the corner, and do you know what that means? Candy!!! Okay, lots of other things too, but around here we’re mostly interested in the sweet treats.

Though they’ve become a little bit of a no-no for trick or treaters in modern times due to health and safety reasons, my halloween favourite will forever and always be caramel apples. The perfect combo of sweet and sour, I’d be hard-pressed to dream up a Fall treat that’s more classically delicious.

With the crunch of a fresh picked apple and the swirl of creamy caramel in mind we came up with this refreshing Halloween-inspired cocktail. Loaded with sugar-free, apple flavour thanks to Zevia’s amazing Sparkling Apple Celebration bubbly, this drink is the perfect way to kick off your night of sugar on a naturally sweet note!

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Ingredients //

Zevia Sparkling Apple soda
Caramel or butterscotch liqueur
Fresh apples

Recipe //

This is just about the simplest thing anyone has ever made. Ever. Simply pour a shot of liqueur into each glass you’re serving, then fill the rest with Zevia apple soda and garnish with fresh apple slices.

What can we say? Sometimes simple is best, especially when there’s a night of Halloween haunting ahead!

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com 

Get CreativeSips, Sweets & Snacks

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When the weather turns cold here in Toronto (and trust us, Winter IS coming) there are only a few places where one can feel really truly warm. In all honesty, most icy days Paige and I have a hard time finding a good reason to even go outside, daydreaming about Hawaii, Mexico, or other tropical getaways instead. That said, we’ll never say no to a staycation at Miss Thing’s.

Miss Things is relatively new to the Toronto scene, but they instantly became a favourite for us the moment they opened. With a menu that includes incredible seafood, delicious shrimp Po’Bao (just try them) and a crazy good pineapple fried rice served IN a pineapple, the food couldn’t be more our style. Coupled with gleaming gold decor details and tropical prints galore, there’s really no place quite like it in the city, and it’s always a welcome escape from the daily grind.

But wait, the best is yet to come. We haven’t even mentioned the tiki cocktails yet.

Toronto has a lot of great cocktail bars, yes, but this place truly tops them all in the tropical tiki department. Everything from crazy cups to elaborate garnishes have clearly been carefully thought through, and we almost never manage to order just one per visit purely out of curiosity for how each one looks!

With winter sneaking up on us more and more, Paige and I have been craving a taste of the tropics more than ever, so we reached out to Miss Thing’s and asked if they’d share some of their magical boozy wisdom. A few weeks later we found ourselves behind the bar shaking up tiki classics and building banana dolphins! It was the most fun (and slightly tipsy if we’re being honest) Pastel Craft Club yet, and we learned SO much too.

Scroll down for an epic “Our Tai” cocktail recipe, and instructions for how to master some favourite tiki garnishes!

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The Mai-Tai, a classic Tiki Cocktail //

Funnily enough, the birth of the Mai-Tai, a classic tiki drink, was in California. Back in the mid-1940s, Cali bars started to adapt the tiki craze. There are two gentleman Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron, and Donn “Don the Beachcomber”, whom claim to have created this particular drink:

The name is said to have been created when Trader Vic’s two friends from Tahiti came to visit. He wanted to make a special drink just for them, and when they tried his creation they said “Mai Tai roa ae” which means “Out of this world, the best!”

Our Mai Tai at Miss thing’s is more like Trader Vic’s original Recipe.

1 oz White Rum (We use Selvarey White)
1 oz Dark Rum (We like it with Mount Gay Eclipse)
1 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Orgeat – almond syrup (if not homemade we like to use Monin Syrup)
2 oz Fresh Lime Juice

*We also turn it into a minimum two-person drink and rename it the “Our Tai”, which is twice the amount of ingredients as the Mai-Tai.

Garnishes //

A garnish compliments the cocktail, making it look more pleasing both to the eye and to one’s Instagram followers. If a drink has lime juice, it’s usually garnished with lime, or a lime wheel might be added for extra flavour. But for tiki cocktails there’s usually a creative tiki mug involved, and garnishes get a bit more showy, like pineapple fronds, orange wheels, cherries or edible flowers. The cool thing about tiki is that the garnish adds a creative aspect and it can really be of whatever you think of. At Miss Thing’s we garnish our drinks with simple but fun ideas, such as…

Banana Dolphin //

1 Whole banana
2 cloves
optional- 1 blackberry

tools:
knife

slice off an inch of the bottom part of the banana. You can angle the slice so that the banana still has a point at the open end.

From the open end, slice the peel upward about an inch on either side of the peel. This adds fins to the banana.

Move to the top of the banana and create a mouth for the dolphin, this is done by slicing the middle of the part that connects the banana to the rest of the “bunch”.

Add the Cloves as eyes on either side of the “mouth”. You can put the banana dolphin in your drink, peel up the “fins” so they rest on both sides of the glass. Add the blackberry to the mouth of the dolphin as a little snack if you’d like!

Lime Sailboat //

1 lime
1 cocktail skewer (ex. bamboo stick, toothpick)

Tools:
peeler
knife

Zest one side of the lime, but be careful- you want to have two good rinds to use as the sails.

Cut the other side in half, then in thirds. Take one third of the lime and remove the flesh. This is the base or the hull of your boat.

Flip it around so it has the peel facing up, take your skewer and stick it in the centre of the rind and pull it through, leaving a centimetre at the bottom.

Now grab your rinds and cut them in half. Choose one side, then choose one piece that is slightly smaller than the other.

Fold the larger piece in half, rind side out, and stick it on to the skewer, repeat that step with the smaller piece. Those are the sails, try to space them out a bit.

For a cool added effect, simmer the boat in a small saucepan with 2 ounces of water and 3 ounces of sugar on medium heat. Remove after 5 minutes and sprinkle with sugar. You have just candied your sailboat!

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Frozen Watermelon Slices //

mini-watermelon
house made flavoured simple syrup
vodka (can also be flavoured)

tools:
knife
parchment paper
Vac-pac (bag or a container with a lid)

At the bar we have a machine in our kitchen that vacuum seals our infusions which helps speed up time, but you can do this at home with a simple airtight container.

Slice up your mini watermelon and place the slices in a vac pac with the vodka and our house-made syrup. Seal it and let it sit in a fridge for 6 hours, then place the slices on parchment paper in a container and leave them in the freezer overnight. Frozen slices can be used the next day and they stay fresh for up to a week.

If you don’t have access to a vacuum sealer, simply put the watermelon slices (1 layer) in a container and fill it with vodka and syrup for about a day, then wrap and freeze. Make sure to keep everything chilled for this process!

In the end the frozen watermelon acts as an extra component to chill the drink and won’t dilute the flavour. Plus once the drink is finished the watermelon will have defrosted and you can eat it for an extra kick!

*Note: make sure you keep the recipe ratio at 1/2oz vodka and 1oz syrup per watermelon slice or they won’t freeze!

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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One of the best things about moving in with Johanna last fall was gaining access to her massive collection of gorgeous gems and crystals. A drawing and painting grad from OCAD, Jo makes the most incredibly intricate gem paintings (check out her Etsy shop here), and there is no shortage of “models” in her collection. Together we created a little “magic garden” by the window, and it’s a constant source of positivity and inspiration in our home.

The idea to make crystal themed cocktails first drifted into our heads when we spotted The Cocktail Emporium’s faceted gem-like glassware. As soon as we had delivered our new set safely home the creative wheels started turning, and in the end this hazy purple tea-infused magic potion is what we brewed up. Don’t worry- no cauldron required!

Before we dive into the recipe, here’s a few words from team RAOP’s resident crystal expert, Johanna:

“Let me start by saying I don’t believe in magic. Shocking, I know since my job here at RAOP consists almost entirely of chasing it around, documenting it in its various pastel forms & sharing it. It’s not to say I don’t think magic is real, but to me magic is rooted in science and the all wonders happening around us every day. I first became obsessed with gemstones and minerals after taking a course at OCADU called The Science of Colour. Since then I’ve started collecting specimens large and small, I have countless books about rocks of all sorts, and my entire wall is covered in drawings and paintings of them!

The idea of microscopic defects in the crystal structure of a quartz resulting in a rainbow of shapes and colours, each unique to the next, or the process of a simple quartz undergoing years of irradiation to become a beautiful Amethyst in all its purple glory – these things seem much more magical to me than spells & potions- that being said, here is our very own version of a magic potion inspired by my favourite natural wonder”

Scroll down for recipe

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Ingredients //

David’s Tea Grape Freeze Green Tea
Chambord liqueur
Gin
Thirsty Whale’s Blueberry Lavender Shrub cocktail mix
Rock Candy garnish
Sugar crystal rim

Recipe //

Yields one 6oz glass.

Make a tea concentrate by steeping 3 teaspoons of Grape Freeze green tea in 4 oz boiling water for 2-3 mins, let cool.

Pour some sugar crystals into a small dish, use a citrus wedge to rim each glass.

In a cocktail shaker add 1 oz Chambord, 1 oz Gin, about a teaspoon Lavender Blueberry syrup, and the cooled tea concentrate. Shake until combined and pour over ice!

Garnish with a stick of rock candy.

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Glassware from BYOB Cocktail Emporium