VICTORIA BOOK PRIZES 2020 COCKTAIL RECIPES

The 2020 Victoria Book Prizes cocktails have been created by Rebecca Wellman.

Celebrating and gathering online is certainly a new way to attend events in 2020. In this spirit, allow me to be your virtual bartender. There are endless options, from simply pouring yourself a lovely French Pinot or enjoying a fine smoky scotch, to creating one of the cocktails (or mocktails) below.

Fall French 75

Makes one cocktail

The French 75 is a classic dating back to the early 1900s. This version has a slight twist to ring in the fall season and add another layer of autumnal flavour. As written, this recipe calls for a homemade syrup. If you prefer not to go to the effort, search for a pear or apple liqueur to replace the syrup (Belle de Brillet pear liqueur or Calvados apple brandy are good options). Or keep it totally genuine and omit the pear from the cocktail altogether.

2 oz London Dry gin
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
¾ oz pear simple syrup (see recipe below)
Champagne, Brut, or Prosecco
lemon twist for garnish

Combine gin, lemon juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker or a large Mason jar and add ice. Cover and shake until very cold, about 20 seconds. Pour into a champagne flute, top up with the bubbly, and garnish with the lemon twist.

PEAR SIMPLE SYRUP

1 ripe pear, cored and roughly chopped (you can leave the skin on)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

In a small pot bring all ingredients to a soft boil over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge. Strain through a fine sieve and keep the syrup in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The pear solids are great over ice cream!

OPTION: If you would like this to be a non-alcoholic drink, stir 2 oz of pear simple syrup and 1 oz of lemon juice together, fill the glass with ice, and top with soda water to taste.

Pineapple and Mint with Bourbon

Makes one cocktail

This cocktail is a mix of bright summer flavours and warming bourbon. If fresh pineapple is available, core, peel, cut into slices, and throw them on the grill for a few minutes on each side. Chop, then muddle one ring of grilled pineapple in the shaker before adding the mint. This will add another depth of flavour. And if bourbon isn’t up your alley, try replacing it with dark rum.

3–4 mint sprigs for the glass, plus 10 mint leaves
2 oz pineapple juice (Ceres is a great one)
2 oz bourbon (I recommend Bulleit or Maker’s Mark)
½ oz simple syrup (see recipe below)
1 oz fresh lemon juice
mint sprig for garnish

Fill a rocks glass with ice and mint sprigs.

Place the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker or a large Mason jar. With a muddler or a wooden spoon, tap the mint gently to bruise it, but do not break it. Add the pineapple juice, bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice, and lots of ice. Cover and shake until very cold, about 20 seconds.

Strain the cocktail through a fine sieve into the prepared glass. Garnish with the mint sprig.

SIMPLE SYRUP

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

In a small pot bring sugar and water to a soft boil over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Syrup will keep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

OPTION: If you would like this to be a non-alcoholic drink, simply omit the bourbon. Once you’ve shaken the ingredients, strain into the prepared glass and top with soda water to taste.

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