Showing posts with label product. Show all posts
Showing posts with label product. Show all posts

Tasting Bob's Super Smooth Vodka

Launched by Ontario’s Black Fly Beverage Company, the same brewery that sells ready-to-drink bottles with bold flavours such as sour grape and long island iced tea, Bob’s Super Smooth vodka is more laid back – sort of like the shaka sign that adorns the bottle that’s popular with surf culture conveying the concept of hanging loose or embodying the Hawaiian welcoming spirit.

What sets Bob’s Super Smooth apart is it’s made from whey – they milky liquid leftover when cheese is made – rather than potato or grain, which traditional vodka is derived from. After being triple distilled and charcoal filtered, they hope to craft a spirit that’s smooth with little burn.

To put the claim to the test, I rounded up a group of friends for a blind taste test between Bob’s Super Smooth and Absolut. The comparison was chosen for two reasons:

  • The price points are similar at the LCBO: For a 750ml bottle, Absolut is $27.45 while Bob’s Super Smooth a touch less at $26.95; and
  • Previously, I had conducted another blind vodka tasting using premium spirits and had thrown in Absolut as a decoy (to see if the premium pricing of fancier vodkas really mattered) and Absolut actually faired pretty well.

The results? The majority of the group preferred Bob’s Super Smooth, but admitted the difference between the two were minimal. Indeed, they could feel the burn with both of them – but then I did was mean and made everyone sip the vodka plain with some lemon slices as chasers.

My own experience yielded similar results: you could still feel Bob’s Super Smooth as it went down the throat but the effects were lighter and there’s a faint almost berry sweetness in the background. After being mixed with juice or water with a squeeze of lime the results are much better; with juice you can’t even taste it anymore.

For the price, the Bob’s Super Smooth definitely is one you should try. After a few glasses, I’m sure you’ll even start hanging looser.

Disclaimer: The above vodka was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada 

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Get ready, the LCBO has some new drinks this summer!

We’ve finally had a couple of sunny weekends and lounging on patios and BBQ parties are returning! I can’t wait, it’s the perfect time of the year to be in Canada; where the weather is hot but not so stifling that you can’t stay outdoors. Of course, safety precautions are in order: sunscreen to avoid getting burnt and plenty of drinks to stay hydrated.

Luckily, the LCBO has you covered with new drinks hitting the shelves this summer. Over May, I had the opportunity to attend two launch events to try the ready-made-drinks before it arrived in stores.

For those who know me, aside from wine, my go-to drink is a vodka water with lime – it’s not fancy but is refreshing and seems like a smart choice to consume water with alcohol. Truth be told, it may have something to do with too many sugary Mike’s Hard Lemonades in high school or the better but still sweet Pure Source and Vex of first year university. I’ve grown tired of downing all that sugar and the awful hangovers it leaves you with the next day.

So, when I heard about SoCIAL LITE, a sugar-free sparkling vodka drink, I was intrigued. Started by Dan and Kevin, two friends who wanted a healthier alternative to pre-mixed drinks, they began mixing up concoctions in their own kitchens and using friends and family as focus groups to perfect the recipe. Eventually they came up with two flavours using natural ingredients: lime ginger and lemon cucumber mint.

Having tried both they were very easy drinking despite using no sugars or sweeteners, which means each can is only 80 calories! The lime ginger is the closest to my go-to vodka water with the ginger adding a calming property to the drink. But, I could easily switch to the lemon cucumber mint if the LCBO ever stocks it (for now they will only be carrying to lime ginger for $9.95 for a four pack) as it’s extremely refreshing and makes me feel like I’m drinking at a spa. The only danger is its taste – the can kept emptying so easily!

Mill Street Brewery’s Hard Root Beer (

Being a hard root beer, this drink is of course sweet, so I don’t see myself having more than two at a time. But, this product is perfect for those days that I’m craving a really satisfying drink, something you just sip and enjoy.

Already growing in popularity in the U.S., Toronto’s Mill Street Brewery is making their own hard soda combining root beer with their Vanilla Porter bierschnaps. The resulting drink is reminiscent of root beer but not quite as sweet and has a stronger more adult flavour than a typical A&W: there’s an earthiness to the drink with hints of cinnamon and licorice peeking through.

Available at the LCBO for $14.85 per 6 pack, the hard root beer even comes in the iconic glass bottles. These would be great for parties and likely make some interesting root beer floats!

Congratulations to Canada’s drink industry for coming out with some fantastic new products. I, for one, am happy that it’s no longer all about wines and craft beers – delicious products but I love variety! Pre-mixed drinks are making a comeback and I’m glad there’s at least two wonderful additions this summer.

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Casa Manila Sauces

After a delicious media dinner, Casa Manila sent us all home with a bottle of their sauce so we could attempt creating a Filipino dish at home. This was what owner, Mila, envisioned when looking for something to complement the restaurant. Her mission was to find another way they could introduce Canadians to Filipino cuisine without opening another restaurant.

So, they worked with George Brown’s culinary division to develop a large batch recipe of their popular sauces so customers and purchase and use at home ($8.99). From the nutty Kare Kare, creamy and light coconut ginger coconut or tangy and zesty adobo sauce each has a distinct flavor profile. To inspire us, a cooking demonstration was done at the restaurant where parboiled vegetables or meat were stir fried to make a meal in less than 30 minutes.

I've always been a “just wing it” type of girl with cooking (unless I'm hosting a dinner party) so rather than relying on a recipe I made up my own. Somehow, the slow cooker seemed like a good option where I could throw in a bunch of ingredients and allow the chicken to cook in the adobo sauce seeping in all its flavours. After all, to me, cooking is like art where you need to just play with ingredients until you develop something that meets your unique tastes.

First, a layer of sliced onions were placed on the bottom of the slow cooker to add more aromatics to the sauce. This was followed by about 10 drumsticks of skinless chicken as food blogger Adrienne noted bone-in is best to give the dish a richer flavour. 

Next the entire jar of adobo sauce was poured in and cooked with the chicken and onions for about three hours on low. Wanting to add more to the dish, I decided to throw in some shrimp and long eggplant near the end for about an hour more on the high setting. When I could smell the wonderful vinegary garlicky sauce permeating through the air the dish was done!

Paired with steamed rice and green beans the meal was complete and looked impressive. I'd like to say that it was a resounding success and I should immediately publish this recipe for the blogosphere to see, but unfortunately things need to be tweaked and perhaps this art form wasn't one of my best creations.

Don't get me wrong, it was edible. But, if I were to attempt this again there would definitely be changes including:
  • Not using the entire jar of adobo sauce. I’d save a third of the bottle so a sauce could be made later and drizzled on top of everything. Unfortunately, with the onions and other ingredients the sauce in the slow cooker became very watery and not the most appetizing.
  • Skip the shrimp as how long to cook them is hard to gauge and I definitely over did them in the slow cooker.
  • Finally, I found the adobo sauce was more acidic than I would've liked. So, adding another sauce like hoisin or sweet bean paste, may be better to cut down the tanginess for my taste.
Although it wasn’t a success, it was so easy to use this sauce at home. And I'm sure that this was what Mila had in mind when Casa Manila developed the sauces. At home chefs need something else to use to help spark their creativity and broaden their tastes. I'd love to hear about your adventures with the sauces, so please contact me with what you did with it and if it’s a successful recipe please send it to me so I can share it on this post.

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 879 York Mills Road

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