I meet Shawn at The Oxley on Toronto’s tony Yorkville Avenue, while Diane is shopping on nearby Bloor Street. He tells me the story of the man whose credit card was stolen by a thief. Please keep it, the man cries, I’m sure you’ll spend less than my wife. Actually Diane shows up having rejected a little nothing priced at $1,395 at one store and bought something economical, for our upcoming trip to Boston, at Winners. Whew!
Meanwhile, Josh, bartender and cocktail experimenter extraordinaire, has lined up the ingredients for the most expensive cocktail served at The Oxley, proudly named Gentleman’s Portion and retailing at $16. It’s selling well, he says. I ask what happens if I don’t like it? Nonplussed, he admits “I don’t know.” Andrew, owner and chef, has observed this byplay and gives the correct answer: “We’ll change it.” Fortunately, I like it very much.
After watching a demonstration of the four ingredients being mixed, the Gentleman’s Portion is proffered straight up for a taste. Wow! First sensation is that it’s strong. There’s a pleasant bitter taste of pine and herbs followed by a hint of the sweetness of maple syrup. The robust blended premium Scotch base shines through.
The ingredients are a gentleman’s portion of 12-year-old Chivas Regal, a good shot of Akvavit, in this case the dill and coriander flavoured Danish Aalborg Jubilæums, a healthy portion of house-made maple Amaro and finally a few drops of house-made tarragon and pine bitters, shaken on ice and poured straight up. Later I ask for it to be served on the rocks, which makes it a colder drink and a little softer on the palate. I prefer it on the rocks, and indeed this is how I usually drink a blended Scotch.
Diane is delighted with the inclusion of Jubilæums, which she used to enjoy with a tall glass of Tuborg at the long-gone Copenhagen Room at the Danish Food Centre. She declines to taste the Gentleman’s Portion, but she does have a glass of the Akvavit.
It may be the most expensive cocktail on their speciality list, but it’s a well-priced drink considering what’s gone into it. I would think the total volume of liquor is three ounces, so individually served the price would be about $22.
It’s great fun to have a cocktail named after my blog. I’ll be found on the patio at The Oxley during the summer enjoying a Gentleman’s Portion, or two.
PS: Please leave a comment if you found something useful or interesting in this story. Or please add your own experiences with cocktails.