Bar Begonia is next in line to open as part of restaurateur Anthony Rose‘s next project, and on Thursday December 3rd, we got a sneak peak of the Paris-meets-Brooklyn style resto-bar. Tucked away in a standalone building with 3 large windows, Bar Begonia is a few steps away from two of his other Rose & Sons restaurants: Fat Pasha and Big Crow, making it his 6th one in the Annex.
To start off the winter festivities, Oliver Stern, the general manager of Bar Begonia, demonstrated some impressive mixology techniques in making the perfect holiday cocktails. With citrus fruits in season, Sunkist inspired much of it, bringing in light, refreshing, and tangy drinks for everyone to enjoy.
Citrus Fizz is a non-alcoholic sparkling soda mixed with lavender syrup, grapefruit and lemon juice, making it one of the easiest, yet most delicious drinks of the night. This refreshing drink can be paired with much of the delicious bites as presented. The sweetness of the meyer lemon juice went well with the saltiness of the charcuterie board classics (Chicken liver foie gras mousse, blue cheese, goat cheese, salami, prosciutto, jamon, pickled beets, pickled onions, and pickled romanesco).
Sunkist Pummelo was agreeable to be trickier to juice since pitting the meat out is harder, but Oliver, a former mixologist for Toronto Temperance Society, made it work in Pummelo Spritz, primarily Tequila and St. Germain. He added meyer lemon, known for its herbacious floral note and unique tarteness, and a pinch of salt, to balance out the cocktail’s bitterness. The drink’s great flavour and tropical taste, which paired well with the Coville Bay oysters, were also topped with pomelo rinds and champagne.
Winter Spice Punch is the perfect drink to warm up to during the holiday season. The sweetness of the clementine juice, cherry brandy liquor, and bourbon is smoothed out with the spice from the angostura bitters and vermouth. With a merry red colour, it is extremely festive for the holidays. The appetizer served alongside was a duck rillette on a toasted baguette, with fat confit, orange zest juice, and parsley for flavour.
Ending off with a dessert cocktail was the Merry Meyer, similar to a creamy lemon eggnog. The main components included chamomile-infused gin. A pointer he had was to dry-shake all the ingredients without ice so that the egg whites would fully emulsify into a meringue. A lemon cream puff’s sour tarteness was a good pairing with the frothy drink.
It was an absolute pleasure learning from Oliver Stern, the versatility of using Sunkist citrus fruits. The refreshing aromatics from the oil, zest, and pulp were all demonstrated to be equal counterparts in making the perfect holiday cocktail. Since citrus is in this winter season so what better way than to celebrate than to entertain guests with the Holiday Mixology secrets.
Photos by Janey Tso