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Category: Drinks

Are Outdoor Restaurants Making a Come Back Thanks to Covid? Thumbnail

There is no point in telling you just how much covid and the following restrictions that came with the virus have had an effect on all of our lives, now that we are seeing infection rates lowered thanks to the determination of the world and the isolation periods we have all been through. Restaurants are opening their doors again in order to salvage the loss of income that has been faced by the entire events and hospitality industry. While the covid numbers may be on the decrease, many people are still very wary of going back out in open and public spaces with other people. After so long sheltering in our homes it makes sense that there would be some anxiety present, but businesses are really doing all they can to recover lost income

This article will be looking at how you can stay safe while doing something for the good of your health and getting out of the house to treat yourself and your loved ones to a nice meal. There is a much lower risk of catching the virus if you are in an outdoor area with plenty of personal space and air circulation. This means that you are able to safely go out and socialize after so long away from your friends, which is also why many restaurants are encouraging guests to book their outdoor spaces, especially now that we are finally getting some nice weather also.

Restrictions Being Lowered

It has been a long few months of non-essential retail closures, an hour a day of exercise, and sifting through the shows you have left to watch on Netflix, all of this hard work has resulted in a steady slowing of the virus’ spread so restrictions have eased for the time being. With talks of a sudden reappearance of covid rules, if a spike in infections should occur, you should definitely make the most of this sudden grace period if you feel fine to do so. All current guidelines can be found online, so if you are unsure of anything regarding what is in place in your area then I would highly recommend checking out the relevant sites. You also need to stick to testing regularly and wearing your mask when you know you may be interacting with large groups.

Socializing After so Long Indoors

Staying inside for so long has been a drain on your mental health whether you are aware of it or not, this is why it may be a good idea for you to try stepping out of your comfort zone and going out for a few hours while restrictions allow it. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, just a quiet night with your loved ones in a nice restaurant, this could be a much-needed morale boost in what has been some very trying times and circumstances for us all.

Boosting the Food and Drink Industry

Another reason why outdoor restaurants are making a comeback is due to the dire need for a boost in income within the hospitality and catering industry, while many businesses have been making do and implementing deliveries and take-out options within current covid restrictions. There has still been a big loss that has resulted in stress and money issues for those affected, it is now time for these businesses within the catering industry to do all they can to bring in new customers and raise the profits to make back some of what they lost. This is why so many businesses are offering special offers to try and get people through the doors again, with the fear of restrictions coming back as motivation.

Redecorating and Rebranding

While there is an opportunity to boost the business again we have also seen many restaurants and bars have had a little makeover during the lockdown, this again is a good idea to take advantage of all of the spare time and attract customers to return now that restrictions have eased. From remarkable interior transformations to fresh gardens and landscaping for perfect outdoor hosting are just some of the redecorating jobs we have seen. If you are a restaurant owner in the Victoria area then finding a landscaper in Victoria BC, should be very easy with a variety of reputable companies in the vicinity, who will be able to work wonders on your outdoor spaces.

Is it safe to go out again?

For those of you that are worried about going out again after so long away from other people, you should try and avoid stressing about it. As long as you are following vaccination and testing advice, isolating when you are told to do so, and wearing your mask you should be absolutely fine to treat yourself to a night off and have a nice meal with the family. With some of the discounts and special offers that you can get right now, it would be a real shame to miss out.

Trying New Foods

While many of us have been trying to cook new and interesting things during the lockdown, it is safe to say that some of the experiments may not have been successful. This new freedom to get out for a few hours in the evening again is also the perfect opportunity to try a new food that you may not have ever had before, which will also make it a nice and memorable experience amongst some of the more stressful memories of the year.

Surefire Ways to Host a Successful Dinner Party Thumbnail

Last year left us all feeling a little social deprived. The only people we were really allowed to hang out with were the people that we lived with, which got quite tiresome after a while. It is likely that you spent the majority of the year making plans with your friends and family, but now that you can do these plans, you probably feel slightly anxious.

Being away from people for so long has made many of us unsure of how to do some of the most basic social activities. Though we miss them, we can’t quite remember how to do them without feeling slightly awkward. If you spent the last year making plans, it is likely that a dinner party was on the cards, and you have to host it.

When you haven’t been able to host something for the best part of a year, you may feel as though you have lost your hosting touch. Stay calm, hosting a party is like riding a bike. However, if you are still feeling worried, here are some sure-fire ways to host a successful dinner party,

Make Sure the Food Goes off Without a Hitch

Though a big part of dinner parties is the ambience and the mood, the food is what everyone is turning up for. Planning your menu is a very important part of the night and the last thing that you want is to make food that nobody enjoys.

Don’t be afraid to ask your friends about their likes and dislikes, as they will appreciate that you are going to the effort to make sure that they are catered to. Once you know what everyone dislikes, you can ensure that you don’t put it on your menu.

If you are cooking a specific meat, it is recommended that you ask your guests how they prefer for it to be cooked. This will once again show that you are putting a bit of thought into the evening and will also ensure that everyone enjoys what they are eating, which is bound to put everyone in an excellent mood.

Put Together Some Entertainment

If you haven’t seen your friends for some time, it can be a little awkward trying to plan an evening together. The last thing that you want is an incredibly awkward silence, so to avoid this, you can host a few games. To start your night off, you can play a few rounds of the never have i ever game to reveal secrets. This will get everyone laughing and will be a fantastic way to catch up and hear what everyone has been doing in the last year. If you have a few drinks flowing, then everyone will be extremely open with their questions. Once you have heard people’s deepest secrets, it feels almost impossible to feel awkward around them, so everyone will feel a lot more relaxed.

You can also add some fun challenges and classic party games to the mix. It has always been said that no dinner party is complete without a few games of charades, so get out the sand timer and wait for the laughter to start.

Introduce Fun Cocktails

There is nothing more impressive than making signature cocktails for your guests. Absolutely everybody loves a cocktail and so a great way to impress your guests is by producing a creative cocktail. You can also get your guests involved in this process and have them make their own cocktails.

If you have someone at your dinner party that doesn’t drink, don’t worry. You can easily make them a delicious mocktail, as this will make them feel included in the events of the evening.

Offer a selection of desserts

Dessert is arguably the easiest part of your meal, as it can be kept in the fridge or freezer and you don’t have to worry about messing up the timing. Desserts can be bought and nobody will judge you for not making them, for this reason, we recommend that you get in a few options, as your guests may be in the mood for different desserts.

It is recommended that you keep a lighter dessert option in, as your guests may be too full to take on something heavy.

Art In Cooking: How The Alchemist Makes Their Cocktails Thumbnail

When it comes to artisanal cocktails with a twist, the Alchemist is undefeated. The chain of cocktail restaurants has made a name for itself by serving up some of the most captivating and unique drinks you will find anywhere. And you would be forgiven for thinking a lot of the whimsical mixtures are using magic to achieve such incredible effects.

But as magical as it all seems, it can all be explained by a mixture of art and science. The often unusual and cryptic world meets the logical and scientific in an extraordinary manner. And we are here to break down how it is all done. Be warned, this article will spoil some of the mystery surrounding the Alchemist cocktails so if you would rather not know, click away now.


The Mystical Fog

The most common sight you will see from these cocktails is the overflowing fountain of fog. Nothing is more exciting than seeing a bartender pour a small mixture into your drink and watching it explode into a volcano of froth. But how is this done?

The main component is a weaker version of dry ice. They have to manually make ice with an ice maker that is specifically designed to react with the alcoholic mixtures to suddenly expand and melt into this foggy substance. Normal dry ice can’t be used, of course, but this substitute is absolutely harmless.


Flavour Changing

Another common cocktail you can experience is a flavor changing one. These are designed to start as one flavor and turn into another after a certain amount has been drunk. And it is seemingly done by magic as the liquid itself looks the same the whole time. So what is going on within the drink?

Different liquids have different consistencies. This basically means some are thicker than others. Some are lighter than others. And because of these differences, they will react differently while in contact. But, being liquid, they will all still occupy the same space.

This is the basic principle being used to create the appearance of a flavor changing drink. In reality, the different flavored liquids are all there, it is just poured in a way that means one is buried under the other until the entire mixture is disturbed enough for it to breakthrough.


Colour Changing Madness

These cocktails provide the greatest visual pleasure for those at the bar. They start off as one basic color. But, after adding the rest of the drink, the liquid will start to shift through a veritable rainbow of colors. Spirals of glitter cascade up through the glass and the drink seemingly take on a life of its own.

This is a mixture of the previous idea of liquid consistency mixed with some simple color mixing. It is often just as simple as two liquids of opposing colors will turn the drink into a new one. But the effects are created by the bartender knowing how much of a certain liquid to add, and where to pour it as well. This lets them create the illusion of the color spewing out from a point within the drink.

The glitter effects are simply edible glitter or gold flakes added in and given a stir to create a whirlpool effect. Not the most incredible scientifically, but still a fantastic sight to behold.


All of this seems quite simple when said in these terms. But you have to keep in mind this is all mixed with a lot of creative thinking and planning. The way they utilize these simple techniques is incredibly complex. So we will keep some secrets hidden away from now.


Why You Need These Gadgets in your Kitchen Right Now! Thumbnail

These days we are spending more time than ever indoors, which has given us all the opportunity to try our hand at the world of culinary adventure. Trying to cook new and exciting dishes may mean that you need some new gadgets. Here are our top picks of must-have kitchen gadgets that will make your cooking experience way easier, as verified by the guys over at nononsenseninja.


Four slot toaster

If you haven’t got a four-slot toaster then you have been missing out. Though this may seem like basic tech, using a four-slot toaster will make your everyday cooking experience way easier. This is especially the case if you are someone with a large family, as you will be able to make lots of your morning toast at the same time. It will save you a lot of time and also means that making the rest of your meal will be much more efficient.


Smart fridge freezer

How many times have you had to deal with the following scenario? Unforeseeably your fridge freezer temperature has been far too cold and you have had to deal with your perishable goods housed in your fridge being frozen and then unfrozen, leaving your food items soggy and unusable. Having a smart fridge allows you to keep track of your freezer’s temperatures and means that you don’t have to deal with wasting money on rebuying foods.


Fusion food processor

Everybody needs to invest in a good food processor. A good food processor will allow you to complete a long line of never attempted foods and can be extremely useful if you are someone who is often left with a lot of waste product after cooking as you can blend what you have left and create an entirely new dish.

This Australian Food Festival is Changing the Cooking World Thumbnail

The Ballina food and wine festival is a unique and interesting food event displaying everything that makes great cuisine, its large following has only grown over every year the event is held. Its popularity has grown so much the festival now features two separate events in two amazing locations, held in the summer months you can expect to enjoy great food and wine under the beaming sun with like-minded food enthusiasts. The range of local produce that is available to sample and purchase is unlike any other event in the region, as well as a large array of produce native to Australia, Ballina also hosts food retailers from all over the world so there will definitely be something new for you to try.



Set in the modern, picturesque location of the Ballina Jockey club this food festival has a much more unique atmosphere than any other event out there. There is a sense of elegance around the festival with the club hosting a whole range of other prestigious events throughout the year. With long stretches of colorful and well-maintained gardens, this event is the perfect place to find a delicious new dish to sample, pair it with a glass of accompanying wine, and just relax. Where other events can overwhelm its visitors with a busy and sometimes hectic atmosphere, Ballina takes a more relaxed approach to how it is hosted.


Charity Support

As well as providing amazing food and wine, the Ballina festival works with a different charity organization every year, the fact that this event works so hard to provide its loyal visitors with a great festival whilst helping to raise money for charity really is commendable. As previously mentioned the Ballina also hosts a second event, the after-hours gala is hosted in order to show off a classier dining experience with live music and entertainment. As if the main festival wasn’t enough the dinner attracts an elegant clientele, with extra charity shows and a raffle with some pretty juicy prizes on offer, a large portion of the profits that are made also go towards charity.



The main focus of any food festival would have to be the food they offer, at Ballina there is no shortage of world cuisines for you to try. Below are just some of the types of food that are offered at this amazing event.


  • Mexican street food
  • Indian cuisine
  • Local Australian produce
  • Flavored Cheeses
  • Customizable Chinese noodle boxes
  • Shawarma
  • Artisan baked goods
  • Deli counter
  • Organic fruit and veg


That is just the tip of the iceberg and the best thing is they all offer a diverse range of foods at very reasonable prices, Ballina is very supportive of its local Australian businesses and has been inviting smaller retailers and Australian Catering Services to come and display what great dishes they have come up with.


If you are someone who enjoys good food and good wine then the Ballina festival is the one for you, not only will you find a range of delicious foods but you will be morally satisfied through the fact that the event is supporting local businesses whilst helping those in need through its charity work. The food festival is really paving the way to helping smaller food retailers in getting a solid footing on the market.


The food industry can be very competitive and getting a strong reputation can take a lot of time, by providing opportunities to smaller businesses Ballina is contributing to the success of small businesses around the globe and paving the way for the mainstream names in the future of the food industry. The cooking world is constantly changing, from trends in what food is popular and the innovative methods in how different meals are created, Ballina food and wine showcase it all and more!


If you find yourself lucky enough to attend this prestigious event then really relish in the opportunity to try some new cuisines, you may not find some of the produce anywhere else so take advantage of the opportunity to try something new, support small businesses and contribute to a very noble cause.

5 Drinking Games For Your Next Party Thumbnail

Drinking games are a great way to get your party started. Encouraging high levels of drinking culture in adolescence drinking games have been around for many years. Many only require one thing and that’s booze. If not it will be household related items accessible to almost everyone. It’s a cheap and easy. Typically partaken by students, dinner party guests and cool kids drinking games are for everyone over 18. The dark side of drinking games is the stepping stone into alcoholism. It can be dangerous, but that encourages the fun. The chance you could end up paralytic on the floor or nicely buzzed. Chances are you will end up on the floor but at least you will have fun doing it.


1 – Flip cup

You will need: a cup, alcohol, a table, friends.

A fun favorite is flip cup, a drinking game typically using an American red solo cup.

To participate:

  • get 2+ people and split into teams.
  • Set up a row of cups on the edge of the table for each team, fill will enough alcohol to shot.
  • As you race each other each member on the team must drink, successfully flip the cups a full 360 and land face down on the table.
  • The fastest team wins and the losers must drink again.

The pressure created from the alcohol fueled team game makes drinks go down much faster. It’s a quick way to get drunk, perfect for starting a party or before going out clubbing.


2 – Beer pong

You will need: cups, beer, a ping pong ball, a table

Classic beer pong need 2 players at a set time.

To participate:

  • Set up the cups in a triangle, 4 cups at the back moving upwards to 1 cup, similar to snooker ball formation. On opposite sides of the table.
  • Fill the cups with beer and stand behind them.
  • The aim is to bounce the ping pong ball across the table into one of the cups.
  • If a ball lands in your opponent’s cups, your opponent must drink it.
  • Once drunk the cup is removed, if several are removed reformat the cups into a smaller triangle
  • The winner removes all cups and the opponent must drink the winners remaining beer.

The aim of beer pong is to make your opponent drink more beer resulting in less accurate throws. It’s easy to learn and can be played by anyone with arms. Even though the name of the game is beer pong you can easily replace the beer with a substitute alcohol that is more palatable.


3 – Drunk Jenga

you will need: Jenga, alcohol, a pen

This is a more creative drinking game, involving tailored challenges created by yourself and your friends.

To participate:

  • Take a regular Jenga set and on each piece write a challenge or dare.
  • Build up the set
  • Each participant must remove a block from the tower and place it on the top of the pile using one hand
  • Each block removed the challenge or dare must be played
  • If the tower falls you finish your drink, pick up two blocks and complete the challenges


4 – Never have I ever

You will need: only alcohol and friends to play the never have I ever drinking game.

This is a more communicative drinking game for you and your mates.

To participate:

  • Either using prompts or your own statements, say your statements to the group and drink depending on your answer
  • For example, ‘never have I ever eaten something from the floor’ if you have, you take a drink!

The more embarrassing statements make good ice breakers at a party, gathering, dinner party or pre-drinks. It’s a quick and easy way to get to know your friends and acquaintances.


5 – most likely

you will need: drinks and friends

best played with friends and people you know as it tests the mutual knowledge of people’s personalities

To participate:

  • A group of you sit in a circle and each person takes turns to ask, ‘most likely’ questions
  • For example, ‘most likely to commit a crime’ as a group you point to the selected person who is most likely to.
  • The person with the majority votes drinks as many times as the votes they received.

This is a great was to bond with your friends and expose people.



Stephanie’s First Mixology Lesson – by Stephanie Yuen Thumbnail

For us Chinese, the lunar new year is just around the corner! I guess it’s time to review the past year and make some new resolutions to embrace 2011.

Resolutions? Mine are typical: Eat healthy, exercise more, relax, live well, have fun! Shall I say, at least 50% of the above can be achieved.

2010 review? Proud to say it was a great year for me! I was smart enough to make some right decisions, said ‘no, thank you’ when needed to, had lots of great eats, spent valuable times with real friends, started a bilingual blog and embarked on my ‘Vancouver Cooks Asian’ cookbook project.

Oh, I also had my first mixology lesson, at Yew Restaurant & Bar inside Four Seasons Hotel! Maybe it’s no big deal to many of you, but for someone like me who nods off after sipping only 1 oz. of cocktail; that was my milestone!

The afternoon was spent in two parts: Learn how to make ‘Molecular Mango Ravioli’ in the shape of a sphere from Pastry Chef Wayne Kozinko and had a blast. Thanks to Kozinko, who was smart and nice enough to come up with an easy-to-manage recipe so no one made a fool of oneself but had fun and laughter all the way.

The mixology lesson, on the other hand, didn’t go quite as easy. The mixing part, done mostly by bartender Justin Taylor, was a piece of cake.

It’s the shaking part that required too much ‘fitness’ and even some ‘kungfu’ moves, resulting mostly in panting and sore arms. But watching Justin showcasing the process of making a delicious drink from scratch as he explained how each element, each flavour and each step bind in together, was priceless. I would never be able to go behind the bar and start shaking and mixing, but I now appreciate the arts and science behind each carefully measured and mastered cocktail!

For those who would like to play bartender while celebrating Lunar New Year, here is the recipe of this drink I totally indulged in that afternoon.

Maple Brule


2 oz Rye Whisky
1oz lemon juice
1oz apple uice
1/2 oz maple syrup
3/4 oz pasteurized eggwhites

cinnamon sugar


Mix all ingredients together in cocktail shaker
Add ice and shake vigorously until foamy
Pour slowly into a coupe glass
There will be a thick layer of foam on top
Dust eggswhites with cinnamon sugar
With a small blow torch, brule the cinnamon sugar until a crisp sugar crust forms.