10 Nov Autumn and The Mason Jar. The prefect companions.
By Shane Beehan
Autumn is both my favourite and most frustrating of all the seasons. It holds the last of the summer sun, it welcomes the first winter frost, and it turns from green to yellow to red to dull brown all in a matter of a few short weeks. There’s a short window where there’s a perfect time to hike, explore and experience our natural world before it’s covered in ice and snow. It’s the last chance to pack a picnic, dine al fresco, and sit under the open sky with open mouths. Celebratory cocktails help soak in these fleeting moments, and with a little preparation and attention to detail, you can take your cocktails to go and enjoy them in the middle of wherever you want to be. It is my opinion that it’s not what you drink; it’s where you drink it that really enhances the experience.
Temperature and dilution are two of the most important variables in cocktails. In principle, there is no chilling without dilution, and there is no dilution without chilling. After shaking or stirring, roughly one-quarter of your cocktail is the dilution rendered from ice. This ratio is always different for shaken and stirred cocktails. Of course, individual preference for taste is always the key factor. An effortless way to take drinks on the go is to add a measured amount of filtered water to your cocktail and put in the freezer or fridge to chill. Transport them in a clean, pre-chilled thermos or coffee mug. Another great option is mulled wine or sangria. You can mull some wine and add it hot to a thermos on your way out of the door, or you can infuse your wine with some liqueur, bitters, spices and fruit and let those flavours marry as you search for a secret picnic spot. You can bring some block ice in a Ziplock bag wrapped in a towel and cut cubes to order if you prefer your sangria chilled.
Mason jars are one of my greatest off-the-bar cocktail tools. They can be used to shake or stir cocktails. They seal perfectly, store liquids or solids, and are generally the perfect utilitarian glass: great for what I like to call a Go-Jito, which is a mojito on the go. Before I head out on a hike, I muddle half a lime with some simple syrup, add some mint and rum, dash some bitters, seal the jar, place it in my backpack and let those flavours mingle. When I am far into my hike and ready to enjoy, I find a rock, crush some ice in my towel, add it to the jar and top with soda water. Mojito’s are best enjoyed when they are fresh and lively, and I know of no better experience than to sip on one with the fresh scent of evergreens caught in the cool winds of autumn. Just remember, pack light, and leave no trace, both in nature and the bottom of your glass.
Shane Beehan has been working professionally in the hospitality industry for 15 years and is the Bar Manager for Lot Six in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
2oz / 30mL local white rum
Half a lime cut into 4 wedges
1tsp white sugar
Herb blend (foraged or cultivated)
6-8 drops Bittered Sling Grapefruit & Hops bitters
2-3oz cold soda water
In a 500ml mason jar muddle lime, bitters, sugar and your choice of fresh and bright herbs, spearmint and sage are used here. Once well muddled, add rum and ice and seal mason jar. Shake hard, then top with more ice and soda. Take with you on the go or make one instantly where you find yourself in the wild.