Enjoying classic cocktails at D.W. Alexander

bartender - dwalexander

Things that were once popular can be so once again. This is why we constantly reintroduce items or styles from the past. Even though they stopped being popular, that doesn’t mean they are diminished in any way, which is why when certain trends reemerge after a time in the wilderness they attain a large following and popularity.

In the world of cocktails, trend is one of the most important elements which make something good. Let’s be honest, no one is drinking cocktails because of the quality liquor inside of it or its premium taste. If you prefer excellent whiskey, you wouldn’t mix it up with something like Coca-Cola. The thing which makes cocktails so great is their fun factor. Simply put, there is nothing that can light up your mood like fluorescent beverage. As of late, much like the cupcake, there is a great resurgence of once popular cocktails. Some Toronto bars and lounges, such as D.W. Alexander, would like to restore a classic taste to this modern reemergence. With its gentleman’s study room theme, it is only logical that most of their cocktails are from 19th and early 20th century. Here are some of their most popular cocktails. They are delicious and easy to make so you can even try to enjoy them by making them at home.

dwalexander - cocktails

Old fashioned

This cocktail is so old that we can even call it “Grandpa cocktail”. It is one of the first cocktails to achieve wide popularity which comes as no surprise given that both Brits and American love whiskey. The cocktail is pretty simply to make and you don’t need any special purchases for it.

First, put sugar cube into a glass. Splash it with bitters and a little bit of water. Start muddling the cube until it’s dissolved. After its ready, pour whiskey and add a few ice cubes.

Clover Club

Some of the cocktails were made in order to promote certain club or to commemorate an event. When it comes to Clover Club, it was made in Philadelphia in 1917 and it was official drink of a club that bore this name.

  • 5cl Gin
  • 5cl Lemon Juice
  • 5cl Raspberry Syrup (or Grenadine)
  • 1 Egg White

Shake all the ingredients without ice so that the mix can get certain thickness. Afterwards, add ice into the shaker, shake a bit and then stir into a glass.


Another cocktail made on beginning of 20th century, Aviation is characteristic for its sky-blue color. Unfortunately, the main ingredient which gave it such color, Crème de Violette, was unavailable in US and Canada for quite a long time. Luckily for us, with return of this liquor, we are once again able to enjoy this great drink.

  • 5 cl gin
  • 5 cl lemon juice
  • 5 cl maraschino liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon Crème de Violette

Put all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake it and then stir into a glass.

dwalexander - bar

This is a guest post by D.W. Alexander

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake


I have long been looking for a really good basic chocolate cake recipe that works gluten free. I have a few fancy ones with many ingredients but I wanted something that I could use for a birthday cake, something I could fill with butter cream and top with Smarties and eat a wedge of with a cold glass of milk. This recipe from the Primrose Bakery Cookbook is exactly what I was looking for, my Mum and my sister, both seasoned bakers and wedding cake makers are big fans of the recipes from this book and I have been meaning to try this for a while. I was home in Cork last weekend for my Mum’s birthday so a cake had to be made for the birthday dinner and as we have several wheat free and gluten free people in the family I took the opportunity to finally try this out.

Of course my sister Deb took my three layers of sponge and worked her considerable magic to create a towering six layer cake, sandwiched alternately with raspberry mousse and white chocolate, coated in dark chocolate ganache, decorated with white and dark chocolate. My sister knows no fear when it comes to cakes.

The recipe I am giving here is for the cake only but if anyone would like the recipe for the mousse or the ganache please let me know in the comments.

I made this as three 8 inch cakes but I think I will try it again as two 9 inch cakes sandwiched and topped with a good thick layer of chocolate buttercream. I think this cake would also be beautiful layered with cream and raspberries or strawberries.



Chocolate Cake from the Primrose Bakery: Gluten Free


230g grams 70% dark choc
170g unsalted butter, room temp
350g dark or light soft brown sugar ( the recipe called for light but I had dark and it was fine)
3 large eggs, seperated
370g Doves Farm Gluten Free self- raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powdert
1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
500ml semi-skimmed milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre heat oven to 170c /375f/gas mark 5.
• Grease and line three 20cm / 8 inch cake tins with greaseproof paper.
• Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, once fully melted set to one side to cool.
• Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy.
• Add the egg yolks to the batter one at a time and beat well.
• Pour the cooled melted chocolate in to the batter and beat until fully incorporated.
• Sift the GF flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in to a separate bowl.
• Combine the milk and vanilla in a jug.
• Add one third of the flour to the batter and mix well, pour in one third of the milk and mix.again. Repeat, alternating the remaining flour and milk.

• In a clean dry bowl whisk the egg whites to the soft peak stages and then carefully fold in to the cake mix using a metal spoon. Use one spoon of the egg whites to loosen the batter and then add the remaining egg whites in two batches, folding gently.

• Divide the batter between the three tins and bake for 30minutes, insert a skewer in to the centre of tone of the layers and if the skewer comes out clean the cake is done.
• Allow to cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.


Decorate as you wish, be as restrained or as ambitious as you like, this sponge will take it. This cake is lovely, the flavour is great and you will get great height and texture even using GF flour.

A Singleton’s take

In the run up to Valentines I thought we would reach out to our favourite single lady: Maire, to see if she had any sage words about surviving this annual treat. Here is what she offered …..

 A Singleton's Take

Are you single? Are you crying every day because your life has no meaning without someone else to validate it? Do you fear family occasions, such as weddings? Are you wondering how you will fill the void of life until death? Is your biological clock whacking you in the face every morning? Are you worried that you’re becoming a burnt out husk with zero capacity for love? Do you feel like you need the special tax breaks that come with being married? Are you terrified of being alone for ever?

Well fear not, I’m a singleness expert and I’m here to help.

Worried about dying alone?

Well doesn’t everyone die alone? Unless you’ve entered into some sort of death-pact with someone. And if you have, more power to you! Marriage and romantic partnership can’t hold a candle to the commitment of a death pact!

Worried about dying and not being found for days/eaten by cats?

Look, you’ll be dead. This is important, because it will mean you won’t have to clean the mess up. And let’s face it, it’s better than worrying about who will feed you cats. You’ll be feeding your cats. If you really don’t want to be eaten by cats, don’t get cats. The only reason cats don’t eat you while alive is that you’re bigger than them… Do you have a cat now? Do you wonder if it’s thinking about eating your delicious flesh? I promise you that it absolutely is.

What if I’m unlovable?

If you’re unlovable well then you’re better off single. If you were unlovable and in a relationship that’d be really crap. Your cheeky smile after you stinked up the bathroom would have no effect. And there’d be nothing to mitigate the annoying sounds you make while you sleep. In short you’d probably end up murdered. Do you want to be murdered?

What about love?

I’m going to be serious here for a minute. Romantic love is not the only form of love, and romantic heartbreak is not the only form of heartbreak. If you want love in your life, then cultivate it in the relationships you already have with family and friends, and the weird guy in the shop or whoever. I can’t promise they won’t break your heart though.

What about children?

Some people have the urge to procreate. Some people do not. Some people aren’t sure. If you really want to have children more than anything else, then find a way to do that. You can be single and have children – many people do. There are also lots of non-single people who don’t have children. If you want to have children, my advice to you, is to ask someone else for advice.

Practical things – events, family celebrations and the like

Now we’re getting to the nub of it. You want a buddy… as a society the only buddy we automatically accept is the romantic buddy. The one where there’s a tacit arrangement of ‘I drag you to the stuff I have to go to, and I’ll let you drag me to yours’. Being single is that crap is automatically cut down by 50%.


For weddings you’ve got two options – you can seek out a different buddy, perhaps a friend who enjoys bad bands, cake and rock the boat, and just say ‘feck it’ and have the craic. The other option is going stag. As a single person you might not even get a +1 invite, so you might not be allowed the buddy option. This is because people assume that you’re tough enough to get through all of life without a buddy, you’re tough enough to brave all their relatives, awkward situations and an empty dancefloor, alone. I’ve gone stag to a wedding a few times, and on one occasion where I only knew the bride. I survived that last one by making alcohol my buddy. If you don’t drink, I’m sorry I can’t help you.


Holiday compatibility is a hard thing to find. Romantic partners might not be holiday compatible, and you could be stuck with them. Don’t think of holidays as a fixed thing. As a single person you’re free to holiday alone or with whomever, so you can tag along on trips that other people are planning, plan trips with other single friends, take some extra days to explore by yourself. Basically what I’m saying is you’re actually in a better situation than couples.


What else is there? Some people don’t like going to the pub or cinema by themselves. Seriously just go – it’s totally fine. Enjoy a nice relaxing pint without someone gabbing in your ear once in a while. Sure you might be the talk of the pub, but you’re bad ass, so who gives a shit. And as for cinema, I just don’t get it. Just go. If you feel very self conscious buy two popcorns, it will look like your buddy is on the way.


There are awesome things about being single that we don’t really talk about.

  1. You are badass enough to go through life without a safety buddy. Bad Ass!
  2. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want.
  3. You don’t do anyone else’s laundry or housework.
  4. You live longer (if you are a lady).
  5. If you buy that games console, no one gets to badger you about it.
  6. You can date whoever you want.
  7. You have only your own baggage to deal with.
  8. You can sleep in the diagonal starfish position.
  9. If people feel sorry for you and your life without a partner and kids, you can tell them how you spent Saturday asleep until 1pm, and watch them cry over their wasted life.

This Valentine’s Day look around and have a heart for the people who are forced to cram into crowded, overpriced restaurants, and express their love for one another, only to be then disappointed that it isn’t everything they’ve dreamed of.

A Singleton's Take

Perfect Primer to suit you

Topic: Beauty, Makeup, Primer

What is a Primer?

Primers are the kind of beauty products which most people are either unaware of or just don’t really see the point in using on a day to day basis, I’m here to convince you otherwise.

Primers aren’t just one universal product that simply make your makeup stay on longer, they come in many different forms and sometimes can provide effective long-lasting results to existing skin conditions.

When Should I Apply a Primer?

A primer is best applied to the skin after the skin has been cleanse, toned and moisturized, before the supplication of any foundation or mineral powders. (Unless the packaging says otherwise)

Top Picks

So here are some of my top picks of primers for each skin type……


Best for Those with Slightly Larger and More Noticeable Pores

smashbox. com

This oil free formula is perfect for those who find their face hits those awkward shiny phases throughout the day. With a guarantee lasting lock and hold finish to your foundation for up to 8 hours and a thick, non-clogging and silky formula this is definitely a must have in your makeup kit if you do find you suffer with larger visible pores.

Best for Those with Drier Skin

lauramercier. com

This hydrating primer from Laura Mercier is a vitamin and moisture-rich formula which not only holds foundation into place all day but also nourishes skin to stop any moisture being lost from within the skin. It rehydrates, plumps and enriches the skin with a combination of vitamins A, E and C making it the perfect primer for those who find there foundation tends to flake off their skin throughout the day.

Best for Those with Oilier Skin

boots. ie

If No.7 is not a brand you tend to reach for this primer will certainly change your mind. This long lasting mattifying primer creates the perfect barrier between your skin and foundation to ensure your face stays shine free all day. It contains ingredients which not only obliterate shine but also minimises blemishes and contains cooling and soothing properties which help to calm irritated skin, making it perfect for those with acne or blemish prone oily skin.

Best for Those with Duller Skin

ulta. com

If you find yourself feeling like a 2D newspaper comic strip character after you apply your foundation it’s probably due to the lack of natural luminosity to your skin, but don’t panic L’Oreal have your back. With light reflecting and pearlescent particles blended into its formula Magic Lumi gives you that glow from within sort of look which would make even a zombie look alive and healthy!

Best for Those with Finer Lines and “Age Waves”

Maybelline. com

Instant Age Rewind gives the skin an overall glow and plumping action which not only firms and tightens skin but also smooth’s out the appearance of any fine lines or wrinkles which may appear on the skin. Making it an out and out winner in its category!


Stay Chic on a Budget

Topic: Fashion, Budget


Even though you mightn’t be on a €100,000 salary, that doesn’t mean you can’t dress like you are! Now is the time to stop to stop lusting over those designer handbag and shoes and to start purchasing the next best thing, at a fraction of the price, saving you a serious amount of debt and possibly an argument with your spouse. So here are some of my current top picks that I think every girl should treat themselves to this side of Christmas!






“Give a girl a pair of heels and she can conquer the world”, however I don’t think it would be possible for me to conquer the world if food has been eliminated from my everyday life (priorities). Yes these heels are amazing and will go with every outfit and will be worth every penny in the long run, but I don’t know about you but my pennies tend to not add up to this amount!

Don’t worry you won’t have to walk around like a sad, stumpy pauper anymore, thanks to every fashionista’s messiah: Romwe.





Ok, so they might not be made in Italy or from the highest quality “leather”, but they do look damn good and will save you over €430, so you can keep your heel, head and bank balance high!




It may or may not be a personal goal of mine to own this bag, and it may or may not make me feel very sad to have to look up images of this bag but how and ever. This is an extraordinary bag, with an EXTRAORDINARY price tag.

Unfortunately, as winning the lotto is not a common occurrence in most people’s lives and neither is having €6000+ to spend on a bag I’m afraid that we have no other choice but to look elsewhere (no matter how much it may hurt).




Boohoo doesn’t know it yet but it has saved lives and livelihoods by producing this beauty. Saving you over €5700+ you can now purchase that second hand car you were looking at or go on those 4 imaginary holidays you planned this year.





Ok so this watch mightn’t hold such an extreme price tag as the other two items but still it’s not something most people would just casually buy for themselves. (Think of the amount of outfits and alcohol you could get with that money!)




This statement watch is statement enough for me to live and happy and long life with. With a price difference of a whole decimal point shift to the right, it’s worth the trip into the accessory shop (and for me a trip down memory lane, ah luminous clip-ins where would I have been without you)



And if you’re looking for that perfect pair of designer sunglasses and think they are completely out of your reach, think again. A much, much cheaper (and slightly cheekier) way of achieving that lifelong dream of strutting around in those Chanel 5217’s is to ask very nicely. No seriously, it may be a bit of a scavenger hunt but if you go around a couple of sunglasses retailers and ask for previous display items you’re bound to come across a gem or two!

Guest Blog: Tim from Modernize with Ways to Maximize Space in a Small Home

 Image Credit: http://boingboing.net/2012/04/16/tiny-homes-by-lloyd-kahn-e.html

Image Credit: http://boingboing.net/2012/04/16/tiny-homes-by-lloyd-kahn-e.html

Topics: Interiors, DIY, Storage, Small Space


Today we are very fortunate to have Tim Smith with us from Modernize, a company dedicated to helping you make your dream home a reality, to give us some hints, tips and tricks on making the most of limited space. Take it away Tim….



Ways to Maximize Space in a Small Home


While the size of the family home has grown over the past few decades, those who live in apartments, older homes, or are downsizing, need to make the most of their space. Aside from modern freestanding homes, many other situations will encourage economy and space management to get the most from your resources. Read on for a few practical ideas to get you started on your quest to maximize your space.



Your Furniture is Not a Family Member

Many of the modern pieces of furniture are designed with those larger spaces we talked about above in mind. Great overstuffed couches, chairs that take up the same area as your breakfast table and offer less seating, bits of relatively useless furniture that just ends up wasting space. Chuck it. If you’re downsizing, unless you have a genuine attachment to a specific piece, get rid of it. Furnish your new space with furniture that fits. Older pieces you can find at antique markets usually will fare better in a reduced format than the all-new-and-improved combo deals large furniture stores have on offer.



Climbing the Walls

While you won’t want to clutter up the walls too much in a smaller space, they can be useful for mounting more than artwork. By finding the studs (a matter of moments with a stud finder) you can anchor hanging mantels or proper hanging bookshelves to the wall to hold more weight. Use the space above and behind the couch for a bookshelf or for holding essential objects to your leisure time like remotes, video games and movies.


This logic can also work for kitchen areas and home offices. Wall-mounted bookcases, shelving and even light organizational materials can help maximize your functional, usable space. And since flat screen televisions have become increasingly available, their price has come down. This not only allows you to mount your set on the wall, it will also eliminate any actual need for an “entertainment center.” This is often one of the big space-eaters in the modern home.


Think Up, Not Out

If you have a limited space, furniture and appliances with small footprints are going to be your favorites. Stand lamps are excellent for areas where side tables may not fit but you still want light. Likewise, in your closet, if you have a vast collection of shoes with which you don’t want to part, consider organizers that mount to the interior of the door or the back wall of the closet. Also, make sure you stay on top of your wardrobe — don’t keep clothing you never wear. Donate or sell it. You’re not using it, so why is it using space you need? As well, shelving that has a tall, narrow profile or is designed to stand in corners (one of the most overlooked spaces in a room) can come in handy in both your living and sleeping spaces. As well, it can help you maintain a tidy office area if you work at home.


Clean Drawers

A last note: make use of drawer organizers. Know what’s in your drawers and maximize their use. The same can be said of cabinets. If you have overly deep built-ins, consider a dry-erase list mounted on the inside of each door, so you know what you have.
There are a number of awesome ways you can maximize your use of a small space. While the ideas put forward above are just the tip of the iceberg, you’re definitely encouraged to get out there are see all the great concepts being developed to help homeowners make better use of less.


Tim Smith writes for Modernize, a company dedicated to helping you make your dream home a reality.


A Riposte to A Home Made By Committee

Space Dinosaurs - The Real Enemy
Space Dinosaurs – The Real Enemy


On Wednesday we posted an article called Moon Acreage: Sound Financial Investment or Immoral Speculation. In the interest of frank and fair debate, we have invited Maire Brophy, the said friend who purchased the moon acreage, on to give her rebuttal.


I am compelled by a sense of natural justice to write a repost to the scurrilous article “Moon Acreage: Sound Financial Investment or Immoral Speculation” dated September 24th, 2014.

As the ‘friend’ Ms Clarke mentioned in the article, the reasons for my purchase of this property were roundly misrepresented.


I am, as it happens, currently experiencing seriously difficulties relating to the current Dublin property bubble that, by all accounts, is not happening. This, however, is entirely unrelated to my moon land purchases.


I did not, as purported by Ms Clarke, buy moon land in order to set up a home there, despite the possible commuting issues. I’m not irrational, I know the Luas won’t reach the Moon until at least 2050, by which time I will be well retired and spending my summers on Mars and winters on Venus in a timeshare, when I’m not visiting the penguins on Pluto.


No, the moon land I purchased is simply a matter of legacy. You see I want to be remembered. And I’m very lazy, so I want to be remembered with as little effort on my part as possible.


I was left with a conundrum of how to be remembered. The traditional way to do this, I believe, is to have children. But that comes with a lot of downsides. They expect you to care for them and love them, and even occasionally feed them. So far I’ve got around this by having niblings (children of your siblings) instead of children. Niblings don’t require the day to day nurturing that your own children require, but you can still destroy their Lego creations with your space dinosaur attack and disrupt their education by trying to convince them that space dinosaurs are actually a thing.


Importantly you can also leave things to your niblings that might be passed on to their descendants.


Now let us return to the moon. The legality of the claim on the moon, and subsequent selling of the plots is certainly questionable. But the legal world around us is of our own construction and it may be that moon deed holders come to power and uphold the veracity of our claim, by the time we can actually go to the moon on the Luas. In that case future generations will attribute their wealth and status to my visionary whim (after, of course, a lot of wrangling over who actually owns the deed).


Indeed not only will I have supplied them with the right to moon land, but also with the skills to defeat the space dinosaurs that dwell there (the first of which is not to build your moon dwellings out of Lego) and will fulfil our birth-right to enslave space dinosaurs everywhere (it’s in the constitution – look it up!).


If, however, and this case is much more likely, the claim is considered to be highly questionable, well then we’ve got a long legal battle on our hands. In which the deed, bearing my name, will be discussed at length. I would expect my name to be long remembered, and possibly cursed. But the important thing is to be remembered. Not bad for something that cost 20 euro.


Like my granny always said, if you can’t be remembered for doing some great thing to improve the lot of humanity, you might as well be remembered for causing a complicated legal situation, and the subsequent protracted battle in court.


Those old sayings really are timeless.


So in response to your titular question, I would say that the purchase of moon land is neither a sound financial investment nor an immoral speculation, but rather a way to pre-emptively get back at future generations for their loud music, erratic fashions and insistence that space dinosaurs are not real.