by | Oct 20, 2022 | Leisure, Cigars, Spirits

As the warm summer cools into autumn, the last few private Sip & Smoke events of the year take place at Md Bespoke studio in Toronto. Scotch and cigar enthusiasts enjoy award-winning liquors paired with select cigars in the company of like-minded individuals. It’s always an interesting mixed bag.

Related: Sip & Smoke: An eclectic and exotic gathering

The September event featured ten alcohols to sample, a Canadian filmmaker screened his new short film, and as usual, a lively and eclectic crowd was in attendance, including a former Dragon’s Den investor.

Sip & Smoke: Award-winning liquors paired with fine cigars

In honour of Canadian film and the 2022 TIFF season, Mario Aguilera, a Brazilian-Canadian writer, director, producer, and the co-founder of Lost Picture Productions screened “Three of Swords”, an art-house psychological drama that premiered at the TIFF Bell Lightbox student short festival.

The film depicts a man, “guilt-ridden by the death of his girlfriend, who sinks into the depths of his own mind, where he is forced to confront what led him there in the first place”. The film has screened at other festivals in Ireland, Japan, and Los Angeles.

Click on image to enlarge and view gallery

Though gin might seem synonymous with Britain, the evening’s next presenter explained that three hundred years before the English ever thought of it, people in the Netherlands were already enjoying gin, or levenswater.

Inspired by his Dutch ancestry, Paul Allamby of Levenswater Gin created a Canadian version of the Dutch favourite and treated attendees to his internationally acclaimed, clear pale yellow gin that bursts with a complex blend of botanicals: lavender off the top followed by basil, rosemary, wild thyme, and dozens more aromatic plants. Produced at Niagara-on-the-Lake, this unique liquor is available at 48 LCBOs.

Sip & Smoke: The growing popularity of the gentlemen’s club

Niagara’s newest craft beer brewery, Newark Brewing Company, brought in three different brews for sampling: Helles, a German-style pale lager that features Pilsen malt and Hallertau hops, Dunkel, a bold tasting brown Munich-style lager, and Wit, their Belgian-inspired wheat beer with coriander and orange peel. Newark specializes in traditional styles of European beer and focuses on quality and integrity.

Toronto wine and spirit importer, Bottles & Barrels, offered several quality liquors: Weathered Hands Shiraz, a limited volume wine by Dewalt Heyns, a leading South African winemaker, and five whiskeys from U.S. whiskey innovator, Cleveland Underground. By using stainless steel pressurized vats to force a reaction between the whiskey and specialty woods like apple, sugar maple, and black cherry, Cleveland creates unthinkable whiskey flavour complexities.

Click on image to enlarge and view gallery

Bottles & Barrels: Giving back to youth

The first of their bottles to empty was their Penny Wheat whiskey, a liquor that eventgoer, John described as “sweet, light, and buttery”. The black cherry wood bourbon came in a popular second – on the nose, it smells like a hug. George from Reign Motors, a bespoke by-appointment automotive service, savoured the understated bourbon that paired well with his “soothing yet uplifting and exciting” Monte Cristo #2.

Besides offering their choice alcohols, Bottles & Barrels likes to give back. It formed 13th Round Fight for Life, a charity to support youth mental health through the discipline of boxing. The program builds healthy skills and habits through education, training, and recreation, and offers a community of support for at-risk youth. Bottles & Barrels donates 2 percent of gross sales to the program.

Exclusive happenings like this Md Sip & Smoke private lifestyle event draws in real people with integrity to a perfect environment to sample beautiful liquors, cigars, and clothing.

Thanks to Mark Harrison for sponsorships, Maurice Davis Copeland for partnerships, Growers Flower Market, Mark Keast at Regarding Luxury, Chef Stokely for the charcuterie board, Maurice Davis Copeland, Mario Aguilera, William Quinteros of Bottles & Barrels, Paul Allamby of Levenswater Gin, Mike Campbell and Emil Vassenine from Newark Brewing Company, Flow Water, and the Iceman. 

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