Happy Now #62


Man About Chinatown

A visit to the private Toronto Temperance Society about Sidecar in Toronto when either Oliver or Robin were behind the bar (which was nearly always) was a great experience. Oliver has moved on to manage the bar program at Bar Begonia (see review under Bars section) and Robin Kaufman now heads up the bar at the amazing Byblos Persian-styled restaurant in the city. That said, TTS is still an amazing place to have a drink.

Though I have enjoyed many of Robin’s drinks in the past, I came across Man About Chinatown in the new book entitled, A Field Guide to Canadian Cocktails. Though its recipes have been hit or miss, I knew I would not go wrong with a Robin Kaufman creation. I’ll go out on a limb and bet none of you have consumed a mud black cocktail. I certainly hadn’t, and was a bit put off initially by the colour. The culprit is an earthy and otherworldly syrup made from black sesame, which somehow pairs perfectly with the Canadian whiskey, subtle tones of mandarin and eventually, the piquant five-spice. It shouldn’t work, on paper, but does. Which always when a good cocktail becomes great. Enjoy!



2 oz Lot 40 Canadian Whiskey
¾ oz Lemon
1 oz Black Sesame Syrup
Pinch Chinese Five-Spice Powder
1 Egg White
1 Mandarin Twist


  1. Dry shake egg white alone.
  2. Add other ingredients, dry shake again.
  3. Add ice and shake.
  4. Strain into a chilled coupe.
  5. Twist mandarin peel over glass and rim.
  6. Add pinch of five-spice.

Black Sesame Syrup

  • ½ cup black sesame seeds
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup white sugar

Lightly toast sesame seeds in a skillet. Stir often to prevent burning. Add water and wine to same pan. Reduce slightly, 5 minutes. Measure ½ cup of liquid and add sugar and honey. Heat gently on stove in a separate pan or in microwave until sugar is dissolved.

*Black sesame and five-spice powder are available at high-end grocers or in Chinatown.

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