So on Thursday Brits in Toronto was invited to attend the British Beverage Showcase, pitched thus:
“British Consul General Kevin McGurgan, OBE invites you to an exclusive trade tasting event featuring exciting newly released UK beverages and mixers. Guests are invited to discover a selection of UK products recently launched or coming soon to the LCBO and the Beer Store, as well as a range of non-alcoholic mixers. This showcase will feature over twenty British and Northern Irish beverage products, including gins, vodkas, whiskies, beers, ciders, coolers, mixers and English sparkling wine.”
Right? Done deal. Half-day vacation from work booked immediately.
Two funny coincidences to get the afternoon started right: my Uber driver was a bloke from Manchester who moved to Toronto in 1972, so we compared notes on Brits living in the city and not one — but TWO — Aston Martins passed us on the road. And you don’t see that every day. Brits everywhere!
The British Beverage Showcase was held at the very nice Wychwood Barns venue, and had all the vendors lined up either side. There were at least 26, so I was very glad I wasn’t driving.
Being the caring hosts they were, there was a nice food table to help soak up some of the booze featuring cheeses, fruit, scones and real, authentic CLOTTED CREAM no less. Not the spray can crap, but the real thick stuff. Delish. Good start.
My guest and I started at one end of the aisle and zig-zagged our way down, trying a little of everything. Here’s some of the standouts that I can recommend:
Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka and Black Cow Cheddar (one of the best cheeses I’ve had, actually, so good)
anCnoc Highland Single Malt Whisky
Bloom London Dry Gin (I don’t even like gin but this was bloody lovely)
Penderyn Dragon Series (I can confirm WELSH whisky is definitely worth a tipple)
Thunder Toffee & Vodka Spirit Drink (sweet and good for a shot)
Franklin & Sons Ltd. Natural Indian Tonic Water
Hobgoblin Gold (not a fan of the original but the Gold is, well, gold)
Benromach (15-year-old whisky)
Once I had my happy face on I wandered around looking for some familiar Brits. I spotted the owner of The Caledonian, had a chat with Scottish Chef John Higgins (who pulled a face when I mentioned the Welsh whisky for some reason) and also met the legend himself, British Consul General Kevin McGurgan.
This was an excellent example of how to really show off the best British imports into Canada and Brits in Toronto was extremely grateful to have been a part of it.
There’s more photos here.
Here’s the hosts:
A big Brits in Toronto link love to them and here’s to a really enjoyable afternoon!