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Time for Some Bourbon 

Cocktails Anyone?
by Sheila Swerling-Puritt

Not that you ever have to give up your white spirits – they're evergreen in a white sort of way– but cooler weather calls for brown spirits.

I have recently developed a soft spot for Kentucky Bourbons. I believe it was my friend from Louisville, Pete Gunterman, who told me "Kentucky is the home of fast women and beautiful horses."

If you're new to these dulcet drams, prepare yourself: "bibbers" in the South have a distinct sweet tooth. While I sometimes share it, I mostly prefer well-made Bourbon with just a touch of water. You (and many of my guests) may want to balance your Bourbon whisky cocktails with citrus juice or bitters (Angostura).

Maker's Mark is the oldest Bourbon distillery "continuously operated on its own site." In 1980, the Marion County, Kentucky, distillery became the first distillery in America to be recognized as a national treasure. Bill Samuels Jr., President, is the 7th generation of Bourbon distillers. Delightfully irreverent, Bill pushes the boundaries with his dry sense of humour, but don't let him fool you, this guy sure knows his Bourbon. Maker's Mark is made with corn and red winter wheat instead of the usual rye. Each bottle is individually dipped in red wax, which makes it so easy to recognize on a back bar or the shelf where you buy your liquor.

Thanks so much to Maker's Mark's distiller, Kevin Smith who showed me a new way to taste and evaluate spirits. Should you be lucky enough to find yourself traveling through Kentucky, may I suggest a visit to Happy Hollow near Loretta. It's not just historically interesting; you will have the opportunity to tour, eat at the Toll Gate restaurant to tuck into dishes made with their own BBQ sauce and, of course, best of all, enjoy one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky's mellow treasures, Maker's Mark.

P.S. Their gift shop definitely deserves a visit as well!

Maker's Mark Punch Bowl Julep

This is ideal for brunch or holiday entertaining.

(Yields ½ gallon)

  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ lb. sugar
  • 3 oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 3 limes
  • 1 qt. Maker's Mark Bourbon
  • 1 qt. ginger ale
  1. Crush mint leaves and combine with sugar.
  2. Cut fruits in half, squeeze for juice and combine with mint mixture. Also include 1 rind from each of the different citrus fruit.
  3. Mix well and chill.
  4. When ready to serve, place mint mixture, Bourbon and ginger ale in punch bowl over blocks of ice; garnish with mint leaves.

Bourbon Whisky Orange Slices

A special garnish for Bourbon-based cocktails such as Bourbon Sours or an Old Fashioned, this recipe makes a great gift for those who love to entertain.

  • 4 seedless oranges
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup Maker's Mark Bourbon
  1. Wash and cut oranges, rind and all, into ½-inch-thick slices.
  2. Cut each slice in half.
  3. Add orange slices to a glass jar and arrange in overlapping layers.
  4. Combine sugar, water, corn syrup and lemon juice.
  5. Stir Bourbon into syrup mixture and spoon over orange slices, covering them completely.
  6. Seal jar and store in cool place for 2 to 3 days.
  7. Refrigerate; will last up to 3 weeks.

Beaumont Inn's Bourbon Slush

Where the bluegrass grows, my very favourite hotel to rest my head and satisfy my tummy is the Beaumont Inn, located in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. It has been owned and operated by the Dedman family for six generations. Their hospitality is exceptional and their corn pudding and "yellow legged" fried chicken is the best I have ever tasted.

Until recently the Inn resided in a dry county, but now, Hallelujah, their Old Owl Tavern is open for business. As well as a fine selection of Bourbons, it carries some wonderful wines as well to go with their delicious food. Make sure you stay over or at least arrive in time for breakfast.

"This recipe can be doubled because it will keep frozen for weeks."

  • 2 individual tea bags
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3½ cups water
  • 1 6 oz. can thawed orange juice
  • ½ 6 oz. can lemonade
  • ½ cup Wild Turkey Bourbon
  1. Steep tea bags in the boiling water for 4 minutes. Remove tea bags.
  2. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Freeze. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.
  5. Garnish with maraschino cherries if desired.


For more information, you can contact Sheila at




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