Cocktail: Sunshine in a Jar

Accidentally the best summer cocktail. 

Sunshine in a Jar has been named our signature summer cocktail.

There are a few interesting things to note about this cocktail; first, the base is bourbon, second, the hidden secret is lavender lemon bitters from Kinsip but most importantly the story behind this cocktail. 


Almost all of our cocktails are inspired by small batch distillers or brewers or by local restaurant recipes. In this case, we created this cocktail completely by accident when we attempted to repeat a cocktail we had seen at a restaurant in Barrie, Ontario. We did what we normally did which was take a picture of the cocktail menu, and then go home and attempt to recreate it. Fortunately we completely misread the recipe and ended up combining two cocktails to create this one perfect cocktail. Without reading the recipe correctly we accidentally combined parts of the Pear & Vanilla Spiced Lemonade with parts of the Bourbon Apple Slush, ultimately creating a Bourbon based Lavender Lemonade. 


Most people don't associate bourbon with summer cocktails, usually the stronger, warmer spirits are left for winter but this combination of bourbon and the key ingredient, lavender lemon drops from Kinsip mix to create equal parts smooth and sweet making it a perfect southern summer cocktail. Ultimately we accidentally created what we have since named Sunshine in a Jar because of the yellow color and the refreshing taste.

For the entire recipe download our Mixology guide. 


Glamping at Fronterra


Idyllic glamping spots are still few and far between in Ontario. The concept of glamping in Canada is still on the rise, popularity is still low and we are way ahead of the curve in scoping them all out. We discovered Fronterra Farm and Brewery while randomly skipping through the channels one Thursday morning at 7 am on CTV and, by 11 am we had our trip booked. We decided to take an extended Labour Day weekend and made the three and a half hour trek to Prince Edward County on the Monday.


To actually find Fronterra, they give you a vague address and a phone number. Once you get to the vague address, you have to call them and they’ll meet you. We were met within seconds and they were genuinely happy to see us and in love with Louceel. One of my favorite parts about this place was that they wanted to know our story! After 10 minutes, we like to think we’re friends now.

We followed them down a bit of a dirt road away from their house and their barn, parked in the field and continued on foot about 400 metres to our tent! They have a total of 10 tents, all new this year which are perfectly secluded and private from the others. Each tent has king size bed, big comfy leather chair and big comfy leather couch- a true declaration of glamping! The outside kitchen is covered and fully stocked with the necessities, coleman stove, wine glasses, cutlery and butcher knives. The shower had hot water and the toilet was composting and clean, what more could we ask for!

One of the best things about glamping on a farm is that they sold farm fresh food for you to purchase. We knew ahead of time that they had eggs and fresh veggies but we didn’t know what kind of veggies until we got there so our meal planning was pretty much a surprise.

From the stand we brought back:

  • 1 bunch of swiss chard
  • 1 bunch of beets
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 eggs (duck and chicken)
  • 1 heirloom tomatoe
  • 1 mason jar filled with small tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 brown bag of potatoes

We had a feast for dinner both nights in a row, and nothing tastes better than fresh veggies. See our recipes here.


We spent the day wandering a couple vineyards and checking out the small towns. Prince Edward County is still a bit of a hidden gem. Currently known for Sandbanks beach and old Ontario cottages, it is slowly becoming the new summer spot for Toronto/ GTA tourists. People are slowly gravitating away from Niagara B’n’B’s and towards the vineyards and B’n’B’s of Prince Edward County. Even the Drake Hotel has just opened a B’n’B in Wellington called the Drake Devonshire, which is where we had lunch lakeside.

Our favorite vineyard in the area was Norman Hardie and our favorite brewery was County Cider, more on those later.

We came back from our long day and sat on North Beach (a provincial beach that is practically empty this time of year) and had some appetizers (a.k.a two glasses of wine) then headed back to our tent.

At Fronterra while each tent is secluded by the fact you are in the middle of shaded woods, the grounds are also located on the water in a quiet bay. The waterfront is perfect for canoeing (which you can rent!) or just relaxing and watching the beautiful sunset. Our entire time at Fronterra was short (two nights) and we spent the day taking in all of Prince Edward County but we could have easily spent an entire week here. While we were a little taken aback by the prices per night, we would only have good things to say and we will definitely be going back. Glamping in Ontario really is the perfect staycation and we highly recommend this beautiful place for you to do so.

Disclaimer: we also brought an 18 month old baby with us, and they were so happy and accomodating to see her! Our playpen fit perfectly at the end of the bed and no one minded that she was a little bit loud in the morning.

Fabulous Steak Lunch


If you are lucky enough to live close to water, a trip to the beach or lake on a Sunday is a real treat. It doesn’t take a lot of planning to pack food, drinks and beach chairs in the van and head out.


  1. A good grilling steak
  2. A loaf of dense bread – crusty Italian or sourdough are great
  3. A good cheese of choice – often blue cheese for a solid taste
  4. Mixed greens
  5. New potatoes

We always travel with Le Creuset cookware and a Coleman camp stove in the van. They are staples so if we haven’t brought the BBQ to the beach, cast iron cooking is the next closest thing.


I always keep a variety of rubs in the van or seasoning salts. My latest addition is a homemade rub from a neighbor that is heavy on spice and sugar. So very sweet and tangy. Rub down the steak with olive oil and then rub down the steak with your spice of choice and put in a ziplock bag. Much like sun screen, you want to get all rubbed up before you hit the beach.


Using your cast iron pan, turn on the stove to high and let it get hot. Sear the steak on one side for 3-5 minutes and then the other side for the same. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the steak but you want it fairly tender and not overdone. Remove the steak from the pan and wrap in foil to rest. Your steak should rest for the same amount of time that you cooked it before you cut it.



With your grill pan still going, slice bread about half an inch thick and toast on both sides in the pan. Remove from heat and generously apply your cheese of choice to one side of the bread and top with mixed greens. Thinly slice the steak and apply layers of steak to the bread while the bread is warm. Make it whatever thickness you like. Add the top layer of bread and cut in half.



While you are cooking the steak you can boil water and add your potatoes. Cook until soft enough to smash with a fork. Remove from stove and drain off water. Smash potatoes with a fork and then top with pesto and olive oil making a warm potato salad to eat with your sandwich.



While you are prepping the lunch, your travel companion should be prepping the drinks. This lunch went particularly well with a local lager or cider. Here are a few of our current local favourites:

Rain or shine – enjoy!

The Ghost of Bethleham


We recently discovered Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on a weekend road trip. Bethlehem, aside from sharing the name of one of the most famous cities in history, has an unique and storied past for a relatively low key American city. In its prime, Bethlehem was a steel town. The Bethlehem Steel Corporation (1857–2003) was once the second-largest steel producer and the largest ship builder in the United States. This is notable on two fronts:

  1. It is a riches-to-rags story that should not be ignored: Any 100 pound gorilla that dominates a sector and a community can disappear overnight.
  2. The remnants left behind of the steel boom, mammoth rusted-out steel stacks, create a ghostly backdrop to the city that is worth seeing.


The first highlight of the trip was passing an orange Westie on the highway into Bethlehem. The wheel cover was nicely adorned with the illustrated head of Jerry Garcia. It was great to see music gear strapped to the roof.

The second highlight of the trip was connecting with local distillers who are bringing the art of the craft brewing and distilling to Pennsylvania. Due to recent liquor law changes in 2014, it has allowed the art of brewing and distilling to establish itself firmly in the state with really positive outcomes.

Our first stop was to the South Side of the river which was considered “steel town” back in the day. The steel stacks are located on the South Side along with two notable locations for lunch or dinner:

  1. Molinari’s has a great farm to table culture that notes local partners on a big blackboard that supplies everything from bread to olive oil. A highlight was The IGT, a signature gin and tonic using house-made tonic and gin from local distiller Faber.
  2. Social Still was our favourite find of the weekend. It was opened in 2014 by Kate and Adam Flatt in a n old bank on the South Side. We met Kate in the take home shop where you can purchase their bourbon, gin or vodka. She not only shared history of the town but also her enthusiasm for its restoration and their enthusiasm for the “restoration in American spirits.” I tried hand-made cocktails that used their bourbon. They were divine. So much so that we took a bottle home.


After lunch we headed to the North Side which is home to the historic buildings of the Moravian settlers, the Hotel Bethlehem and funky antique and decorator shops.

A great van find on the North Side was at Domaci’s who sells vinyl carpets and mats fashioned from vintage vinyl patterns. We have a long running debate about upgrades to the van: should we honour the past or the present? Keep it vintage or modernise? It was fun finding these mats because they were the best of both worlds – a vintage pattern on a modern material that is durable and hard wearing.

Ironically, we went with the vinyl mat pattern “Pushing up Daisies” a salute to the ghost steel stacks of Bethlehem. It will be a reminder of a not so distant bygone era. Hats off to the new creators in Bethlehem that have embraced the past but are more aware of future opportunities in brewing, distilling and design. A wonderful weekend and great van road trip.

Life was good in a Combi-Camper


When I was 14, my grandparents took me on a trip east to visit the Gaspe region of Canada. For my grandparents who were French Canadian, it was a little like going to “head office”. For me, it was a liberating summer of no bed times, unlimited snacks and a new song for every camp site we visited. In short, it was heaven.

My grandfather had gone to the Outdoor Show in Toronto the previous fall and much to my grandmother’s dismay, he had invested heavily in a unique, Swedish designed tent trailer. The Combi-Camp was new to Canada in 1978 and it had a unique attribute that no other tent trailer could boast. It’s one-sided hinge system meant that once the Combi-Camp was level, it could be unclipped and set up in about 15 seconds flat.  It was child’s play for a 14 year old girl who weighed less than 100 pounds. And it drew attention in every campground we visited from Oshawa to New Brunswick.

The Combi could draw a crowd.

It created a unique upstairs/downstairs vibe for the inhabitants of the Combi-Camp when it was open with it’s upper bunk. And it had a nice 4×4′ fold out table with built in seats that were perfect for playing cards or eating in the main living area of the Combi. On many a rainy night, we were able to accommodate my grandparents, myself, my two cousins and my aunt and uncle for a rousing game of Aces.

Of course you couldn’t cook in the Combi-Camp. It was really nothing more than a solid tent, with floor and upper bunk. But it meant not having to sleep on the ground and it also meant my grandmother and I could live in luxury being able to bring pillows on our trip that could be folded away neatly when the trailer was folded back up.

Quick and Easy Breakfast



  1. You are rushed and in a hurry to pack quickly and get going to your next destination.
  2. You are happily parked, set up for a few nights stay and are looking forward to a relaxed morning with no fuss.

In both situations making breakfast often seems like a tedious task, but folks let’s not forget it is the most important meal of the day! During our glamping adventures it took us only one morning to realize energy bars just weren’t going to cut it as a breakfast meal. The next morning having learned our lesson from the previous day, we searched our mini fridge for left overs.


  1.  Planning breakfast can be hard as many of the normal breakfast ingredients include dairy which you usually want to stay away from in a glamping situation. What we did was buy a small carton of milk the night before either from the grocery store or if you’re lucky your high-end campsite will have a small convenience store. Remember, a little bit of milk can go a long way.
  2. We bought eggs. Eggs can be stored in a chilled area, therefore as long as you turn on your fridge for at least 6 hours a day (usually when you’re sleeping), eggs should be fine.
  3. Protein. In our case we had bought some local bacon from a small grocery store, Shells Cafe . However, any meat works as breakfast material; sausage, beef, turkey, etc.
  4. The last and maybe most crucial ingredient- bread. The night before we hoarded some Irish soda bread from the restaurant we ate lunch in, most popular bread in Ireland, and stored it away knowing it would come in handy. Sure enough, the soda bread acted as our toast.

While the ingredients may seem like the easiest part I promise the cooking is not a tedious task either. You only need to use one frying pan, which makes cleaning easy! Butter your bread and toast it on the frying pan first. Then fully cook the bacon. Cook the bacon or meat before the eggs to get enough grease and oil to cook the eggs in. Fry eggs to your liking and within fifteen minutes (depending on your meat choice) you have a delicious breakfast with only one cooking pan to clean! For even less to clean, eat right out of the pan, as opposed to using plates!

Bonus: if you have left over potatoes, they make good, quick hash browns for those who want an extra big helping of breakfast like we do!

(To learn more about grocery shopping for glamper vans go to our grocery store tips and checklist).