New Age of Christmas Craft Markets


“Due to covid” has become the explanation to any new measures taken and everyone will nod with understanding. 

Christmas markets used to be held in churches, rec halls maybe an arena, if it’s large enough. 

Things are a-changin!

How about a pub?

Pubs are allowed to be open.

While that privilege is alive, Moroni’s Pub in Ganonoque, has graciously opened its doors to local crafters for the 2020 Christmas season, for the next few Saturdays until Dec 19.

Being one of the vendors, I met some local artisans: great down-to-earth people.

Travel ByThe Glass department was not able to sample any beverages since her partner-in-crime, Kay’s Creations, was on site with her weekend Kia rental. 

No drinking and driving! But the home made pizza was delish!

We will return December 19 for another market day and, with a desgnated driver on hand, the sampling shall commence!

A big thank you to the ladies involved in organizing this great event!

See you soon, cheers!

Posted on November 28, 2020 by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe 

For the Spirit of the Orange Gin Blossom

Fresh OJ, vermouth and gin
Freshly squeezed OJ makes a wonderful difference!

Every drink has a tale. What’s yours?

Too much of what drink made you throw up in the bushes?

Which one gave you your biggest hangover?

Many people, all over the world, have a tale to tell of this drink – of their indulgence, whether it was entertaining or painful.

In the spirit of National Orange Blossom Day, the characters from one tale has been brought to life…..


No one knew I hid in the bushes that night. Nobody bothered to question me. I could have told them what happened but they didn’t think to ask lil ol’ me.

Two hours earlier, I had poured a heavy dose of father’s gin and vermouth into a metal canister and topped it with a bit of the orange juice mother had prepared for tomorrow’s breakfast. I’ll just tell her I got thirsty in the night.

Worthy of a cuff upside the head and a belt whipping from father for arming myself with some of his bootleg, what with the new law and all, I crept from 403 Alvarado Street, giddy as a school boy. Which I was. My swagger kicked in mid-way up the road, feeling more like a grown up with every step. 

That silent film director lived a few more houses over. Tony, Tay something. I didn’t care about names. I only cared about the interesting goings-on in that house. 

I passed by here everyday on my way to father’s hardware and bicycle shop where I stocked, dusted, swept, helped customers, well, you name it, I did it. Father didn’t do much of anything except read the daily news.

Today, I had seen Fatty Arbuckle’s name blazed across the top. Probably something about his murder trial. Poor Fatty. I say he was framed.

I didn’t dare try to read the whole headline. Father catches me slacking off and I’m liable to getting a kick in the arse. Believe me, he can kick pretty damn hard. Last week, he sent me flying down the aisle into the bicycle parts. 

Father always lingered over those articles about the pretty film starlets, looking all innocent with their big doe-eyes. Let me tell you, they aren’t so! I’ve seen things. 

And most of it from the bushes at the side of that famous man’s house. It has a great view, what with the window that reaches the second floor. 

Young ladies prancing about with barely a stitch of clothing on, kissing each other, touching and fondling. Some nights, they swim naked in his pool right after the sex. The bushes got a little more than a watering on those nights.

Once in awhile, he had full blown parties and everyone danced to the music on his gramophone. Tonight was like that. When I arrived at my usual spot at the bushes, someone had been kind enough to leave behind a full glass of some orange concoction, right there on the table. Lucky me, within reach. I knew by the smell it would taste the same as what I carried in my canister. So I downed it. 

I settled on my haunches out of sight and waited for the festivities to begin. 

One of the guests dumped out something from a small bag onto the glass table by the chesterfield and handed the lady next to him a tiny spoon. All the ladies took their turn. Things got wild after that!

Not three weeks ago, I had my first taste of these Orange Gin Blossoms, or so mom called ’em.

I was on my way home that day and two lovely ladies half-stumbled, half-skipped down the hill from the golf course towards me. Well, they sang at the top of their lungs, something about oranges and gin. And they skipped right past me. 

“Afternoon, Ladies,” I says to them because they were awfully pretty and I sure fancied the younger one. 

Didn’t she stop and ask me my name. I told her. Then I told her how sweet and lovely she smelled. 

She swatted at me and blushed. “Oh, that’s the Gin Blossoms, lil Freddie. They’re all the craze! Here, try some.” 

I couldn’t help but stare at her bosom, when she let me sip some straight from her pitcher. Those beauties were close enough to touch and I thought about giving one a quick squeeze. Before I found my courage, the other lady tugged at her friends’ sleeve. 

I licked the delicious juice from my lips, watching them zigzag up the road, laughing and singing when a car pulled over and the driver got out. The older lady squealed and threw her arms about the man’s neck, so happy to see him. 

That night, I had leafed through the crisp pages of father’s bar book of cocktails until I found it. Orange Gin Blossom. Mom was right and now I knew how to make it. Father’s cabinet in the parlor contained all the ingredients. Ever since then, I’ve been helping myself to it. 

I suppose he will be looking for me but I ignored those thoughts. 

The Director’s party, in full swing now, did not disappoint. The ladies dragged and pushed the furniture back to the walls so as to clear some space to dance the Charleston. The only two men at the party took a front row seat, on the wing chairs, to enjoy the bouncing and jiggling.

I reveled in their breasts, free from their brassieres, some of them small and some not so small, while I sipped from my canister. Patient as a Saint, I waited for the sex. And it came. Ladies first then the men joined in. 

My own urges took over and, now that it was dark enough, I could drop my drawers and go at it until the bushes well-watered for the night.

By then, the party started breaking up. One of the ladies cursed at The Director and left. Finally, only one lady friend remained. Or so I thought. 

The Director mounted her upon the chesterfield.

My heart pounded and the tingling down there started again. 

The urgent sounds of the lady’s cries reached all the way out to where I hid. If he didn’t finish her off soon, I would have to have another round, too. 

With a loud holler, he slumped over her, panting and dripping sweat. I adjusted the crotch of my pants and stood to stretch.    

He put his trousers back on and helped her dress. Envious of their closeness to each other, of his ability to touch her soft, delicate, pale skin, I slugged back a huge mouthful of my orange cocktail. 

They went out the front door to her waiting car. The driver tipped his hat to The Director and drove off. 

Back in the comfort of his living room, he ignored the filth-encrusted tables, the empty crystal glasses and brassieres scattered throughout, and poured himself what looked like Scotch or maybe it was Bourbon. 

It didn’t seem fair that everyone else wasn’t allowed to hold stores of liquor in their own homes but this man, rich and famous, could keep their collection for all to see. 

He didn’t see the lady come up from behind. The lady with the revolver. It all happened so fast, I had no time to warn him. To call out, behind you, or watch out! That familiar hair, I knew her from somewhere. One of the neighbors, perhaps. 

The Director sensed her presence too late. She was so close, close enough that when he turned, the barrel dug into his rib cage. 

I heard no words but knew, from the long pause, that they spoke. He remained calm but stiff. Her lips moved in a frenzy of words. Her free hand wild with gestures. The scowl on her face apparent even from where I huddled in the darkness. Then the gun went off. 

The Director slumped to the floor. 

The murderess woman stood over him a moment, as though trying to decide what to do, shrugged then went to pull a coat from his closet. She put it on and wrapped his muffler round her neck and topped her head with a plaid cap. 

She slid open the patio door, nearest me, and stepped out. 

I scrambled back into the shadows, knocking over my canister and spilling the rest of my cocktail. She headed down the side path towards the street and encountered a nosy neighbor, who had come out to see what the noise was all about. 

They had a quick exchange and the woman hurried off. 

No sirens could be heard. 

I followed the woman dressed up as the man she had just gunned down until she slipped around the back of Miss Charlotte’s house, my neighbour. 

Back down the road, a few people mingled about the front of The Director’s house so I didn’t go back. They would have smelled the booze on me. They’d throw me in jail on account of breaking the law. Or worse, father would find out I took his booze. 

I staggered home. No one knew I had been hiding in the bushes tonight so no one would come to question me. I could have told but I wouldn’t. For my own safety. This secret would have to die with me. Though it drives me crazy keeping it in. There, I’ve let it go. God help me if my father finds this. 

In her great great grandmother’s trunk, she found this letter, this confession of sorts, tucked within the pages of Tony’s Bar Book, 1903 Edition. It bookmarked a cocktail by the name of the Orange Blossom. She folded the brittle pages and returned them to their hiding place. 

How to Make The Orange Blossom Cocktail:

Gin – 1 oz

Sweet Vermouth – 1 oz

Orange juice – 1 oz

That’s it! Easy-peasy!

Read more….


Published by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on February 10, 2021 

Is It Really National Rum Day!

If today is National Rum Day, why aren’t the Rum Festivals going on today?

Barbados doesn’t happen until October 18th.

Birmingham’s already happened on July 1.

The UK will host one on October 20th.

Tampa’s will be September 1-2.

California, Mauritius, New York, NO ONE is hosting their Rum Festival today on National Rum Day!

What gives?

You’ll have to enjoy a rum your own way!

Posted on August 16, 2018 by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe

A Guide for the Allergy Riddled Wine Lover – Part 2 – Sulphites


You’re drinking a glass of your favorite wine then suddenly your nose is blocked.

Feels like hayfever, doesn’t it?

Crap, now you’re scratching at your skin and notice a rash.

Soon you’re coughing or wheezing or having difficulty breathing.

This example gives wine a bad rap but it’s not as bad as we might think. Do you ever experience these symptoms when you’re NOT drinking wine. Take note of those times and what you had been eating.

What is in the wine that could cause this? A not-so-recent post, Part 1 – The Sweet Factor, tackled the possibility of the sugar content contributing to headaches. If the solutions in that post did not help your case, Part 2 may help you determine if it is the sulphites disturbing your system.

There is a simple test to determine if you are sensitive or allergic but, sadly, it does not involve drinking a glass of wine.

What Are Sulphites?

Sulphites are inorganic salts that are found in the ground. There is a small percentage of the world’s population that is allergic to sulphites while many people just have an intolerance to it. Neither case is pleasant. Believe me, because I experience mild effects at times to sulphites. And probably more often than I realize.

Preservatives, such as Sulphites, are a natural part of grape skins. But why?

Are they seeping into grapevines from the ground?

They occur naturally during the fermentation process due to the yeast activity so it really is hard to find a wine without it.

Some producers do add sulphites, to protect their wine from oxidization, even though it might only be a small amount. These are the ones you may have to steer clear of to keep your intake to a minimum.

Sulphites don’t cause headaches (it’s the sugar content, remember?) but can bring on an attack for those with asthma, or induce asthma-related symptoms.

Now, take a look at the back of your wine bottle. It likely says “Contains Sulphites”. Unfortunately, there is no indication of whether these sulphites are the natural occurring ones or the chemically added ones. It just means there is enough in there to have to put it on the label, by law.

So, if you plan on avoiding them, put it back on the shelf and head to the organic section. Or check the list below for some known Biodynamic / Organic producers who do not add any chemical sulphites.

Here, amongst the natural and organic wines, is where you may find less sulphites.  But not guaranteed. Since sulphites are an organic compound, it falls under the “organic” classification so they are obviously allowed in organic wines. The total amount of sulphites should, however, be lower than some of the other normal wines. A little research on a favorite bottle beforehand could help as well.

When And How Is Sulphur Chemically Added?

♦During harvest, sulphur in the form of metabisulfite is sprayed on grapes to prevent oxidization as soon as the grapes are picked. Otherwise, the grapes might begin rotting by the time they are brought inside to the vats.

♦Before wine enters the oak barrel, vintners burn sulphur inside of each barrel which seals the wood so it is leak-proof. At the same time, it creates Sulphur Dioxide, aka SO2 (the gas form).

♦Fermentation creates sulphur naturally so when the winemaker wants to stop the fermentation process, he will add the chemical version of sulphur.

Natural wines are supposedly sulphur-free (but we know this is not really the case) so he must wait for the natural fermentation process to finish.

♦Aging process in oak – as mentioned above, sulphur is burned inside the barrels so it contributes extra sulphites to the finished product. With the wine now in the barrel, some producers might add sulphur chips which are burned inside to preserve the wine and add flavour. This also creates tannins within the wine.

♦Bottling – there is rumour that the bottles are rinsed with sulphites. The answer to this is very hard to find and will take some actual foot work to determine. This will take up a full blog on its own.

Most wines with added sulfites contain only 20-350 Parts Per Million. Ppm is the equivalent of milligrams per litre, ie: 20ppm=20mg/L.

The legal limit in wine is 350 ppm.

Benefits -Are There Any?

SO2 will ‘eat up’ any oxygen in its path. Oxygen is the chemical that will destroy your wine, like it destroys your fruit – think of the apple you cut and 2 minutes later, it is browning. In this way, SO2 is helpful.

Bacteria and germs don’t like SO2 nearby – they can’t develop in it’s presence.

Thus, SO2 prevents the wine from continuing it’s ‘rotting’ process into vinegar.

Wine is NOT the only culprit. The amount in wine is really not that alarming. Below is a list of items that contain sulphur. Beware, it is a LONG list with many of your favorite foods.

If a food contains more than 10ppm, the label must contain the warning.

Side Effects

As mentioned, these sulphites can cause allergic reactions which can resemble hayfever. In more extreme, perhaps rare cases, it may cause hives, difficulty breathing or swallowing, cramps, low blood pressure, flushed or swelling skin, stomach pain, diarrhea and if your allergy is serious, anaphylactic shock.

Avoiding Sulphites

Your list of what to avoid if you are keeping sulphites to a minimum:

Dried fruit is #1 – for example, raisins and prunes contain anywhere from 500 to 2,000 ppm! A heck of alot more than the max 350 in wine.

This is where the simple test comes in….eat about 4 dried apricots. Now pay attention to your breathing. Has it changed? Are you wheezing at all? If you are, you might be sensitive to sulphites. This does not mean you are sensitive to wine. Just the sulphites. If you are getting a headache, it could be something else you are sensitive to….the sugar perhaps…histamines? (this will be in Part 3 of this series) …or you’re dehydrating. Are you drinking a glass of water with your wine?

…, back to the list.

Wine – as you now know contains between 20 and 350ppm.

Beer and hard ciders.

Tea and juice.

Jam and fruit-flavoured breakfasts such as Toaster Strudels.

Salad dressings and condiments.


Table Salt.

Molasses and gravy.

Dried soup mixes.

Dried herbs.

Canned and frozen vegetables and fruit.

Pre-cut potatoes.

Shrimp – it is used to avoid the black spots.

Processed and Deli Meat, especially sausages.

Bread Dough – it is used as a conditioner.

Cookies, ice cream and yogurt – yup, all the good stuff!

Some pharmaceuticals – to preserve medications.

Interesting to note: The human body produces 1,000 ppm of sulphites.

The closest information I found on the suggested recommended daily intake is 19% of a man’s total dietery intake and 17% of women’s.

Some studies are finding that the levels in young children are quite high and suggest the reason is the processed and packaged foods packed in their lunches. Those dried fruit packets are a favorite – it’s also #1 with the highest levels of sulphites. Moms, can we dial it back a little?

It’s no wonder that ADD and ADHD manifested during the generation that introduced processed foods.

The food industry has a lot more leeway than the alcohol production industry, right?

The US FDA states the food packaging must contain the label “contains sulphites” if the food contains 10ppm or more.


Every country will mandate it’s own specific amount that must be labelled.

To combat this, choose natural and or organic foods that do not contain preservatives. Your local health food store might be a good place to start looking.

If after you’ve read the food label, there is no ‘Contains Sulphites’ warning, don’t stop there. Read the ingredients. It could be hidden and referred to as:

Potassium Sulfite

Potassium Bisulfite

Potassium Metabisulfite

Sodium Bisulfite

Sodium Metabisulfite

Sodium Sulfite

Sulfur Dioxide

Sulphites under 10 ppm in the US do not have to be listed but they will all contribute to your sulphite intake.         -The Food Intolerance Network

For example, pizza crust. Your neighborhood Pizza Pizza may not display the content level because it is below 10ppm but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. They are not required to list it unless the level is higher than 10ppm.

My 11-year-old grandson has suffered asthma from about the age of 2 and I often wonder if sudden bouts are related to food. My belief in this is much stronger now due to the research I have put in to this article.

I have also dealt with food sensitivities for years and have learned tonnes of information on how processed food affects us.

Eliminating gluten from my diet has helped but does this mean I have to forever live without a delicious sourdough bowl of clam chowder?

I put it to the test and bought a freshly made sourdough loaf from my local bakery. I expect there would be less preservatives in this. The result? No pains in my stomach.

Maybe it’s the sulphites that are packed in the bread, not the gluten, causing problems?

If we re-program ourselves to eat naturally as our forefathers ate, we just might see a huge difference in our health. Which is why I am on a new kick to make my own sourdough bread and see what happens.

Why are some people susceptible to sulphur and others are not?

Some people lack an enzyme that digests and removes sulfites from the body; in other cases, sulfites may cause an immune response. Another theory is that when digesting these foods, the stomach may produce sulfur dioxide, and inhaling this gas causes adverse effects,                          -The University of Florida Extension.

Unfortunately, processed food is here to stay because everyone loves it so, for it’s taste and convenience.

It’s an uphill battle but not impossible.

The company,, may be able to help:

“We want to give them (unsulphured wines) the publicity they deserve.”

Probably time to get back on track….

Red vs White

There are antioxidants in all grapeskins. Since the skins ferment longer in the production of red wine, reds have higher levels of antioxidants. Producers rely on this and do not have to add as much SO2.

If the vintner can keep the tannin levels up, he will require less chemically added sulphites.

While White wines have antioxidants, the levels are lower since the skins don’t ferment as long. Producers generally have to add sulphur so whites contain higher levels of it.

Wine Producers Who Don’t Add Sulphites

Frey Vineyards, – Redwood Valley, CA

Cascina Degli Ulivi FilagnottiPiedmont, Italy

Donkey & Goat – Berkley, CA

Badger Mountain – Kennewick, WA – “We ensure that our customers are getting chemical-free products by constantly testing the soil, and we send wine samples to a lab for testing before bottling.”          – Marlisa Lochrie, Tasting Room Mgr.

Domaine Valentin ZusslinFrance

Château le Puy – France

Personally, I think sulphites in wine alone is not quite the culprit it is made out to be. Processed food, with the high content, is certainly a concern. Put all of your consumption between food and alcohol together and your intake could be astronomical.

Rule of Thumb I plan to undertake: Minimize my intake of processed food and drinks. Opt for natural….if it is man-made, I’ll avoid it.

For example: Fruit is natural. Fruit juice/snacks are modified by man.

A good read that contains some common sources.

A lot of ground was covered here but I still have one question. If sulphites are a natural salt found in the ground, why is it so bad for us?

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on April 6, 2018


How To Get Over a Broken Heart In 3 Easy(?) Steps

What does this have to do with travel or even beverages, you ask?

I agree, it seems a little off topic.

Think of it this way…..

You could be away at a wonderful travel destination, somewhere exotic,  or just close to home when you happen to be in tourist mode.

A chance meeting.

Or you stumble upon someone special in the vintage vino section.

At some point it leads to a beverage. Even coffee.

Share a bottle of wine.

Two whirlwind weeks pass by.

You fall in love.

This fling, this inpromptu affair, lasts your entire vacation or longer.

Then, ultimately, your heart gets broken. Regardless of how far away your vacation took you, promises might have been made.

It will still be a sting when you get dropped.

You might turn to drink in your sorrow, too. (Another way this is not necessarily totally off topic.)

That’s the connection to this beverage-based website. My theory.

Everyone responds and reacts differently to the end of love.

I’ve gone through this enough times to have this almost perfected. (Not the falling-in-love-on-vacation part, just the falling in love and getting hurt.)

The aftermath is never easy, as the title would suggest, but I, personally, find it easier to get back on track with my life by doing the following:

1. CRY

Take 1 day for a good cry. Get it out of your system. Some may need 2 days for this. That’s ok. Acknowledge it. Don’t stash it under the rug to avoid your feelings. Talk to someone, maybe you have a trusted go-to person for matters of the heart, and do your crying through that conversation.

If it takes you a week, including a couple days for moping, allow yourself that, but NO MORE. I take 3 or 4 days, depending on how “in love” I felt I was, to pick myself up and face the world with a smile.


During your sorrow-filled days, figure out why this person came into your life. What were you supposed to learn or what did you learn from him, or her? This person was put in your path for a reason, right? What is that reason?

Some possible reasons: To learn patience, to learn to not to have a few drinks and express your feelings (at the wrong drunken moment) or perhaps to learn how to communicate better. Maybe it was to realize the importance of family or friends. It could be anything as simple as to introduce you to a person who will play an important role in your life. Dig deep, you’ll find it.

Even if a reason seems lame, use it. You will have better closure. Hey, if you’re lucky enough to have been told (honestly) why they broke up with you, you will have a head start.


Now dust yourself off and continue with your life, your hobbies (maybe find a new one: take a dance or art class; try a new sport). And, of course, include time with your friends. Seek out those feel-good ones. They will help you bounce back. You’ll soon meet someone new and you can apply that “Reason Why” you discovered and apply this to the next one by not making the same mistake. Hopefully, you won’t have to use Steps 1 & 2 ever again. I will keep my fingers crossed.

Men, since you are my opposite sex, I cannot say for sure if this method would work for you but I’d like to think it would. I’ve seen my sons go through their share of broken hearts and I believe it is helpful for them as well.

May you always find the strength in yourself to persevere.


Published by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on January 13, 2018

National Hot Toddy Day

As it is nearing my first year anniversary blogging for Travel By The Glass, I feel a desire for change coming on.

A year ago, my intention was to post National Hot Toddy Day as my First Ever Post. I didn’t have it ready in time so Irish Coffee won that title. It will always be my favorite post for that reason and for the fact it was a very interesting story.

But that’s the next post.

Today is Hot Toddy Day…….

In the 17th Century, when Britain controlled India, the ‘toddy’ began. Taddy / Taadi is a Hindi word meaning “beverage made from fermented palm sap”. The sap is collected by tapping the palm trees.

The meaning morphed, by 1786, into an alcoholic beverage with hot water, sugar and spices added to it.

Interesting Facts About Palm Trees

They don’t form annual ‘rings’ the way other trees do.

There are 2600 different species known, many in tropical climates.

2/3 are growing in rain forests.

They all grow a type of fruit.

The British claimed the toddy as their own but the rightful place perhaps should be India since the original form comes from the palm trees of India.

Word spread of this hot beverage and many more claims to fame arose.

Spicing It Up

The basic recipe contains your choice of liquor, hot water, lemon, honey and tea. Brandy, any form of whisky (bourbon and scotch) and rum are popular liquors to use. But don’t stop there! Anything goes…tequila, fruit flavoured brandies, whatever you have on hand.

Got a sore throat? Use gin!

So what spices can you put in your hot toddy?

Whether you’re going for a traditional hot toddy or a non-alcoholic one, add some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Most households have honey hiding in their cupboard but if you keep unusual items, maybe you have agave nectar (the last place I saw this was in a Home Sense store) or simple syrup. These can be used instead of honey. Also, if you can find it, cinnamon syrup or a cranberry spice syrup. See sidebar for the recipes.

On your vacation to India, there are plenty of wonderful places to see and experience. If you’re there right now, visit a Toddy Shop for National Hot Toddy Day!

Published by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on January 11, 2018.



Visiting India This Year?

If you’re like me, it’s frustrating to search for a list of things and you have to scroll for ten minutes to discover them all! Or worse, go page by page!

Aside from the traditional Taj Mahal, I’ve short-listed some unusual things to do in India, to make your life easier so you can get on with your day. The links will provide the location.

-Moustache Watching at the Pushkar Fair in Rajasthan from Nov 11-23, 2018. Apparently, the moustache is a sign of virility in men of India. You’ll be surprised at the length of some of these!

-Mehendi Henna on your hands and feet. You will find a vendor who does this at any of the big or small market places.

-A Massage in Kerala. ‘Nuff said, right?

-While you’re there, why not stay in a houseboat? These are considered mini hotels.

-Also in Kerala, try Bamboo rafting.

Wagah Border Ceremony. Every night, India and Pakistan soldiers parade and lower their flags and the leaders shake hands. If it sounds boring, the cheering from both sides will surely motivate you.

-If you’re into Yoga or want to start, head to Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. Or the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Dharamkot. Himachal Pradesh & Arambol, Goa. (Dalai Lama’s residence is near here)

-Visit during February or March for the festival, Holi, in Uttar Pradesh, where people throw colour and water at each other to celebrate the Hindu God, Krishna. Beware if you are allergic to powdered colour!

-Mud Wrestling in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh.

If you do enjoy scrolling for ten minutes, here is the link where I pulled these interesting things to do.


The airlines that fly to India:

Air Canada

Jet Airways



United Airlines

Rates start about $600 Canadian.

Indian currency

The Rupee

1 rupee = $0.020 Canadian

$1.00 Canadian = 51 rupees, as of today.

Published by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on January 11, 2018

5 Surprising Facts About Sangria

Just in time for festivities this Christmas! Why not enjoy a pitcher with your family and friends instead of the usual Egg Nog?

1. The word Sangria ha limited use on the labels in Europe. Since 2014, only sangria sold in Spain and Portugal can be labeled as Sangria. If it’s made elsewhere is Europe, for example, Germany, then is must be labeled “German Sangria”.

2. When we think of sangria, we think of wine, a handful of chopped fruit pieces, some fruit juice, that sort of thing. In Spain, they use Brandy. Imagine the taste of that!

3. Sangria, that new hip thing everyone is getting into, again? Well, it’s been around since the 1700’s. Back then it was referred to as Sangaree. Only since the New York World’s Fair, in 1964, re-introduced sangria, has it been known as the version we love today.

And of course, there has to be a story to go along with it. Due to its blood-like color, the name comes from the Spanish word for blood, sangre.

Here’s where is gets a little more complicated…

4. In 1736, British Gentleman’s Magazine mentions that a punch seller, in London, England, concocted a blood colored drink with the strong, fortified Madeira wine and called it Sangre. The origins point towards Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean. So far, it makes sense…Madeira is a Portuguese wine. Over the next 20 years, the drink somehow developed the name Sangaree.

It is said that Sangaree did originate in the Caribbean then later brought to America. This, too, would make sense if the wine was transported to the Caribbean and the locals mixed it with something sweet since they were more accustomed to sweeter tasting drinks.

Or did the experimenting begin outside the vineyards of Europe?

5. Various versions pop up in recipe books of the 1800’s, such as Jerry Thomas’ 1862 Bartender Guide or Miss Leslie’s 1840 Directions for Cookery (choose link Domestic Liquor) to find:

Sangaree:  Mix in a pitcher or in tumblers one-third of wine, ale, or porter, with two-thirds of water either warm or cold. Stir in sufficient loaf-sugar to sweeten it, and grate some nutmeg into it.  

This is not how we know Sangria, is it?

Make Your Own

Grab your favorite bottle of wine, a cheap one will do since you’re going to mix it. If you want to go traditional, get a bottle of Tempranillo.

Squeeze in the juice from a couple lemons and oranges. Drop the wedges in, too.

Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 oz of Brandy.

Throw in your assortment of chopped fruit.

Let sit overnight.

Next day, add your preference: juice or club soda or both. Go extreme and toss in some bubbly white or rose or champagne!

Now, that we recognize today!

Bonus Fact: The mixing is endless. Did you know that a Peach Sangria is considered a Zurra?

Happy Sangria Day and go ahead and dress up your Sangria this holiday!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on December 20, 2017




A Guide For The Allergy-Ridden Wine Lover – Part 1: The Sweet Factor

Allergic to wine? Headache every time you have a glass? I hear ya. Those nasty, but delicious, ingredients can wreak havoc.

Let’s keep this short. One allergy/sensitivity, at a time. (Do you lose interest when  there is tons of reading to do? Scroll and scroll? ugh! Maybe I’m not as committed as you.)

First, A Bit of Science

What determines sweetness?

Yeast eats up the natural sugar from the grapes, or whatever fruit you are fermenting. If the yeast eats ALL of the sugar, it will be a dry wine. If the fermentation is interrupted, usually by chilling, some sugar will remain and be considered a sweet wine.

Note: Watch out for those cheap wines that add grape concentrate!

Sugar Content

What’s with the headache, already!

Could be the sugar.

The next time you end up with one, check the label.

3g is considered a low sugar content
3g is considered a low sugar content


Your local liquor store displays the sugar content on the shelf label.

You can also google the liquor store site or the wine itself ahead of your purchase.

Psst: If you are also avoiding tannins, the Bourgogne Pinot Noir, pictured here, is aged in stainless steel vats- not oak barrels. Just sayin.

It might be easier to find low sugar in red wine than a white. But, they do exist. You don’t necessarily have to switch over to red but check labels and switch to a lower level of sugar content in your white. See if your head notices a difference.

Bone-Dry – 0 – 10 grams of sugar = Less than 1 calorie per glass

Dry – 0 – 10 grams of sugar = 0 to 6 calories per glass

Off-Dry – 10 – 35 grams of sugar = 6 to 21 calories per glass

Sweet – 35 – 120 grams of sugar = 21 to 72 calories per glass  ie: Moscato

Very Sweet – 120 -220 grams of sugar = 72 to 130 calories per glass ie: Icewine

Per glass = 5 ounces

Daily intake of calories per day

Women (moderately active): 2,000 to 2,200

Men (moderately active): 2,500 approx.

So, it’s a Friday evening and you’re out with friends for dinner. You’ve ordered the pasta primavera, chowed down on the complimentary salad and bread and washed it down with a glass of shiraz.

Calorie Count So Far: minimum 700 for food………120 for wine.

Someone just bought a round of vino for the table. Add on another 120 calories.

Did the guy next to you just say dessert? Damn. Another 200 calories if you chose the cheesecake!

Conversation is flowing and so is the wine. You order one more Shiraz. +120

An Irish Coffee would go REAL nice right about now. Squeeze in 87 calories.

What are we at? 1,347 calories.

Ladies, you have between 653 and 853 leftover. What did you have for breakfast and lunch?

Men, you have between a bit more space.

*Caloric examples are based on nutrition chart from East Side Mario’s.

I’m not trying to make you feel bad but if you’re wondering why you have a hard time shedding a few pounds, it could be that extra glass of wine or the high sugar content of your wine…..ahem, white wine lovers.

To help you minimize those calories, look for these wines:

Italian pinot grigio: Considered “bone-dry”, the residual sugar is less than 1 gram and less than 3 calories in a 5-ounce serving.

Cabernet Sauvignon: 3 grams, approx.

Rose: 7 grams, approx.

German Riesling: 14 grams approx.

Champagne: 12 grams approx.

Lakeview Icewine: 173g of sugar

Inniskillin Vidal is a whopping 256 grams!

The list could go on and on. When shopping, read the label. Remember, the staff is there to help.

Even the icewines contain sulphites so watch out for these as well. But that is for the next blog.

Please comment with your success on eliminating your headaches by switching to low sugar wines!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on March 2, 2018