If you’ve been digging for some hidden gems and come up empty, well, you’re about to discover a gold mine. We’re talking about The Blue Stones and their highly anticipated sophomore album Hidden Gems, due out this Friday, March 19th through Entertainment One. The release is significant, not just because it’s the duo’s second album, but also because it delves deeper into a different side of their sound.
There’s more of an urban flavour on some songs, particularly “Careless” and “Make This Easy,” while “Shakin’ Off The Rust” and “Let It Ride” are more traditional rockers, that was typical of their debut Black Holes. Composed of Tarek Jafar, and Justin Tessier, The Stones hail from Windsor, Ontario. It’s been a long wait between albums for fans of the duo, with Black Holes released all the way back in the fall of 2015, with a re-release coming in 2018. It may be five and a half years, but it was worth the wait, with Jafar and Tessier ready to take a giant leap forward, both creatively and commercially.
With Hidden Gems arriving this week, it was necessary to commemorate the occasion, so we connected with The Blue Stones for another one of our Top Ten lists. Here, the guys run down their top ten favourite cocktails that they’ve been known to enjoy here and there.
“Something I just started getting into this last summer, tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and club soda. Simple syrup optional. It’s hard to put back a dark, strong cocktail when you’re on a patio and it’s 95 degrees outside. I guess some people in Mexico make it with just tequila and grapefruit soda (Fresca/Squirt/Jarritos) as a more simple version, and that sounds pretty damn good, too.”
9. Hemingway Daiquiri
“Forget the frozen, pre-mixed slushie ‘daiquiri’ that you had 25 of that one night on your trip to Mayan Riviera when you were 18. Rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur. Based on the Floridita Daiquiri, the namesake of a popular bar in Havana, Ernest Hemingway said he would ‘prefer it without sugar and double rum,’ like an absolute legend. Definitely the right move. This one’s great during summer nights.”
8. Aperol Spritz
“Looks like all of the lighter drinks made the bottom of the list. I know this is a basic white girl cocktail, but they taste great and everyone finds themselves at a brunch at some point. Aperol, prosecco, splash of club soda, orange wheel garnish.”
7. Bow and Arrow
“Getting a little more into the darker drinks, the fruit juice keeps it a little sweet and the booze makes it a little smoky. Bourbon, mezcal, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup. One of our crew members who’s a big cocktail enthusiast turned us on to this one, and it’s the perfect mix of light enough to be crushable and strong enough to get a buzz on.”
6. Fort Lauderdale
“You wouldn’t think it from the ingredients, but this one’s super light and crushable. Good blend of sweet and sour and the gin throws in some complexity for good measure. Sort of based on a Mai Tai but not nearly as much in the ‘tiki drinks’ realm. Gin, Campari, apricot liqueur, lemon juice, and orgeat syrup.”
5. New York Flip
“On the first bitterly cold day of winter each year, this is what I’m pouring. It’s more of an after-dinner cocktail but just hits different when you get in from -20 degrees weather. Bourbon, port, simple syrup, cream, egg yolk. Freshly grated nutmeg garnish. Perfect around the holidays.”
“The exception when it comes to warm-weather cocktails, hits hard in the best way. The drink that started getting me into more bitter flavours. Gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth in equal parts. Orange peel garnish.”
“Basically a whiskey negroni. The whiskey gives it a little more sweetness and smokiness. I take mine with rye if it’s available, the spiciness is nice for this cocktail, but bourbon works too.”
“It’s just hard to beat a margarita. Little sweet, little sour, little bitter, little salty. It’s good before, during, and after pretty much any meal. The original is no doubt the best, but it’s nice that there are a million great variations on this, too. Also pretty much the only drink I’ll willingly break my ‘no frozen drinks’ rule for. Tequila, triple sec (Cointreau being the only acceptable triple sec around), lime juice. Add a little simple syrup/agave syrup if you like it sweeter. Salt rim is the way to go. Lime wedge garnish.”
1. Old Fashioned
“The one that started them all. Whiskey with a little help. The gold standard by which every bartender’s worth is judged. Four ingredients build something greater than the sum of its parts. Whiskey, water, sugar, bitters. Never a bad time for a good old fashioned with good company.”