The Great Toronto Cocktail Challenge: Chemical Peel
Normally, if I'm out at a bar I'll opt for one of two things: a beer (preferably something cloudy, orange and Belgian) or a whiskey (preferably Jameson's). Now and then if I'm feeling pretty flush, I'll get something shaken and served in a nice big rocks glass; and rarer still - when I'm feeling fabulous - only an oversized martini glass filled with something fluorescent will do. Tonight was one of those nights.
Fire On The East Side serves more martinis that you can count on two hands. There's something to be said for a boozy cocktail that goes down like fruit juice served in a "Y" shaped glass that spills so easily it's virtually impossible to dance with, but still, you dance.
At Fire on the East Side everyone has their martini and I was determined to find mine.
With very little research but a boat load of enthusiasm, I decided I'm a Chemical Peel. Part of the reason I love this drink is because I'm not sure whether or not I should be grossed out by its name--I decided not to be. Here's what makes it me:
Chemical Peel - 3oz, $10.00
Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka
Captain Morgan's Coconut Rum
Top Notes - 6/10
Colour is almost as important as flavour in a drink like this - think electric and eye catching. The Chemical Peel is neon green with a bright red maraschino cherry dot at the anchor of the glass. It's the kind of drink someone sees you holding and immediately wants to know what it is; the kind bartenders dread because as soon as someone breaks the ice, they're making one for everyone in the bar. Case in point: I ordered one for myself and ended up sharing it with three people.
The Back End 7/10
This drink doesn't taste like alcohol. That isn't a value judgement, it's an observation. There are times I want my stiff drinks to taste stiff, but sometimes - as I mentioned earlier - fluorescent and fruity is better. Even against my better judgement, I order and ultimately, even though it's not really my normal steez, I totally get sucked in. One easily gives way to two (especially on Mondays when it's only $6.00 per 3oz) and the combination of vanilla, coconut and melon form a bond that should never be broken.
Finish - 7/10
Comparing a drink like this to something like a Sazerac or Petey's Mescal Muddle is a bit unfair. They approach the cocktail from totally different angles. A Chemical Peel isn't supposed to have the finest spirits or house made bitters or any other kind of fashionable hoity toity ingredient, it's just supposed to be good--and it is. It's the pop music of mixed drinks, the Ke$ha of cocktails. But it need not be a guilty pleasure - just embrace it. Over time it will give way to a newer, sexier drink and that's ok too. It's not here for a long time, but a good one
Final Score: 20/30 (66%)
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