TIFF 2011: We teach you how to create the drinks that the celebs have been sipping while hobnobbing at the Grey Goose Soho House

Dimi Lezinska and Gerard Butler
Dimi Lezinska and Gerard Butler

One of TIFF’s most guarded secret spots is the Grey Goose Soho House. Its location has been more or less kept hush-hush throughout the festival, and that’s why it’s probably been such a popular joint for celebs, including Ryan Gosling, Keira Knightley, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Olivia Wilde, and the list goes and on (and on).

For the first time we’d seen the venue during daylight hours, we stopped by on Saturday to check it out and chat with Grey Goose global brand ambassador Dimi Lezinska, the man in charge of creating Soho House’s cocktail menu. While all manner of good-looking stars come through Soho House, we could easily see patrons being more interested in catching Lezinska’s eye, and not because they needed to get a drink. The Frenchman is charming and handsome, which itself is the best cocktail. Lezinska has been with Grey Goose for six years and has created cocktails for soirees from the Oscars in Los Angeles to the Cannes Film Festival.

Lezinska created the menu for TIFF about three months in advance, and he says when planning he tries to incorporate flavours and ingredients that reflect the location of the event. Experimenting with all of these ingredients and creating signature cocktails sounds rather scientific, but Lezinska makes it sound like more than pouring the right mix: “It’s not a science—it’s an alchemy.” We think he’s struck gold.

Let’s get shaking »

Grey Goose Le Fizz
Effervescent and light, it’s the perfect start for the evening, and not so strong you’ll be lightheaded after just one glass. Lezinska says the secret to making it perfect and drawing the flavours out is to use very cold soda water. So go ahead and mix a batch beforehand, but be sure to re-shake over ice for each glass and leave out the soda to the very end, after you’ve strained it into a champagne flute.

35 ml Grey Goose vodka
15 ml elderflower cordial
15 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
Splash of soda water

The Grey Goose Northern Starlet
The trick to this is using freshly pressed organic Canadian cranberry juice. If you’ve never had the fresh juice, it’s different than supermarket stuff. It’s bitter, so the citrus flavours here are needed to soften the acidity. Combine the ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a coupette. Garnish with a whole star anise.

45ml Grey Goose vodka
5ml Cherry Marnier (or cherry liqueur)
25ml freshly pressed, organic, Canadian cranberry juice
10ml passion fruit syrup
5ml Freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice

The Grey Goose Toronto Tower
Inspired by the buildings that make up Toronto’s skyline, this cocktail is refreshing and at first hard to place. With its sprig of mint garnish and a stalk of lemongrass, we were expecting a mojito, but it’s so wholly original we’re finding it hard to explain. Trust us when we say it’s refreshing without being too light. Pour all ingredients into a highball glass and stir them together.

50ml Grey Goose vodka
25ml freshly squeezed lime juice
20ml sugar cane syrup
3 dashes of celery bitters
Top with sparkling water

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