Little known fact: I used to work in sales at a high-end tile and countertop store. For a brief stint before taking my current role, I sold tile and countertops to architects and designers for use in condo/office buildings. As a result, I know a heck of a lot more about tile and countertops than the average bear.
If you ever need guidance on the proper installation technique for tile in a shower or steam room, give me a call. Just kidding, please don’t. But I did pick up some useful tidbits that I’m prepared to share with you today.
This post is sponsored by HanStone Canada.
Kitchen and bathroom renovations are popular choices for homeowners looking to get the best return on investment and we know that home improvements have seen a serious uptick over the course of the pandemic. When I renovated my condo kitchen in 2018 and my bathroom in 2021, I wanted a countertop that would stand the test of time, be easy-to-clean and durable, in a timeless finish that would appeal to any future buyers.
Given my breadth of experience in the countertop business, I didn’t think twice about the materials I wanted to use in these high-traffic spaces. I went for HanStone Canada’s hard, nonporous, natural quartz surface in the Yorkville colour. As you can see in these images, the Yorkville colour gives you the stunning visual appeal of marble, without the drawbacks.
Most people love the look of marble but I regret to inform you it is an absolutely terrible choice for a countertop. While it is very beautiful, marble is porous meaning it’s prone to staining and anything acidic, like lemon juice or wine, will create etching on the surface. It’s also kind of high-maintenance as it requires occasional resealing and can’t be cleaned with harsh or acidic cleaners.
Whereas HanStone quartz surfaces are heat, scratch, and stain resistant and don’t require any sealing. They are extremely durable and, in my view, the obvious choice for a busy kitchen or bathroom, but not totally indestructible. As with all good things, a little TLC goes a long way – daily cleaning with a mild dish soap such as Dawn and water or a mild surface cleaner such as Greenworks is a great way to keep your HanStone countertops looking *chef’s kiss*.
I am so delighted with how my HanStone quartz countertops completely transformed my kitchen from dark and dreary to bright and timeless. Plus, I’m not fussed when I get a little spillage in the midst of shaking and stirring cocktails on my Virtual Happy Hour series on Instagram and YouTube.
Sometimes you gotta make a splash to get the shot – even if you’re working with highly-pigmented spirits like the Select Aperitivo used in this Salty Negroni. With HanStone quartz countertops, I’m confident I can do whatever it takes for my craft and clean-up will be a breeze.
This cocktail is a more approachable riff on the classic three-ingredient cocktail. I’m using Malfy Con Limone lemon-flavoured gin, Dolin Blanc de Chambéry vermouth which is drier than the sweet vermouth that is characteristic of a Negroni, and Select Aperitivo instead of Campari. The real pièce de résistance in this recipe is the addition of saline solution. Adding a bit of salt to your cocktails achieves the same effect as salting a dish, it serves to amplify all the sweet and sour flavours and tames bitterness. The fine folks at Punch make a compelling case on why you should be adding salt to your cocktails here.
Try out this Salty Negroni as you contemplate your next kitchen reno with HanStone countertops!
A more approachable take on the classic three-ingredient cocktail swaps out Campari for Select Aperitivo, a lemon-flavoured gin, a white vermouth instead of sweet vermouth, and a couple drops of saline solution for a salty finish make for a balanced and tasty tipple.
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir over ice until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled double rocks glass over one large ice cube.
Express citrus oils from orange peel onto the surface of the drink. Rub the peel around the lip of the glass and drop into the drink for garnish.
Combine boiling water and flaky sea salt in a heatproof container. Stir until salt has dissolved. Allow to cool and transfer to an eye dropper or dasher bottle.
Saline solution: 5:1 ratio of boiling water to flaky sea salt.