When life gives you lemons…Make a Whiskey Sour (or two).

I finally took the leap and decided to start experimenting with egg whites in some of my cocktails.  I also had a bag of lemons I needed to use – so naturally my first thought was – what kind of cocktails can I make.

The obvious choice was a Whiskey Sour.  I’ve noticed in my city – it’s tough to find places that make a solid Whiskey Sour.  Some places are great – others not so much – but when done right- they are a delicious treat – with my favorite spirit – BOURBON.

Since this was my first attempt at using egg whites in a drink, I wanted to make sure I got it right – so I followed the recipe from the Death & Co Cocktail book. ( An Amazing book for anyone who enjoys cocktails & spirits).

The recipe calls for:

2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon

.75 oz Lemon Juice

.75 oz Simple Syrup

1 Egg White

The ingredients are all added to a cocktail shaker & dry shaken.  Then ice is added, and shaken again.

The first one I made  I strained into a rocks glass over ice(pictured above), the second one I made I double strained into a coupe. (picture below).

WhiskeySour2

Now that I am confident I can make a Whiskey Sour as good as most restaurants I’ve tried – I will refrain from ordering these while I am out.  My big concern now is that my budget for eggs & lemons may be going up substantially this year!

Cheers!

Well that was easy…How a 1 hour bank appointment will save me over $20,000

On Friday I had an appointment at the bank, it last just over an hour – and it will easily result in savings over over $20,000 over the next 10 years (or less).

How is this possible?  It’s actually a lot simpler than you would think.  All I did was follow through on one of my goals for this year.  I finally decided to transfer my high cost RBC mutual funds to my direct investing account.

At the time of transfer I had the following 2 funds:

RBC GLOBAL DIVIDEND GROWTH FUND

RBC CANADIAN EQUITY INCOME FUND

The RBC Global Dividend Growth Fund was my very first Mutual Fund I ever purchased.  I’ve owned this fund for over 10 years.  This fund has been pretty terrible for me (10 year return of 5.3%) AND has really high fees (2.14%).  Truth be told I’ve been unhappy with this fund for years, but just kept putting off doing something about it.  Now that I am taking things more seriously, and have this website to hold me accountable I finally did something about it.  I plan on replacing this fund with an International/Global ETF.  I am currently trying to decide which low cost fund to replace this with.  So far I am leaning towards one of the funds below- although I plan to do some more research this week:

VANGUARD FTSE GLOBAL ALL CAP EX CANADA INDEX ETF (0.27% MER)

ISHARES CORE MSCI ALL COUNTRY WORLD EX CANADA INDEX ETF (0.22% MER)

Even if I end up choosing the Vanguard fund with a slightly higher MER – I would be paying 1.87% less per year in fees than I currently am.  With my current portfolio amount this would result in yearly savings of  $1215.50.  This savings amount would continue to increase each year as my portfolio increases – but even if we assume I don’t contribute to this account ever again, and it returns 0% for the next 10 years, that means in 10 years I will have saved $12,155.00.  The crazy thing is that this ETF outperformed my high cost mutual fund by close to 4% over the last 3 years as well so not only will I be saving money in fees each year, I should be getting a better return as well.

Truth be told, even with the high MER (1.92%) – I’ve been really happy with the Canadian Equity Income Fund.  It has a 10 year annualized return of 10.4%, and currently pays me a monthly dividend of over $200.  I did a little bit of research and found out that RBC offers Series “D” funds for people who use direct investing.  This is the exact same fund – but with a lower MER.  I decided to transfer this fund to a series D fund rather than liquidate my position.  This will reduce the MER from 1.92 to 1.04.  This is a reduction of 0.88% per year. Based on my current shares this will save me: $572 this year (and even more every following year as my portfolio increases).  Even if I never put another cent into this fund – and it returned 0% for the next 10 years – this would result in savings of $5720 over the next 10 years.

While I was at the bank I also finally set up an RESP for my kids and increased my spousal RRSP contributions by $100 every 2 weeks.  I normally hate these appointments – but I’d say that was a pretty good use of an hour.

If anyone has any recommendations on any low cost global/international ETF’s I’d love to hear them so I can research them this week.  Thanks in advance!

*Off Topic* My Bar

You may have noticed a new heading on this site this week titled “My Bar”.

I’ve decided to add a new section to the site chronicling my journey into learning more about spirits, liqueurs and cocktails.  As with the rest of the site- this section is basically for me to use as a reference, and a diary – however if anyone else is able to enjoy it all the better 🙂

I plan to use this new space to include recipes, reviews of different spirits, and to show some of the recent concoctions I’ve tried to create.  I’ve already thrown up a few of my my favorites and will be adding more as I create them at home.

Today’s newest addition: Manhattan

Manhattan

I decided to use Knob Creek 100% rye for this variation, as I haven’t had it in a while and wanted to see how it would blend in a Manhattan.  I also used Cinzano instead of the normal go to Martini branded Vermouth as I already had an open bottle.  Truth be told I recently bought a bottle of Dillons Sweet Vermouth which I have been really wanting to try – but decided against opening it until my current bottle of Cinzano was empty.

Ingredients:

2 oz Rye Whiskey (I used Knob Creek 100% rye small batch pictured above)

.75 oz Sweet Vermouth (I used Cinzano)

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Garnish with 2 Cherries

Directions: 

Add all ingredients to mixing glass filled with Ice, stir for 10-15 seconds.  Strain into martini/cocktail glass & garnish with a cherry or two.

Overall it was pretty tasty – and very boozy.  You will feel a buzz after a sip or two.  I’m not a huge fan of Cinzano- so I’d like to try this again once I replace my vermouth with Dillons or Martini again.

You can follow my cocktail journey with this recipe and more HERE

Flipped 3 Penny stocks for long term holds.

In November I decided to put just over $2,000 into 2 different Marijuana stocks, knowing full well this was a short term play/gamble.

I purchased 7100 shares of LGC Capital ($LG) for .14
I purchased 4000 shares of National Access Cannabis ($NAC) for .20
I had also previously purchased 2500 shares of Nutritional High ($EAT) for .25

Total cost of purchasing all 3 including commission: $2448.85

This week I liquidated all 3 holdings for a total of $7816.41 after commission.

Total Gain after 2 months of holding: $5367.56

Although these are obviously great gains especially in such a short period of time – I actually got a bit greedy and should have sold earlier – as I could have made an extra $3000 if I had sold LG a few days prior.  I was originally very interested in holding LGC Capital for the long haul, but after reading a bit more about their chairman, as well as seeing his antics on twitter, I ultimately decided against it as he seemed to be more worried about the stock price, and less worried about the future of the company.

Now I have almost 8k I can put towards some long term holdings, specifically ones that will add to my yearly dividend income.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing some research on a few different stocks, and narrowed it down to the following 5:

Northview Apartment Reit ($NVU.UN)

I have had my eye on this stock for about 3 years.  I first started looking at this stock when it was trading around $14-15 dollars and thought it was attractively valued.  It is now trading over $24 and I still think it is cheap.  With a P/E of 7.4 and a payout ratio of under 50% I feel both the stock price and the dividend still have room to grow.  The other REIT’s in my portfolio are commercial/industrial so I’ve been looking to add a residential REIT as well.  The stock currently yields 6.58%.

Interrent Real Estate Investment Trust ($IIP.UN)

This is one of the cheapest residential REIT’s I have been able to find.  With a stock price under $10, this is currently trading with a P/E of 4.4.  The yield is very low for a REIT (2.84%) and has a very low payout ratio as well which makes me think we will see some dividend increases over the next couple of years.  One concern I have with this stock is the lack of diversification (all properties are in Ontario).  Due to its extremely low valuation – this stock seems like a prime candidate for a buyout by one of the larger REIT’s.

Cascades ($CAS)

This company reminds me of one of my recent purchases (Intertape Polymer).  It is a boring, reliable company that continues to show strong profits, but has recently been beaten down by the market for no real reason.  The yield on this one is extremely low(1.17%), as is the valuation.  The 52 week high is $18.20 and it is currently trading just under $14.00.

Western Forest ($WEF)

The lowest priced stock on my list (trading at $2.68) this is a B.C wood producer that has shown consistent profits and has increased revenue over the previous 3 years.  The dividend hasn’t grown in 5 years which is a slight concern, although with a payout ratio under 40% there seems to be some room to grow it in the future as long as revenues keep increasing and they can control their costs.

Power Corp ($POW)

This is another one of those buy and hold forever type of stocks, and also another I’ve had on my watch list for some time.  Currently trading at a P/E under 10, while also paying a generous 4.45% yield makes this especially attractive right now.  Power corp is the holding company of Great West Life (one of the largest insurance companies in Canada and I believe the largest employer in my hometown of Winnipeg).  Power Corp has also maintained a dividend for 20 years, and has increased it’s dividend for 3 consecutive years.

When purchasing stocks for the long haul,  I like always ensure that I DRIP any dividends and like to have enough shares so that I can at least DRIP a full share each dividend payout.  To ensure I could reinvest 1 full share at the current prices, I would need to invest the following into each of the stocks above:

NVU.UN = $4583

IIP.UN = $4181

CAS = $4685

WEF = $356

POW = $2877

So What did I buy? 

In the end I decided I liked the idea of set it and forget it.  I purchased 200 shares of Power Corp which should give me enough to drip at least 2 shares every quarter.  With the remaining cash I only had enough to ensure I could reinvest in full shares of Western Forest so I purchased 522 shares of Western Forest which should allow me to repurchase 3-4 shares each quarter.  Another reason I leaned towards these 2, is that I already have about 10% of my TFSA invested in REIT’s, and I recently purchased a similar packaging company to cascades (Intertape Polymer).  I feel like all of these would have been good buys, but these 2 specifically help with diversification.

These purchases will add $328.56 to my yearly dividend income (purchased in my Tax Free Account).

I am still very interested in adding the other 3 stocks on my list to my portfolio, but unfortunately it will have to wait until I can inject some more cash into my TFSA.

Curious what the rest of you think with these choices – do you think I made the right choice?  Would you have purchased one of the others on my list instead (or some different stocks altogether)?