Life Food

Regionally-inspired cocktails for Canada's 150th

By Ling Hui, Postmedia Network

Raise a glass and toast our nation's birthday.

To celebrate Canada’s 150th, we asked Canadian bartenders and a few top-selling spirits makers for cocktail recipes to pay homage to the unique flavours of Canada’s diverse regions.

Whether it’s a spirit-forward sipper or a sweet, dessert-like drink you’re craving, we’ve got six patriotic tipples for all your celebratory needs.

EAST COAST:

Blueberry Stumble

Blueberries are in abundance during the summer in Nova Scotia. For Jared Wall of Halifax’s Gio Restaurant, the inspiration behind his cocktail is a sense of nostalgia for a dessert that is quintessentially Nova Scotian and made by everybody’s grandmother – the blueberry crumble.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Disaronno Amaretto
  • 1 1/2 oz. chilled David's blueberry jam tea
  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. fresh egg white
  • 1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup*

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, without ice, and shake as hard as you can for 15 to 20 seconds. Add ice and shake hard again for 8 to 10 seconds. (Double shaking will allow more air to enter the egg whites, creating a lovely, velvety foam on top of the drink.) Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with 3 or 4 blueberries and a pinch of freshly grated lemon zest.

*Cinnamon syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. powdered cinnamon

Add all ingredients to a metal mixing bowl. Boil 2 cups water and pour on sugar and spice mix. Stir until sugar dissolves (cinnamon will not fully dissolve).

WEST COAST:

Bear Trap

Inspired by one of British Columbia’s most iconic animals, Justin Taylor of The Cascade Room in Vancouver uses Iceberg Vodka, a Canadian vodka, as a base for his drink. He mixes in local spirits for depth. "Odd Society’s Cassis adds a rich berry flavour and Woods Amaro brings a delectable spice and mysterious flavour," says Taylor. “I added ginger to bring strong aromatics and honey syrup because it is a healthy substitute for sugar…and everyone knows about bears and their honey! Top that off with local bitters and all the ingredients come together as one.”

  • 1 1/2 oz. Iceberg Vodka
  • 1/4 oz. Odd Society’s creme de cassis
  • 1/4 oz. Woods Amaro
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup (made by mixing equal parts honey and hot water)
  • 12 blueberries
  • 1 slice of ginger root
  • 3 dashes Bittered Sling Western Haskap (haskap berries are grown across Canada and taste like a cross between a blueberry and a raspberry)

In a cocktail shaker, add ginger and blueberries and muddle to extract juices. Add remaining ingredients and fill shaker with ice. Shake vigourously for 15 seconds and fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with blueberries.

THE PRAIRIES:

Spirits of the West

With the Caesar's roots firmly planted in Calgary, bartender Rob Bretherton of Hy’s Steakhouse Calgary creates this twist on the classic hangover cure by including the flavours of Canadian beef and whisky made with Alberta rye. A version of this cocktail will be served at Hy's Steakhouse locations across Canada as part of their Canada 150 happy hour menu.

  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 oz. Alberta Premium Dark Horse rye whisky
  • 3/4 oz. peppercorn sauce
  • 1/2 oz. pickled bean juice
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 3 turns of pepper
  • Clamato juice
  • 1/2 bar spoon of horseradish

For Garnish:

  • 1 small slice of jalapeno with seeds
  • peppered beef jerky and pickled bean (roll the beef jerky around the bean)

Rub a lemon wedge around the edge of a highball glass and dip half the glass with caesar rim and the other half with salt. Add all ingredients, except the Clamato juice, to a mixer and muddler. Stir and strain into the glass with ice. Float Clamato juice and garnish.

The Grain Train

This version of the Old Fashioned is named after the trains that transport the grains from the Prairies to Crown Royal’s distillery in Gimli, Man.

  • 1 1/4 oz. Crown Royal Limited Edition
  • 1/4 oz. Benedictine
  • 1/4 oz. honey syrup
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir for 30 seconds to dilute and chill. Strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

THE NORTH:

Polar Bear Shot

For some people, it just isn't a party until there are shots. Cool off with this version made with Canadian vodka inspired by the North Pole. Don’t forget to chill the shot glass to keep it ice-cold.

  • 1/2 oz. Polar Ice 90° North Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. McGuinness Creme de Cacao White
  • 1/2 oz. McGuinnesss Peppermint Schnapps

Pour ingredients in a shot glass and serve.

CENTRAL:

Absolut Cottage Tea

Whether you’re in Quebec’s Lake Memphremagog or Haliburton County in Ontario, a glass of refreshing spiked iced tea is the perfect drink for a mid-day cocktail break.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Absolut Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Lot 40 rye whisky
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Triple Sec
  • homemade iced tea (preferably Earl Grey, but orange pekoe or any black tea will do)

Build in a Collins glass and garnish with lemon wheel.

Glory Bellini

Celebrate with a bit of bubbly with this recipe featuring Ontario peaches.

  • 2 oz. Vitaminwater Glory
  • 1 1/2 oz. prosecco
  • 2 Tbsp. Ontario peach puree
  • crushed ice

Pour crushed ice into a martini glass, add prosecco and Vitaminwater. stir and garnish with a fresh Ontario peach slice. For those seeking a non-alcoholic version, replace Prosecco with 1 1/2 oz of Sprite.