The holidays are fast approaching, which means your schedule is probably starting to fill up with dinners, drinks and office parties. If you’re planning on hosting at least one of those events, you must already be wondering how to make it a stunning success, even surpassing your fabulous triple-chocolate cake that was such a hit last year.
Well, fret not! I have the solution for impressing your guests. This year, surprise everyone with a cocktail party based on local flavours. Who knows – it may even become a new tradition!
Before we start talking cocktails, let’s make sure you have a few key bottles in your liquor cabinet. I’ve chosen five luscious local products that celebrate the “terroir” – the unique local flavours — of Quebec.
In search of inspiration? Well, it just so happens that my colleague Max Coubès and I recently published our first book, L’Apéro au Québec : cocktails locaux et de saison, with 55 delicious recipes that are a cinch to whip up.
Whether you’re new behind the bar or a seasoned mixologist, here are a few of my must-haves you’ll want to pour for friends and family.
The indispensable: ROMEO’S GIN
When you think local booze, it’s hard not to think of gin, and there’s a vast selection these days. I always keep a bottle of Romeo’s on hand. With fresh scents of cucumber, almond and lavender, it’s a great all-purpose gin that’s perfect for cocktails. Try a Fizz du Lac, a smooth cocktail with a base of 100% Pure Blueberry Juice from Patience Fruit & Co.
For Spritzes: LES ÎLES APERITIF
Are you a fan of the Aperol Spritz? Did you know there’s a local alternative that can replace the Italian liqueur? Les Îles is a gentian- and bitter orange-based liqueur. Apart from the cool Quebec connection, the famous Spritz recipe remains the same: 3 parts sparkling Italian wine, 2 parts aperitivo and 1 part soda.
Bring out the big guns: MENAUD VODKA
Sometimes you really want to impress the epicures in your social circle. For folks with highly developed palates, I suggest making martinis with Menaud vodka. It’s a little different, with its taste of grain, spicy finish and silky texture. It’s also a great choice when you want to give someone a special bottle.
For festive occasions: DOMAINE BERGEVILLE SPARKLING WINE
Special occasions call for bubbly, on its own or in a cocktail. Domaine Bergeville in the Eastern Township produces the best sparkling wines in Quebec. I always have a bottle or two laid away over the holidays – it would never do to run out, after all….
Your signature ingredient: MAISON SIVO RHUBARB LIQUEUR
I’m leaving you a little latitude in this category, because the idea is to find your signature ingredient, the one you can’t wait for your guests to discover. The one I adore is the rhubarb liqueur from Maison Sivo, with its authentic taste and acidity that add a little oomph to same-old, same-old cocktails. You might prefer a local amaretto, fruit liqueur or maple-flavoured whisky. Choose your favourite flavour!
With these bottles on hand, you’re sure to have some very happy guests. Keep plenty of ice cubes in the freezer so your cocktails stay cold and tasty.
Now that I’ve made your mouth water, I suggest you practice by making a cocktail we’ve created especially for fans of Patience Fruit & Co products. Click here for the recipe. And for a delicious mocktail suggestion, try this recipe.
Thanks to our collaborator
Rose Simard - 1 or 2 Cocktails
1 or 2 Cocktails is a media that aims to bring people together for a drink. Through colorful videos and simple recipes, they will convince you that all occasions are good to drink 1 or 2 Cocktails!Visit the website