I don’t know about you, but lately it seems like every other post in my Instagram feed is about booze: frosty daiquiris in goblets the size of soup bowls, sparkling rosé in crystal coupe glasses, martinis expertly garnished with a curl of lemon peel. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised; during this strange and challenging time of social and physical isolation, people are throwing their energies into various creative pursuits, many of them revolving around food and drink. Cooking, baking, cocktail-shaking — these activities can help us tap into comforting memories of past celebrations with family and friends and look forward to the day when we’ll get to share our newfound kitchen and bar skills with our loved ones.
Cocktails in particular are delicious, often beautiful time machines, each sip transporting us back to beach vacations and nights out with friends. Even before COVID-19, craft cocktails were having a huge moment in Canada, with funky bars popping up in every city, pouring nightly departures from the mundane. To help lift our readers’ spirits with, well, spirits, we’ve compiled some delicious cocktail recipes from great bars and hotels across Canada. Make them at home to celebrate a special occasion — or just to liven up your next Zoom meeting.
The COLDROOM, Montreal
“Sgroppino” means to cleanse. Think of this refreshing cocktail as a boozy ice cream float.
2 oz of vodka or gin
1/3 cup frozen lemon sorbet
Top with prosecco
Garnish with thyme
The Rabbit Hole, Ottawa
The Rabbit Hole’s Nine Crimes cocktail is a smoky, herbaceous blend of mezcal, pineapple, herbs, jalapeño and cucumber. A recipe for this Sparks St. hot spot’s cucumber verdita is below. Prepping a batch of simple syrup is a snap — just combine one cup white sugar and one cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, and allow to cool.
2 oz Agua Santa Mezcal
2 oz House cucumber verdita
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.75 oz simple syrup
Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake until chilled and diluted. Strain over fresh ice and garnish with mint, jalapeño and a dehydrated lime wheel.
1 can pineapple juice
2 handfuls cilantro leaves
1 handful mint leaves
1 whole cucumber
1 – 3 jalapeños (to taste)
1 tsp citric acid
Add all ingredients to blender and blend on very high for 40 seconds. Using a mesh china cap, strain liquid from solids. (Should be a great vibrant green.) Taste and adjust spice accordingly.
Real maple syrup adds a sweet twist to a classic in this recipe by Adaina Smyth of Bar Les Cousins at Escad Hotel Quartier DIX30.
Maple Old Fashioned
2 oz whisky (bourbon for sweeter taste, rye for a slightly spicier finish)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Zest of an orange peel
⅓ oz maple syrup
In a mixing vessel, roll the orange zest between your fingers to release the oils. Add the other ingredients into the vessel and fill with ice. Stir the mixture for 10-15 seconds (longer for a less strong drink). Serve into a whisky glass over fresh ice.
Le Cathcart, Montreal
The boozy Encore un spritz is a trip to Europe in a glass.
Encore un spritz
1⁄2 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1 oz Lustau Puerto Fino Solera Reserva sherry
3 oz sparkling wine
Pour all the ingredients into a glass filled with ice. Stir lightly and garnish with an olive infused with sherry. (Plan ahead to make this one as your olives will need to soak in the sherry overnight in the fridge.)