Life of the Party: 6 Wintery Canadian Cocktails to Warm You Up

The Navidad Negroni

Holiday party season is in full swing. Sequins are everywhere, lunch invites are rolling in as work productivity is rolling downhill.

If you’re anything like me, you prefer to host a Christmas shindig at home versus booking out a venue. Just because your holiday house party happens at home doesn’t mean the fun factor has to be any less than a 12 out of 10. Hallmarks of a noteworthy holiday party include: strong, wintery cocktails, sparkly decor, snappy dress, a toe-tapping playlist, a dance floor (mandatory; see also: kitchen or living room), plentiful, tasty nosh and fantastic folks to laugh the night away with.

While I can’t help you with the entire list above save for sparkles, dance moves and laughter (if I’m invited, that is) – I can help with the wintery cocktails part.

To help you host a party for the history books or at least for The Facebook, I’ve curated a little list of cold weather, Canadian cocktails near and far to help lubricate the conversation and possibly kick start the dance floor at your festive soiree. I approached some of Canada’s best barkeeps for their wintery cocktails – you know, the ones guaranteed to warm your cockles, while dazzling guests with alluring flavours and textures. Click the jump below to nab drink recipes from Baie Saint Paul Quebec to Vancouver, British Columbia and points in between. 

Shaken & stirred – these wintery cocktails will impress your guests and warm you up

Satoshi Yonemori works his magic behind Grapes & Soda's bar. Photo Credit: Carlo Ricci
Satoshi Yonemori of Grapes & Soda’s bar. Photo Credit: Carlo Ricci
The Amber Brandy Fizz
The Amber Brandy Fizz

On a recent trip to Vancouver, a gaggle of good friends and I took over half of the teeny new resto Grapes & Soda. One the menu: a lot of natural wines and pretty cocktails served in even more beautiful glassware. Bartender Satoshi Yonemori shared the recipe for his Amber Brandy Fizz, which is a throwback to frothy mustachioed times and loud conversations.

Amber Brandy Fizz 

By Satoshi Yonemori, Grapes & Soda, Vancouver, B.C

INGREDIENTS

30ml                 Brandy (French or Spanish)

20ml                 Lemon

10ml                 Campari

20ml                 Plum Puree

3 dashes          Angostura Bitters

½                       Egg White

METHOD

  1. Add the ingredients to a shaker and shake hard! The idea is to shake long and hard enough so the egg white is beaten to almost a meringue like consistency and emulsifies with the other ingredients.
  2. Enjoy this light, refreshing, yet creamy textured concoction.
Kylie Bartlett of Odd Society Spirits, a distillery located on the shores of Vancouver's Burrard Inlet.
Kylie Bartlett of Odd Society Spirits, a distillery located on the shores of Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet.
The Flying Fig made with
The Flying Fig made with Odd Society’s Oaken Gin made from B.C. barley and oaked for several months.

East Vancouver’s founding father of the local distillery movement, Odd Society Spirits makes gin, currant liqueur (which is lovely as a drink or ice cream topping, incidentally) and vodka. Their tasting room is a great place to pop in or park it for a while thanks to the industrial-but-comfortable feel and local art on display. Here’s a fab figgy drink to warm your cockles.

Flying Fig

By Kylie Bartlett, Odd Society Spirits, Vancouver, B.C.

INGREDIENTS

1.5oz Odd Society Spirits Oaken Gin

1 Bar spoonful (large) of fig purée*

0.75oz vanilla liqueur

0.5oz lemon Juice

0.25oz simple syrup

1 dash Apothecary Elder Growth Bitters

METHOD

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into coupe glass and garnish with a dried fig on the side of the glass.

*Fig Purée How to: add one cup of dried figs chopped finely to 1.5 cups of water. Bring water and chopped figs to a boil, add one cup of demerara sugar, stir in sugar bring to a boil again then turn down to low heat and simmer for 10/15 mins or till slightly thick.Take off heat to cool. Once cooled put mixture into blender or food processor, blend until puréed. Add 2oz of Odd Society Spirits East Van Vodka to the mixture to keep it from spoiling and stir.

Chef Christie Peters of Saskatoon's The Hollows
Chef Christie Peters of Saskatoon’s The Hollows.
The Gin Gimlet - a frosty take on a classic.
The Gin Gimlet – a frosty take on a classic.

Deep in the heart of Saskatoon’s Riversdale neighbourhood, The Hollows makes simple, locally-sourced dishes in a beautifully retro space. Located in the Golden Dragon, this west-side rest’s menu is well-edited and innovative (think dandelion fritters or Elk carpaccio).

The Fir Tree Gimlet

By Chef Christie Peters,  The Hollows, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

INGREDIENTS

1.5 oz. Plymouth Gin

.5 oz. simple syrup

.75 oz fir tree infused lime*

METHOD

Fir Tree Infused Lime Recipe: combine 100ml fir needle & 500ml fresh squeezed lime juice. Liquify all ingredients in blender & strain.

Westcoast vibes: Julia Diakow from Tacofino in Vancouver.
Westcoast vibes: Julia Diakow from Tacofino in Vancouver.
The Navidad Negroni
The Navidad Negroni

Oh Tacofino, how I love thee and how you’ve grown up into such a hip and metropolitan version of yourself. Though it’s roots are in a colourful, roadside food truck/bus in Canada’s surf capital Tofino, B.C., there are now two bricks’n’mortar locations in Vancouver. So ditch the neoprene and opt for a boyfriend blazer and make this Mexican version of a classic cocktail.

Navidad Negroni

By Julia Diakow, Tacofino, Vancouver, B.C.

INGREDIENTS 

1 oz El Jimador reposado tequila

1 oz Becherovka (a Czech herbal bitter)

1 oz Cocchi Rosa (an Italian fortified aperitif wine)

METHOD

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until well chilled. Strain over fresh ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with orange peel and a dusting of cinnamon.

Will Publow of Toronto's Trump Hotel bar America.
Will Publow of Toronto’s Trump Hotel restaurant America.

The Treasure Island

The Treasure Island – golden inside and out.

With sweeping views of downtown Toronto, Trump Hotel’s America is a bold, vibrant answer to hotel dining. The youngest sibling of the Oliver & Bonacini restaurant family, America is known for it’s eye candy bar staff and well-suite patrons.

Treasure Island

By Wil Publow, America at Trump Hotel, Toronto, Ontario

INGREDIENTS

2oz Angostura 1919 rum

Dash of orange and vanilla bitters

Dash of Kahlua

Ground pepper

Orange peel

METHOD

Muddle orange peel and add to a rocks glass. Add ice. Pour two ounces of Angostura 1919 rum. Add a dash of orange and vanilla bitters. Add a dash of Kahlua. Top with freshly ground pepper. Garnish with an orange peel.

Rémi Bouchard: Maitre D’ and sommelier at Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix
Rémi Bouchard: Maitre D’ and sommelier at Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix
After a frosty night out in Quebec's Charlevoix region, you will definitely need to warm your cockles.
Easy and delicious, the Cocktail Chic made with Quebecois rum, is perfect after a day of playing in a scene like this.

About 1.5 hours from Quebec City, on the shores of the St. Lawrence River sits Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix. An ode to modernity in the country, the hotel and it’s Charlevoix flavours are a popular escape for locals and international folks alike.

Cocktail Chic

By Rémi Bouchard, Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix, Baie Saint Paul, Quebec

INGREDIENTS

75 ml Chic-Choc Rum (spiced rum from Gaspé, Quebec)

½ lime cut in quarters

sugar to taste (+/- ½ teaspoon)

METHOD

In an old fashioned glass, use a muddler to crush the lime, rum and sugar. Add crushed ice and stir 15 seconds with a spoon. Serve in the same glass decorated with a slice of lime.

What is your favourite holiday beverage?

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Looking for unconventional holiday decor ideas? Check out my interview with South African designer Heather Moore (Skinny laMinx) or my Holiday season Pinterest Board.

18 thoughts on “Life of the Party: 6 Wintery Canadian Cocktails to Warm You Up

  1. Super post! I love how there are so many new flavoured spirits to spice up our cocktails. I tried a Nanaimo Bar Martini in Nanaimo made with Coven vodka which is a local speciality. Now I’ve got to source out some of the new BC flavoured gins. Cheers!

    1. I’m right there with you Doreen! Coven vodka is great – I tried them at a BC Distilled spirits conference a couple years ago.

  2. These all sound FABULOUS 😀 Give me the cocktail chic please!! I think it’s time I run off to the liquor store and turn my fridge into a bar – going to have some fun with these recipes!!

    I’m a big fan of anything Kahlua, though also love spiking hot chocolates with some Baileys and cream 🙂

  3. I am so boring compared to you. People don’t get cool cocktails at my house – just wine and beer – though must say I’m always happy to try one. Send along a Cocktail Chic with Quebec rum. Sounds delicious.

  4. Yum! A cocktail is such a treat and great for warming up the blood! I would like to try the Flying Fig and the Fir Tree Gimlet. I do appreciate cocktails with gin.

  5. I dream of the day I can host elegant cocktail parties! I’m at that age where I’d rather entertain at home than go out drinking, and I’m always looking for new cocktails to make for date nights in the house. I used to be a bartender but I’ve never tried any of these recipes! I’m a gin girl myself. Lovely post.

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