Not only is their rich and festive colour pleasing to look at, but their tart flavour also makes them a welcome addition to any cocktail. Feeling adventurous? Try crafting your own cranberry juice: cook the berries in sugar and water, then simply strain through a sieve. Pop your mixture into the fridge to cool and voilà — your very own homemade cranberry juice! For a proudly Canadian cocktail, add a splash of Bold vodka to your glass.
45 ml (1 1/2 oz) vodka
120 ml (4 oz) red cranberry juice
1 lime wedge
Combine all the ingredients, except for the lime wedge, in a shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake vigorously for 8 to 10 seconds. Using an ice strainer, strain into a highball glass containing a few ice cubes. Garnish with the lime wedge.
A good choice of rum
Havana Club Añejo is the result of a three-year aging period in white oak barrels. This process gives it hints of vanilla, caramelized pear, banana and a hint of smoky oak, which lead to a pleasant finish.
Here’s a great way to keep your cocktail cool, and make it easier (and more enjoyable!) to drink. Crushed iced acts as a filter for the mint leaves infusing your mojito, so you don’t end up with a mouthful of greens! Crushing your ice is simple: Wrap ice in a clean dishtowel and gently smash with a pestle or rolling pin.
45 mL (1 1/2 oz) rum
60 mL (2 oz) club soda
10 mL (2 tsp) sugar
12 leaves fresh mint
1/2 lime, cut into slices
1 sprig fresh mint
Squeeze the half-lime into a highball glass and place in the glass. Add the mint leaves and 5 raspberries, and crush using a muddler. Add the sugar, ice cubes and rum. Top up with the club soda. Stir using a mixing spoon. Garnish with lime slices, a raspberry and a sprig of mint.
For a more fragrant cocktail, try using an aromatic spirit such as gin. This one is made with juniper (the core ingredient), coriander, angelica root and liquorice. Produced in Montréal, Portage is a made-in-Quebec gin that’s sure to become your next coup de cœur!
The tradition of bitters
Aperitifs such as Campari, Aperol and Suze are made with bitter plants (like gentian) known for stimulating the appetite. They add a wonderfully spicy note to cocktails and pair beautifully with gin.
Combine all the ingredients, except for the orange slice, in an old-fashioned glass containing a few ice cubes. Stir using a mixing spoon. Garnish with the orange slice.
Photos: David De Stefano