The origins of the Caribou

The origins of the Caribou

In Quebec, a Caribou is not just the animal featured on the quarter, it’s also and above all the favourite drink of Winter Carnival–goers. Here’s a look at the history of this very Québécois drink.

According to legend, the Caribou originated with the coureurs de bois. At that time, the cocktail was a mix of caribou blood and alcohol, which made this rather unlikely cocktail more digestible.

Time passed and the Caribou resurfaced, becoming a popular drink during Quebec City’s first festivals. Needless to say, the caribou blood was fortunately replaced with red wine. The recipe as we know it today was first created by “Ti-Père” at his business in Old Quebec City. A Caribou cocktail is typically made with brandy, vodka, sherry and port.

There are regional variations of the Caribou recipe, such as a version made only from a base of wine. Everyone has their own “real” Caribou recipe. What’s yours?

Serves 10 people

3 oz. (90 mL) vodka
3 oz. (90 mL) brandy
1½ cups (375 mL) Canadian sherry
1½ cups (375 mL) Canadian port

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