Tag Archives: cocktail hour

Cocktail Hour: Romeo’s Gin (Review)

Romeo's gin 1st edition
Romeo’s gin 1st edition

Wow, exciting things have been happening on the Quebec gin front since I’ve been abroad. Yet another new gin from la belle province has made its way onto store shelves…and this one is even being marketed as ‘Montreal Dry Gin’. What a great time it is to be a Montrealer…well, if you overlook the struggling economy, bad weather, and ever-present language tensions. Still, I’m glad to be back in the city after a year of pining for cheese, bread, beautiful churches, and artichokes. As an added homecoming bonus, this gin is good enough to help you forget your worries…Romeo’s martini, anyone?

Romeo’s Gin: Background Info

Romeo’s gin comes from the maker of Pur Vodka, entrepreneur Nicolas Duvernois. After realizing that the restaurant business wasn’t for him, but that vodka was very popular, he decided to look into producing his own. Pur vodka, at the time it came out (in 2009), was the only vodka made in Quebec, and is to date the most-awarded Canadian vodka. Another Quebec vodka has since come out (in 2014), Quartz vodka.

Romeo’s gin was released to the public sometime between December 2015 and January 2016. I’m not sure what inspired Nicolas to choose gin as his next project, but I’m glad he did, since it is one of my favourite types of spirit. I’m also not sure what the story behind its name is…when I asked the question on their Facebook page, I received the following reply: “We called it romeo’s gin because of several reasons… But mostly because it’s a love story between Montreal, gin and art !”

MoZ
Mo’Z

This brings up the next point which makes Romeo’s Gin cool and unique, its link with art. The original design of the bottle features a logo and a work of art, Mo’Z done by a local (Montreal) artist, Stikki Peaches. The logo is to change every year, and next year and for every year thereafter, the distillers plan on creating two different logos, one featuring  a local artist and one featuring an international artist. It’s certainly a great idea, one which will no doubt help to achieve Nicolas’ goals of democratizing art and promoting local artists. He has additionally created a foundation called Romeo’s which aims “to preserve, democratize and modern[ize?] art.” 50 cents from the sale of each bottle of gin will go to said foundation.

Romeo’s Gin Flavour

Romeo's gin gibson
Romeo’s gin gibson

The main aromatics which were chosen to flavour Romeo’s Gin are juniper, cucumber, dill, lavender, almond and lemon. When I smelled it, I was only able to detect the juniper scent, which told me it was, indeed, gin. When I tasted it on its own, it tasted strongly of cucumber. After mixing it with vermouth in order to make a martini, I was able to taste, in addition to the cucumber, a floral flavour from the lavender and a nuttiness from the almonds. The almond seems to give it a slight bitter finish, which I’m not sure I like, but it does seem to be growing on me. On the whole however, it is an excellent gin with a unique flavour, and tastes very fresh and smooth. Though the cucumber taste is predominant, as in Hendrick’s gin, its flavour is different and distinctive. It’s no wonder they have just walked away with their first award, a double gold metal, which they received from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2016).

‘Til next time, cheers to Montreal, art, and Romeo’s Gin!

 

Cocktail Hour: Cranberry Margarita

Cranberry MargaritaI visited the Nutcracker Market recently, and decided to purchase some cranberry syrup.  This syrup is manufactured by a company called Nutra Fruit, which specializes in products made with cranberries grown here in Quebec.  According to their website, Quebec is the world leader in the production of organic cranberries.  I’m not quite sure why none of their products (that I’ve seen) carry an organic certification, but I can tell you that all of their products that I’ve sampled so far are of exceptional quality, and that the cranberries are grown locally.

I decided to try adding this syrup to the ingredients of a basic margarita, and the result was quite delicious, so I’ve decided to share the recipe with you.

Cranberry Margarita Recipe

(For 1  drink)

2 oz tequila (I used Jose Cuervo Gold, but any decent tequila will do)

1/2 lime (juice)

1 tsp triple sec (I added a little to my cocktail, but since the cranberry syrup will add sweetness and flavour, it can be omitted)

2 tsp cranberry syrup

Rim margarita glass with salt.  Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake.  Stain into glass.  Garnish with rosemary sprig, to increase the festivity, if desired garnish with a sprig of rosemary. Drink.

Cheers!

 

Cocktail Hour: Piger Henricus Gin

Piger Henricus gin martiniOkay, so, a micro-distilled gin, made in Longueuil, Quebec…how cool is that?  Exciting things are happening on the Quebec gin scene…first, Ungava…now this.

Why Piger Henricus?

First, a little background information.  According their website, the distillery Piger Henricus is named after the latin word for a type of furnace used by alchemists during the middle ages.  The English translation of Piger Henricus is ‘Slow Harry’, and it was named as such due to its use in long and slow operations.  This type of furnace is also known as an athanor.

Piger Henricus- Flavour

Next…taste!  This gin is made using traditional flavouring agents such as juniper berries, coriander, angelica root, lemon peel and cardamom…however, the surprise ingredient, parsnip, is what makes it really special.  According, once again,  to their website, parsnip gives the gin a “delicate bitterness and a subtle floral aroma”…however, I would disagree and say that it gives it a subtle sweetness and earthiness.  Certainly, this is a quality product, and its flavour is smooth, unique, and quite delicious, providing justification for its price, which is comparable to that of Hendrick’s Gin (when one takes into account the smaller size of Piger’s bottles).

The Subversive Distillers

This is the first offering from the  ‘The Subversives Distillers’, a company made up of four guys whose desire to produce more micro-distilled booze in Quebec led them first to the states (in order to learn their craft), and subsequently back here, to set up shop.  Cheers to that!  I’ll be awaiting their next offering in eager anticipation.

Cocktail Hour: ‘Bowmore Sails Around the World’

Bowmore Sails Around the WorldThe inspiration for this cocktail stems from a lack of gin.  However, the cocktail that resulted from the limited repertoire of ingredients I had on hand turned out to be quite delicious, so I decided to share it with all of you (whoever you might be):

 

 

Recipe (for 2 cocktails):

3 oz Bowmore Scotch (this is a very peaty, smokey single malt, from the Islay region)

1.5 oz Jack Honey

1 oz Rooibos-Pomegranite syrup ( I used President’s Choice Rooibos-Pomegranite jelly, mixed with a little bit of water, and heated- however, another type of sweeter would do…maybe maple syrup or a citrus syrup)

a few wild strawberries (I had them lying around and used them to add some acidity to the drink, but other flavourful berries, or a bit of citrus juice, should work well)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker.  Muddle the strawberries a bit, to release their juice.  Add ice to the shaker.  Shake it up!  Strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with a strawberry, or a twist of whichever citrus fruit you’re using.

Enjoy!

Cocktail Hour- Beet Juice Martinis

Want some vitamins along with your booze?  Well, then, this is the cocktail for you.  Simply take your basic martini and add beet juice, a bit of lime, and voilà- you have a tasty and (sort of) nutritious drink.

 

 

 

Beet Juice Martini Recipe

(makes 1):

2 oz gin
1/2 oz (or less) dry vermouth
1 oz beet juice (available at Loblaws, and bigger grocery stores, usually in the health food section, and at some health food stores)
1/4 lime – juice

Garnishes:  herb sprig (such as marjoram, oregano, chervil, etc.) or celery leaves, twist of lime, olives or cocktail onions or caper berries or pickled beets or anything you like.

Cheers!