February 6, 2018
February may seem like the dead of winter, but it's actually a month of wonderful celebrations.
Chinese New Year is February 16 and Valentine's Day is February 14th and we're here to help you toast these occasions with unique and fitting libations.
Gung Hay Fat Choi!
Chinese New Year celebrations are rich with tradition. History suggests a fearsome monster named Nian would awaken on the first of the year and rampage through villages. The only way to scare him off was to make loud noises and shine bright lights. From this legend, the traditions of firecrackers, vehement drumming, and noisy parties evolved in China as the way to ring in the new year.
Chinese New Year is also a very traditional family occasion and a huge feast is de rigueur. Chinese favorites like dumplings, noodles, rice cakes called nian gao, and fresh fruits are typically served.
Adding just the right cocktails can help make the meal memorable: but what to select?
Celebrate with Spirits
The popularity of spirits across Asia continues to soar and Cognac and Scotch Whisky lead the way.
Not many companies can boast having been around since 1765, but Hennessey can. Richard Hennessy founded the House of Hennessy in Cognac, France and built a thriving business exporting brandies. The sharp bold taste of Hennessey VS cognac has a subtle spiciness with notes of vanilla that are wonderful sipped neat after a big meal. Or add a splash to your after dinner tea.
Torres 10 brandy is another popular choice this time of year. Torres bills itself as the number one Spanish brandy worldwide. Expect "dark topaz-coloured" liquor with "an intense bouquet - more spiritual than spirituous, with warm hints of spices," like cinnamon and vanilla according to the company.
Another nice option for a new year's celebration or family dinner (and a lovely hostess gift if you're heading to a party) is a sherried scotch whisky like Glendronach. The Glendronach 21-Year-Old Parliament is kept in Pedro Ximenez Sherry barrels or Oloroso Sherry Butts, and when you sip it you'll notice essences of plums, prunes, sweet oranges and apricots.
Looking for something sweet to sip on after dinner or or for a liquor that can make sweetly sippable cocktails? Grand Marnier is an orange-flavoured liqueur made from a blend of cognac brandy, sugar, and the distilled essence of bitter orange, giving it a very distinct light but sweetly-citrus taste. First created in the 1880’s, the Grand Mernier distillery is still run by some of the descendants of the same family today — the Marnier-Lapostolles, who also established the famous Hotel Ritz Paris.
Grand Marnier mixes nicely with other liquors and is a staple in some popular cocktails, including Cosmopolitans, Sidecars and sangria, but it’s also a key ingredient in a delicious, light French dessert, Crepes Suzette, which makes a fine end to a special occasion meal.
Be Sweet About Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day is typically a holiday where we focus on couples and intimate dinners for two. Even if you aren't celebrating a deux, you can still enjoy the spirit of Valentine's Day by getting together with friends and family and raising a glass.
Rosé is a natural choice for a celebration of love and friendship. Whether you choose a regular or a sparkling version, the light pink hue is perfect to set the tone for your night.
How to Pair Wine and Chocolate? Choose Chocolate Wine
Want to take things a step further and be a little adventurous? How about Chocolate Wine? Chocolate Shop Red is a USA Zinfandel that's billed as the ultimate marriage of chocolate and red wine.
The wine makers blend red wine with "a kiss of sweetness to create the perfect fruit-driven foil for the rich dark chocolate which unfolds in silken layers across the palate." Ooh la la! You might notice hints of black cherry, dark chocolate and cocoa powder as you sip.
Savour Sangria with Your Sweetie
If you’re looking for a cocktail with a bit less work, a bottle of Lolea Sangria might be just the trick. Originating from Spain, this authentic, ready-made sangria is made only with ingredients you can pronounce, as the company likes to say. Sangria is a traditional and popular drink across Spain, particularly in summer, but it’s been embraced by bars and Spanish restaurants the world over.
Spaniards guard their sangria recipes closely, but you can expect Lolea Sangria to adhere to the basic combination of quality red wine and fruit with a touch of something sparkling. Just pour and serve to kick off a romantic evening.
Whichever holidays you're celebrating this season, you can do it in style with selections from Co-op Wine Spirits Beer.
Father’s Day is just around the corner. Rather than hosting another basic cookout this year, throw him a party as special as he is.
However you choose to refer to it—May long, May two-four, Victoria Day weekend—May long weekend is the first official marker of summer.
Any wine lover knows that, like food, wine tastes change with the season.
At Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, we know you want quality products and are also looking for the best value.
This Valentine’s Day will be less fabulous dinner out in a packed restaurant and more cozy evening in at home.
Sometimes choosing a great wine can be overwhelming; there’s so much choice out there that it can be difficult to know which brands to trust.
While we may not get to spend the holidays physically together, we can at least share the moment virtually.
There is nothing quite like the perfect cocktail to set the mood for the holidays.
Co-op Wine Spirits Beer Sommelier Coordinator Katherine Mindach has some advice for cooking with alcohol:
This holiday season one of our favourite ways to feed family, friends and folks is to set up a grazing station and let everyone nibble...
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There’s something about the holidays that lets us all feel like we can indulge.
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For more than 30 years, Viña Montes has been producing luxury wines from Chile and exporting them to customers worldwide.
At first glance, a distillery named after one of the monsters of the Mesozoic might seem a bit strange.
We’ve all heard that you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover—or a wine by its label, but how many of us have...
Summer is the season of the gin & tonic, but gin is great in many more cocktails and summer sips; the French 75 or the...
Many of us dream about quitting our corporate jobs, moving to the country and living off the land.
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Canada Day is right around the corner, but the coronavirus pandemic is still in the back of our minds, and physical distancing guidelines are in...
Summertime is when many of us turn from drinking those warm, bold and cozy reds, so something lighter and more refreshing.
Hidden in a low key industrial area in Calgary’s Bonnybrook-Alyth area in the city’s southeast is the largest distiller in the province.
Spring is a time for rebirth, regeneration and of course for kicking back and enjoying the outdoors.
Alberta’s first craft distillery is showing no signs of slowing down.
When we think of the world’s wine regions, France, Italy, Spain, South America and California come to mind.
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Co-op Wine Spirits Beer sommeliers are happy to introduce the latest offering in The Social Collection wine lineup.
Easter celebrations may look a little different this year, but whether you’re putting together an Easter dinner for immediate family or looping in friends via...
It seems every few years there’s a drink that’s so on trend it starts showing up everywhere.
The Irish know how to celebrate! While Canadians do pour a few drinks on Canada Day, our national occasion pales in comparison to the worldwide...
Though it may not be as well-known globally as the Bordeaux region of France or Tuscany in Italy, British Columbia has a dynamic, diverse, and...
If you pass by the shelf, it’s a bottle that immediately catches your eye among all the dark glass standing sentinel among the rows.
For some folks, Valentine’s Day is considered an old fashioned and possibly outdated celebration.
If you or anyone in your family is a die-hard football fan, you’re likely already planning for the biggest game of the year.
As those holiday bills start rolling in, many of us are feeling like a thrifty January is a smart way to go.
Sometimes even the warmest sweater layered under a cozy coat isn’t enough to ward off that chill you get from being outdoors.
When we think vodka, we often think ‘martini’, and for good reason.The martini is easily one of the classiest, sexiest cocktails you can enjoy.
The holidays, or other times of celebration, are usually when we turn our eyes to Champagne.
We’ve probably all heard of fondue, but how many of us have actually tried to make it, or even wondered where it came from? The...
The holidays can be an overwhelming time of year. Between gift buying, trip planning, gift wrapping and holiday gatherings, there is barely any time to breathe.
Let’s admit it—for many of us, one of the exciting things about the holidays is the opportunity to share fun and festive drinks with friends.
As you’re working away at your holiday shopping list, there’s always a few folks who are hard to buy for.
When you’re planning a special meal, you want everything to be just right.
There is something so festive and satisfying about enjoying cheese and wine at parties.
Hosting an at-home wine tasting is a great way to gather your friends over the holidays and do something fun and memorable.
If you’re tasked with making a dish for a holiday potluck, you might be wondering if you should bring the same old tired spinach dip.
You have to admit there’s something especially festive about the idea of baking cookies around the holidays.
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The holidays are just around the corner and in today’s globetrotting society, so many of us live far away from our families and friends.
If you’re the type of person who throws awesome holiday parties you’ll want to make sure your supplies are in order.
Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift idea that keeps giving year round? Consider gifting your special someone or valued employee a Vin Bin at Co-op Wine...
Looking for a little something different? Want a beverage that feels a little festive this holiday season? Fallentimber Meadery has some extra special offerings that...
It was an omen that became a family legend.
Our sommeliers are thrilled to share that The Social Collection wines, a Co-op Wine Spirits Beer exclusive, have recently made headlines for their award winning taste.
If you’ve ever seen the wine flick Sideways, you’ll know there are two wines that are pitted against each other; Pinot Noir and Merlot.
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While many of us might have that dream of running away and buying a winery, it actually takes a tonne of work and many years...
You'd think a winery with a name like Red Rooster might have a feathery mascot on site, ready to crow the arrival of visitors.
You’ve got to respect a person who’s not afraid to air their own dirty laundry.
Plenty of us take a vacation, then try to recreate that magic when we get home.
Sword fighting isn’t usually a trait you’d associate with a wine entrepreneur. But Joseph Luckhurst is different from a lot of wine guys.
When he was born, Graham Nordin's father bought a case of port that bore the same name he'd just bestowed upon his son.
You may think naming a winery after the process of oxidizing decay is a bad idea.
Rosé sales may be booming in Alberta, but it was not always that way.
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Whether you consider yourself a collector, connoisseur, or just someone who wants to learn more about wine, Co-op Wine Spirits Beer's new World of Wine...
For some people, just the mention of the word gin is enough to elicit groans, shudders and memories of the drink that earned the nicknames,...
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This romantic region’s pink wines have never been so popular
If the last rosé you had was called white zinfandel, it’s time to get re-acquainted.
You’ve likely heard about the folks who dreamed of one day owning a winery, and end up buying one on a whim, with little to...
Like many folks in Calgary’s burgeoning brewing and distilling industry, Ross Alger started out making his own libations at home.
For some toddlers, learning how to say ‘butterfly’, or ‘banana’ might be a feat. But Dave Carson taught his three-year-old son some decidedly more complex words.
There’s not that many times in the year when you can enjoy a bright green cocktail without turning some heads, but St.
Justin Hall knows the wine business from the ground up. As Winemaker for Nk’Mip Cellars in B.C., he’s had his fair share of experiences in...
Have you ever hidden something away, saving it for just the right moment? Whether it’s a birthday present purchased in anticipation of a milestone age,...
You already know Co-op Wine Spirits Beer as the place you can pick up everything from a great Wednesday wine, to a special celebratory bottle.
Whether you’re whipping up a few drinks for you and your date after a Valentine’s Day dinner, hosting a single ladies night in, or you’re...
When Uncommon Cider set out to make an Alberta-centric cider they knew they wanted to be unique, and keep their focus on western Canadian ingredients.
There’s a scene in the cartoon food film Ratatouille where the protagonist rat is tasting flavours; strawberries and cheese.
On January 25th, Scots around the world will celebrate the 260th birthday of legendary poet Robert “Robbie” Burns.
B.C. has some of Canada’s best wine growing territory. Summerhill Estate Winery has been growing grapes and producing wines in British Columbia since 1991.
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Hockey fans know Mario Lemieux for many reasons. The hockey great’s best game was also one that was voted one of the greatest hockey moments...
The holidays are for dressing up – how about dressing up our drinks for the festive season too?
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When we think of cognac, brandy and port, sometimes we think these are outdated libations, served in the 60’s and 70’s at lavish retro cocktail...
Need a bottle of wine to bring to a holiday celebration, dinner or the office holiday wine pool? Don't just pick up something cheap, or familiar.
Tucked away in a nondescript industrial zone in Calgary’s Bonnybrook-Alyth area in the city’s southeast is the largest distiller in Alberta.
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You’ve probably never really noticed them dotting landscapes, hugging fence lines, or edging yards and parks before.
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So many wine drinkers dream of running away from their dull daily lives and starting a winery.
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Alberta’s burgeoning spirits industry is an amazing thing. Thanks to changes in liquor laws a few years ago, more and more Albertans have been able...
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Summer is in full swing and patios, terraces, and backyards are the entertainment venue of choice.
The Calgary Stampede is many things; officially it's a chance to take in the rodeo and celebrate community spirit through shows, rides, events, and pancake breakfasts.
If you're struggling with what to get your dad as a Father's Day gift this year because he's one of those dads who has everything...
Everyone dreams of quitting their job and doing their dream gig, but few people actually have the gumption to pull it off once, let alone twice.
With some movies coming out this season, you might have superheroes on the mind.
Not many families can say their passion is moonshine.
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Do you find wine enjoyable, but intimidating? With wine regions spanning the globe, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the choices out there.
Easter is when families spend time together and often share a big meal.
For many Canadians, St Patrick’s Day is an excuse to wear green, while kids cut shamrocks from paper and fashion cardboard leprechaun hats.
Co-op Wine Spirits Beer is more than just a store. It’s an experience. Shop here and you’ll get education, assistance, and great customer service.
The Academy Awards or the Oscars are known as the biggest night in Hollywood.
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The food is picked out, your place is all set up, you even have a sweet playlist ready.
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Pinot Noir is said to be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding grapes to grow.
You don’t need to be a pro bartender to make a show-stealing cocktail this holiday season.
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Handling all the drinks for your holiday party can be daunting.
Pumpkin, apples and cinnamon is what comes to mind when I think of Fall drinks.
There is nothing better to sip on during the cold festive season than a warm glass of mulled wine.
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Whether it’s their award-winning Syrah or a unique blend from their small lots program, Sandhill Estate Vineyard does not disappoint.
Prosecco is one of my all-time favourite beverages to sip on in the summer, or anytime of the year for that matter.
There’s nothing better to sip on in the sun than a crisp, cold glass of Rosé wine.
For the fifth year in a row, Co-op Wine Spirits Beer is hosting their World of Whisky Festival that brings together top international whiskies, industry...
There are many ways to serve whisky: neat, on the rocks, or in a fancy cocktail like a Manhattan or Old Fashioned.
The Cider Insider
Alberta Whisky Canadian laws state that whisky must be aged for a minimum of three years.
ARGENTINA AND ALBERTA: KINDRED COWBOY SPIRITS
This week, Canadians will celebrate the 150th anniversary of our dominion formation, when the country established its confederation in 1867.
As the end of our journey exploring Canada’s bounty of alcoholic beverages draws near, we want to go out with a splash.
It's known as Canada's left coast and if you've spent any time out there you'll know B.C. has a whole different vibe.
As we explore all the different ways to toast Canada’s 150th, the wines of BC loom large, and for very good reasons.
From gin, to vodka and even that favourite of the tropics, rum, Alberta is producing an amazing variety of spirits.
It’s been 150 years since Canada’s Confederation, and a notable reason to celebrate our great country.
We’ve got the rolling prairies, the towering Rockies and a reputation for being the friendliest province in the country.
How about something a little out of the ordinary to toast Canada’s 150th – wine from Alberta.
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For whisky drinkers, there is a distinguished history that is truly Canadian.
A good cocktail is the perfect way to celebrate any holiday and with our nations 150th birthday upon us, I've combed the country for some...
When we think of the Prairies, we think rolling hills, miles upon miles of wheat, soybeans or corn blowing in the wind and a horizon...
There’s more than just scotch at the new World of Whisky store in downtown Calgary.
In this year of celebrating 150 years of our great nation, we will pause and reflect on many things that make our nation great. Like hockey.
Ontario is home to dozens of successful, unique, and award-winning distilleries.
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Quebec plays a starring role in Canada’s history (some of Canada’s earliest settlements were Quebec City in 1608, and Montreal in 1642).
Some of the most famous 'Canadian' foods have their origins in La Belle Province.
As we get ready to celebrate 150 years of Confederation, there are great beverages that have marked good times over the years, including the Pop Shoppe.
This unique, artisanal micro-distillery has earned a reputation as a ‘must see’ for tourists and locals alike! Located in Montreal’s Sud-Ouest district, Cirka distillery is...
When the world’s largest ice cubes float past your door each day, you might have a different outlook on life, and cocktails.
There is a long-standing tradition on Canada's East Coast. When there's a celebration to be had, Maritimers throw a kitchen party or ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee).
Canada’s Maritime provinces aren’t just known for their amazing seafood, but also their love of spirits.
Calgary Co-op's World of Whisky store sells some of the rarest and most expensive bottles of scotch in the world.
PUNCH ROMAINE As served in First Class on the RMS Titanic1egg white1 ounce white rum1 ounce white wine1/2 ounce simple syrup1/2 ounce lemon juice1 ounce...
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Cinco de Mayo - or the fifth of May – is a celebration to commemorate the Mexican army’s 1862 victory during the Franco-Mexican War.
Syrah or Shiraz great for the Grilling Season.
Expansive, not Expensive!
Taking Another Look as Beaujolais Wine
WHAT CAN THE COLOUR OF YOUR WINE TELL YOU?
Calgary is now home to one of the most unique whisky retailers in North America.
KING OF WINES. WINE OF KINGS.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STEMWARE TO MAKE YOUR WINE SING
Just like your mother always told you, “There are some words that are simply inappropriate to use.”
It’s the first of its kind on Canada and was nearly three years in the making.
What’s your style?
POPPING THE CORK ON THE THREE WAYS TO CREATE SPARKLING WINE
You Can Escape the Winter Blahs
Pairing with tricky food styles doesn't have to put a halt to a great food and wine experience.
Are you feeling confused and mystified by all the "rules" of food and wine pairing? Let us help with our hints and tips.
Rum has long been known as the spirit of the Caribbean Islands and Latin America and is one of the most enjoyed and loved spirits...
Sipping on a warm coffee cocktail at the end of your day, or after a great meal is one of life's decadent pleasures.
Wine and chocolate can be paired together to create a perfect harmony in your mouth, but when pairing it is important to keep in mind...
We love to raise your spirits.There are endless possibilities for enjoying the offerings of the world.
Mixologist and bartenders the world over have been making some of our most beloved cocktails with this juniper infused spirit since the original cocktail era...