June 8, 2017
Some of the most famous 'Canadian' foods have their origins in La Belle Province. Poutine, tourtiere, and the country’s maple syrup industry all have their roots in Quebec. But the province also has a thriving beverage industry.
This month at Co-op we’re taking a tour of Canadian food and drink in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary and looking at all-Canadian food and drink pairings. This time we’re exploring Quebec.
With Quebec’s history reaching back to France, you might think you’d find more wine here. But Quebec’s beverage industry is full of surprises. Cirka Gin Sauvage is a popular spirit that’s made in Montreal from 100% Quebec-grown corn and a blend of over 30 botanicals. With notes of coriander, lemon peel and juniper, the taste is bright and refreshing.
Serving Cirka Gin Sauvage with a splash of tonic and a squeeze of fresh lime juice would make a great Saturday afternoon cocktail, but gin also works amazingly well as a flavour element in steamed mussels. Because of Quebec’s proximity to the St .Lawrence seaway and thus the Atlantic Ocean, there’s a plethora of seafood available to Quebeckers, so it’s no surprise local libations and regional seafood goes hand in hand.
Cirka Gin Sauvage is made to optimize the unique flavours of Quebec. The distiller uses a customized pot still using a specialized “botanical basket” where warm vapours extract oils and essences which in turn infuses subtle flavours into the gin. It’s definitely worth a try if you’re curious about Quebec’s distilling industry.
One of the most popular and award winning beverages to come out of Quebec is La Fin du Monde beer ny Unibroue. Literally translated as "The End of the World,” the beer is a Belgian-style tripel named for European explorers' belief that they had reached the end of the world when they discovered America.
The golden amber brew is slightly cloudy and has a bit of a spicy flavour that makes it an excellent pairing with blue cheese, cheddar or parmesan, so if you're sampling some Quebec libations, laying out a cheese plate featuring some delicious Canadian and Quebec cheeses is a great way to taste the province. Fin du Monde is also a natural alongside other French-inspired dishes like quiche, light fresh fluffy omelettes and seafoods like salmon and trout.
Of course Fin du Monde also goes well with that very Quebec dish; poutine. With crispy fries, hot gravy and melty cheese curds, you’ll want a beer that cuts through some of the heaviness. Fin du Monde works particularly well with a poutine that’s even richer than the usual dish; think adding a hearty beef gravy and some duck confit. According to Co-op’s beer expert Melissa Rizzuto, it’s a dynamite pairing.
One of Canada’s most popular and recognizable flavours has to be maple, so it’s no surprise that someone’s found a way to incorporate it into whisky. Sortilège Prestige is a maple whisky where extra clear maple syrup (only available as soon as the spring thaw hits) is added to a 7-year-old Canadian whisky. The result is a smooth, slightly sweet, very aromatic drink that’s great on its own, or when used in baking. It’s a natural replacement for bourbon in a pecan pie, in eggnog at Christmas time or in custards. Or just add a splash to some after-dinner coffee or tea. The hint of sweetness and maple flavour is a subtle but delicate boost to drinks and sweets.
Considering Quebec’s maple syrup industry is among the largest in North America and it dates back to the 1500’s when explorer Jacques Cartier heard about “delicious and delicate sugar” flowing from trees, finding a way to use this liquid gold in a variety of new ways is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to food and beverage innovation in Quebec.
Thanksgiving may look a little different this year. If you’re able to get together with family this year or you’ve got a safe bubble you’re...
At first glance, a distillery named after one of the monsters of the Mesozoic might seem a bit strange.
Everyone’s in search of the perfect cold, crushable summer patio beer. This year, you’ll find it only at Co-op Wine Spirits Beer!
Anyone who’s ever tried to name someone or something knows the decision can be fraught with challenges.
Canmore's Grizzly Paw Brewing Company is one of the original breweries in the Alberta Rockies.
Summer is the season of the gin & tonic, but gin is great in many more cocktails and summer sips; the French 75 or the...
Plenty of people make home brewed beer, but how many build and engineer their own brewing equipment to get it just right, or solder their...
Normally at this time of year, we’d all be shaking out our western duds and getting ready for that great annual outdoor show where we...
Throwing a western-style BBQ to make up for the cancellation of the greatest outdoor show in Calgary? You need just the right cold drinks to...
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...
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.
What would make someone give up a reliable career, steady paycheck, and predictable routine, for a mountain of hard work, years of planning, and some...
Alberta’s first craft distillery is showing no signs of slowing down.
Sampler or mixed packs are a great way to try different beer, without the commitment of buying a full case.
Many of us are wondering if our favourite places like restaurants and cafes will still be around once the COVID-19 pandemic finally releases its grip...
Wild Rose Brewery is a Calgary institution, established in 1996 and occupying space in an old Air Force hangar on the site of the former...
You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but if you wanted to judge a bottle by its label, the bottles from Bridgeland...
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...
It was back in 2002 that Mill Street Brewery opened in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, an aging but rebounding neighbourhood that used to house all...
It’s hard to please everyone, but when it comes to beer, it doesn’t have to be difficult.
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.
Light beer has a bad reputation. For many years it was known as a watery, largely tasteless pseudo-beverage, for those worried about their weight.
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.
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.
Are you the planner in your family or at the office? If you’re just not up for being the host or the organizer again this...
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 little something different? Want a beverage that feels a little festive this holiday season? Fallentimber Meadery has some extra special offerings that...
Harvest is that time of year when we reap the rewards of what we’ve sown over the past season.
It’s one of the flavours of fall: fresh-off-the-vine, sun-ripened pumpkin, baked into pies, stirred into soups, added to lattes and yes, even brewed into beer.
The colour blue has had a long and fascinating history. While blue is one of the primary colours, and the top ‘favourite’ colour of people...
Many of us enjoy a cold beer now and again. But if pressed, do you think you could name a handful of beers in a...
Canmore's Grizzly Paw Brewing Company is one of the original breweries that sprung up in the heart of Alberta.
Everyone assumes the bright lights and allure of Hollywood would be a major draw and an enticing career.
Plenty of us take a vacation, then try to recreate that magic when we get home.
It’s not unusual for home brewing to become a gateway into owning and operating a brewery.
What's a dandy, exactly? If you looked it up in the dictionary, you'd see this:
A caravel is a sailing ship common in the 15th to 17th centuries in Europe.
You know you’re in for something different when the conversation turns from beer to something called a ‘reverse mullet’.
If you were in Calgary in 1988, you’ll no doubt remember the spirit of the Olympics and how it brought the city together.
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,...
It’s the image many Canadians have when it comes to imagining the Rockies; tall, snow-capped peaks, lush, steep-sided valleys, and icy streams trickling the freshest...
When your day to day job involves working in one of the world’s most dangerous countries, dodging bullets and insurgents while riding around in armoured...
A beer label is a lot like a book cover; you can’t prejudge what’s inside, but a great front can definitely entice you to pick...
Like many folks in Calgary’s burgeoning brewing and distilling industry, Ross Alger started out making his own libations at home.
There's probably many a beer lover that has dreamed of having their own brewery.
Some folks make Sunday dinner. For Adam Nachbaur, his weekend tradition has been making Sunday beer.
There’s not that many times in the year when you can enjoy a bright green cocktail without turning some heads, but St.
It’s kind of hard to imagine today, with a computer in every pocket, but back when Canada was still a baby, the railroad was Canada’s lifeline.
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.
The TV is tuned, the snacks are set out and those Superbowl commercials are just about to hit their stride.
On January 25th, Scots around the world will celebrate the 260th birthday of legendary poet Robert “Robbie” Burns.
Calgary’s economy has created some unique challenges over the last few years.
Do you take sugar in your coffee? How many? One? Maybe two or three? Would you drink your coffee with six, or even ten sugars...
There are dedicated craft beer types who speak in hops, and judge their beer in IBUs.
The holidays are for dressing up – how about dressing up our drinks for the festive season too?
On the side of a brewery, you fully expect to see the word ‘brewers’, but entering Calgary’s Legend 7 Brewing, you can tell it’s going...
Sometimes there's too much choice. If you're popping into Co-op Wine Spirits Beer on your way home, maybe it happens that you want to try...
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...
Tucked away in a nondescript industrial zone in Calgary’s Bonnybrook-Alyth area in the city’s southeast is the largest distiller in Alberta.
The holiday season is a time to celebrate, and celebrations usually include some great mixed drinks.
They may be best known for their 11 brewpub restaurants across Alberta, but Brewsters is also a longstanding brewery, turning out numerous local craft beers.
It’s cup season and what goes better with football, than beer? If you’re gathering friends for the game, why not take advantage of the power...
There’s something about brown liquor that makes you feel all warm inside.
It may seem odd for a family to take on a business where the workers could kill you.
As the weather gets crisper and the leaves begin to turn, it’s time to prepare gratifying seasonal drinks that’ll warm you from the inside out.
Since we skipped fall and went straight to winter, nesting has become a priority for many of us.
You’ve probably never really noticed them dotting landscapes, hugging fence lines, or edging yards and parks before.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get together with family and friends, and while there’s always lots of catching up to do, once that’s over,...
There are two kinds of vodka people: the purists who seek out the finest, clearest, crispest, near-flavourless vodka for making the perfect chilled martini, and...
Bryce Parsons is on a mission: to rid the world of awful gin memories.
When some products write ‘harvested by hand’ or ‘family owned and operated’ on their labels, they’re reaching.
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...
We all know how refreshing a cold cocktail can be on a hot summer’s day.
It might seem unusual to draw parallels between working a drilling rig in Alberta’s oil patch and distilling liquor, but as it turns out, they’re...
It's no secret Calgary's craft brewing scene is growing. New breweries and distilleries are opening all the time, and in the quest for better beer,...
There’s no doubt about it – it’s hot! Typical piña coladas and shaken margaritas are always a great way to quench that summer thirst, but...
When you come across a beer called Hijacked IPA, you might assume it gets its name from market research, or the future ability to craft...
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.
You don't have to remember Bob and Doug Mackenzie to know that beer is Canada's drink.
Mark MacDonald was working as a mechanical engineer in Alberta's oil patch when he and his brother rather randomly decided to get each other home...
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...
In a nondescript industrial area in southwest Calgary is a brewery you could call experimental.
Hot summer days beg for the cooling refreshment of an ice cold beer.
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.
There are beers, and then there are summer beers. You know them; a bit lighter, crisper, cooler and more refreshing than average.
Now that the mercury seems like it’s finally climbed over the freezing mark for the season (famous last words) it’s time to start thinking about...
With some movies coming out this season, you might have superheroes on the mind.
Not many families can say their passion is moonshine.
Baseball season is officially underway, having just transitioned from spring training to the regular season.
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.
February may seem like the dead of winter, but it's actually a month of wonderful celebrations.
It's the sporting event that outdoes all other sporting events — with the possible exception of the World Cup of soccer, some might say.
It's resolution time! And if yours is to make smarter choices and maybe cut back on some vices, we've got some ideas when it comes...
The food is picked out, your place is all set up, you even have a sweet playlist ready.
‘Tis the season of seasonal beer! Traditionally, winter brings with it darker, more bitter, and a bit sweeter beers, similar to the rich foods we...
You don’t need to be a pro bartender to make a show-stealing cocktail this holiday season.
What does a gift card, a rare bottle of scotch, and a taster pack of beer all have in common? They all make great gifts,...
Handling all the drinks for your holiday party can be daunting.
It’s a local brewery that has brought international attention to Alberta’s craft beer market.
Pumpkin, apples and cinnamon is what comes to mind when I think of Fall drinks.
Blindman Brewing was born out of a shared vision to brew the best beer in Alberta, while at the same time, introducing local beer drinkers...
Serendipity. That’s how Village Brewery’s co-founder, Jim Button describes how the local craft brewery came to be.
Hard apple ciders aren’t just for the British anymore, they’re steadily gaining popularity right here in Canada.
Oktoberfest or the “Volksfest” is a beer festival that dates back to 1810 and starts around mid-September through the first weekend in October and draws...
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...
It’s been about a year since Half Hitch Brewing Company sold its very first batch of beer.
We all know that certain types of wine complement certain types of food – but what about beer?
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.
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.
Canadians will be celebrating our great nation’s sesquicentennial as we mark 150 years of Confederation.
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.
150 years ago Canada had about 150 breweries, which meant Canada’s 3.5 million people had lots of options to celebrate the birth of our nation.
When it comes to beating the heat of the summer we can rely on some tried, tested and trusted wine styles to keep our palates...
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...
It’s a story of determination, camaraderie, and a serious love of brewing beer.
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.
For some, it's the de facto centre of the universe for Canada, but others cast a more wary eye on Ontario, which can often be...
It's fair to say that the craft beer industry in North America has exploded over the past decade.
Canadians have a great reputation both at home and abroad, as a peaceful nation, with a polite population (“sorry” for everything), hockey crazy, and beer loving.
Quebec plays a starring role in Canada’s history (some of Canada’s earliest settlements were Quebec City in 1608, and Montreal in 1642).
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...
In 1867, Canada became a country with four provinces; New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.
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.
On July 1st Canada marks the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, where the British Colonies, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined in one Dominion.
Calgary Co-op's World of Whisky store sells some of the rarest and most expensive bottles of scotch in the world.
There’s no denying that craft beer has exploded in popularity over the past five years.
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...
Did you know that brewing beer was at one time a woman’s job, not a mans? In fact, in ancient Egypt beer was traditionally brewed...
It's time to break out the bubbly at Co-op. Mike Roberts, Co-op's Sommelier Manager was the overall winner at the city's annual Iron Sommelier Competition,...
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.
Taking Another Look as Beaujolais Wine
Calgary is now home to one of the most unique whisky retailers in North America.
It’s the first of its kind on Canada and was nearly three years in the making.
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.
Gluten free has typically meant that beer was no longer an option.
Confused about all the different types of beer? This is an easy guide to a couple of the common types.
Learn a little bit more about how to cook and pair different foods with beer.
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.
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...
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...