December is the month to gather, celebrate, and indulge. There may be several times you find yourself sipping on a cocktail this month as you savour Christmas eve by the fire, and of course, New Year’s Eve. Before January rolls around and alcohol is sworn off in the pursuit of our various resolutions, kick back and savour the season with fancy cocktails for enjoying with friends. Savour these yummy holiday cocktails and spirits in Ontario’s Highlands.
Mix Your Own
Be your own mixologist this year and create some swanky drinks for your friends and family, or gift someone with local spirits. Be the host with the most by busting out the good stuff, like Dairy Distillery’s signature Vodkow. Despite being made from milk rather than grains, Vodkow looks, smells, and tastes like vodka, but goes down smoother. You should also try their new Vodkow Cream, a cream-based (and lactose free) dairy cream liqueur. If you’re not sure whether to go for Vodkow or Vodkow Cream, get both in their new duo pack.
Head south to Top Shelf Distillers in Perth, where you’re not likely to leave empty handed. Choose from classic vodka and gin, exciting flavours of moonshine ranging from Ontario cherry to chocolate peanut butter, plus a whole line of bitters to take your cocktail to the next level. If you want to get in the holiday spirit, their Reunion Gingerbread Moonshine is packed full of festive gingerbread flavour.
In Pembroke you’ll want to check out the newest distillery in Ontario’s Highlands, O’Kenny Craft Spirits. Their “Rhisky” is a 50/50 mixture of rum and whisky that will give your cocktails an interesting flavour. If you’re not quite that adventurous, make something special with their Valley Spirit Vodka, barrel filtered and smooth for the perfect cocktails.
Upscale Classics and Mixologists’ Picks
Take a spontaneous trip out to one of Ontario’s Highlands’ many communities, where you’ll feel like you stepped onto the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie. Twinkling lights on heritage buildings and a blanket of snow coating the picture-perfect main streets will put you in the mood for a holiday cocktail. In Almonte, settle into the Loom Bistro in the Riverside Inn to see what funky feature cocktail their mixologist has dreamt up. In Haliburton, visit Rhubarb Restaurant for up-scale dining and cocktails, too. Watch their do-it-yourself gin cocktail tutorial, then order it on-site to compare the results.
Bonus: you can enjoy a delicious meal in any of these spots to go along with your cocktail!
If you have trouble deciding between cocktails or beer, there are a few breweries in the region that serve up their own brews mixed with exciting flavours in the form of spirits, fruits, and syrups. Whitewater Brewing Co. has standard cocktails at their Riverside location, but they also offer two beer cocktails like the Happy Gilmour, which incorporates elements of a Moscow Mule (ginger beer and lime) with the new twist of whisky, lime bitters, and their KLR 93 brew. In Haliburton County, Boshkung Social serves up “beer-tails” like a refreshing radler or spicy Michelada.