One of the most popular cocktails I’ve written about is the French Gimlet, a martini-style sipper that includes St-Germaine, a liqueur from France. Since St-Germaine is still uber-popular — and I personally love it — I have taken it upon myself to seek out other recipes that include it.
I happened upon the Elderflower Collins at the Oak Room lounge inside the Fairmont Palliser hotel while I was researching an upcoming Calgary Herald column on the resurgence of the gin and tonic (look for it in early August). This long cocktail is tart and refreshing and rather like a Tom Collins but with the sweet and floral elderflower liqueur for a delicious twist. Take advantage of these warm summer evenings by sipping one on your deck or patio. Delightful!
This refreshing long drink is on the “FAME” (Fairmont Artistic Mixology Experience) menu at the Fairmont Palliser hotel.
- 1 oz Martin Miller’s gin
- 1/2 oz St-Germaine Elderflower
- 1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- Top soda water
- Mint sprig and lemon wheel garnish
Method: In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, St-Germaine, lemon juice and simple syrup and shake with ice. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with soda and garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon wheel.
— Recipe courtesy Fairmont Palliser hotel
Last summer while attending a conference in Saskatoon I happened upon a hip cocktail bar called The James inside a swishy boutique hotel of the same name. I asked the bartender to make me something fun and she created a lovely sour using a Saskatoon liqueur from the local Lucky Bastard Distillers. Fittingly, she called the drink a Saskatoon Sour. I was won over by its purple hue before I even tasted its smooth and frothy berry delicious tartness.
Behold the original Saskatoon Sour from The James.
I meant to write about the drink last year but I forgot all about it until I happened upon the bottle of Saskatoon liqueur I brought back from Saskatoon. *Footnote for those who have no idea what a Saskatoon is: Not only is it a city in the province of Saskatchewan, a “Saskatoon” is a small blue fruit (technically a “pome” — not a berry) that is native to Canada and grows on trees and bushes seemingly everywhere. The berries are similar in flavour to a blueberry only not as juicy or sweet.* Since I lost the recipe from The James I created my own Saskatoon Sour using the liqueur with Pisco and lime juice, and I’m quite pleased with the result. I didn’t have a Saskatoon or even a blueberry on hand for a garnish, however.
My Saskatoon Sour, with a mint garnish.
As a bonus, Saskatoons are currently in season right now, so if you don’t have a bottle of Saskatoon liqueur on hand, you could improvise by making a Saskatoon simple syrup (or subbing in a blackberry liqueur such as Chambord).
- 1 oz Pisco
- 1/2 oz Saskatoon liqueur*
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- Saskatoon or blueberry garnish
Method: Combine all ingredients except garnish in a cocktail shaker and dry shake to emulsify egg. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a coupe or rocks glass and garnish with a blueberry or Saskatoon.
One of our favourite things to do near Fernie, B.C. is to spend a hot summer’s day at Surveyor’s Lake swimming, kayaking and looking for turtles and crayfish. We often hike around the lake from our HQ on Saunder’s Beach, and enjoy views into secluded Engineer’s Lake from the bridge that bisects the two mountain lakes. This visit, however, we learned of a new hike to a new lake: Hidden Lake.
Avery surveys the scene looking for Western Painted turtles at Hidden Lake in Kikomun Creek Provincial Park.
The lake isn’t “hidden” so much as out of the way of the majority of day-tripping beach-goers. You can access it via the loop road at Surveyor’s Lake campground in Kikomun Creek Provincial Park, a 30-minute drive southwest of Fernie on Hwy. 3. Hidden Lake has the same Western Painted turtles as the other two lakes, without the crowds to scare them from their log perches into the cool water.
See the water glimmering beyond the turtle sign? That’s Hidden Lake.
There’s a narrow trail around the lake — lined with Saskatoon berry bushes, I might add — that lets you get close to the shore in many spots where the deadfall has washed up and the turtles are out atop it sunning themselves.
Five Western Painted turtles atop a log at Hidden Lake near Fernie, B.C.
Our group of 16 managed to get quite close to a “turn” of turtles (I had to look that up!). Honestly, they’re not very interesting to watch, but these reptiles are considered a vulnerable species and it’s neat to see them in their natural habitat. Plus, the kids love spotting them — and eating copious amounts of Saskatoons along the way!
Avery shows off her bucket-o-berries along the Hidden Lake Trail in Kikomun Creek Provincial Park.