Monthly Archives: July 2015

Drink of the Week: Blueberry Elderflower Mojito

It’s officially BC blueberry season, and I have been stuffing my face with gobs of them this week. Representatives from the British Columbia Blueberry Council visited Calgary on Tuesday, packing with them cases of the little blue fruit. But don’t fret — you don’t have to drive west to get your hands on the plump berries. You can find BC blueberries in supermarkets, farmers’ markets and produce centres all over Calgary.

I’m excited to add my new berry bounty to morning shakes, sprinkle them atop yogurt snacks and toss them into kale salads. With the weekend looming, I’m muddling them into mojitos.

The Blueberry Elderflower Mojito was inspired by a raspberry mojito I tried at Island Lake Lodge earlier this month (I’ll be sharing that recipe in my Spirited Calgary column in the Calgary Herald on Aug. 8). Blueberries add a pretty colour, sweetness and antioxidant hit to this twist on a traditional mojito. Enjoy!

This long, refreshing mojito is sweetened by blueberries, St-Germain and a dollop of simple syrup. Divine!

This long, refreshing mojito is sweetened by blueberries, St-Germain and a dollop of simple syrup. Divine!

Blueberry Elderflower Mojito

  • 5 large mint leaves
  • 2 bar spoons fresh BC blueberries
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water ratio)
  • 1 oz light rum (I used Brugal Extra Dry)
  • 1/2 oz St-Germain
  • Top soda water
  • Garnish: 5 fresh BC blueberries and a mint sprig

Method: In the base of a Collins glass, muddle mint and blueberries with lime juice and simple syrup. Add rum and St-Germain. Add ice cubes, stir, then top with soda water (2 to 3 oz, or to taste). Garnish with more blueberries and a mint sprig.

Drink of the Week: Clover Club

One of the cool things about Calgary lately is it keeps opening these amazing restaurants and bars with fabulous cocktails. In recent memory there’s been Parc, followed by Proof and Pigeonhole. Now there’s Charbar in the East Village, which is practically in my backyard!

A couple weeks ago Blake and I biked there from Inglewood to check out the space and try some cocktails. We were blown away by the vista from the rooftop patio, which faces the Bow River and affords great views of The Bow (skyscraper) in one direction, and that new East Village bridge in the other.

Lovely view down the Bow River from the Charbar patio.

Lovely view down the Bow River from the Charbar patio.

We started out with some appies and loved the eggplant and quinoa chips and the tableside ceviche. Watching the ceviche being made-to-order at your table isn’t as exciting as watching tableside guacamole, but it’s just as tasty.

The server adds a dollop of tk to our tableside ceviche.

The server sprinkles some giant corn-nut-like kernels onto our tableside ceviche.

Parched from the bike ride, we also ordered some cocktails including the spirit-forward, martini-like Aldeano for me, and the Local Derby — a deliciously strong bourbon, grapefruit juice and agave nectar number — for Blake. Round two shook up a Last Word for Blake, who loves all-things-Green-Chartreuse, and a Clover Club for me.

This drink was new to me, but it’s a classic that pre-dates prohibition. I love sours, and I liked the colour and flavour that raspberries bring to the drink, which is named for a Philadelphia men’s club that was open from 1882 until the 1920s. It’s a good summer evening drink: light, tart, slightly sweet and pretty on the patio.

The Clover Club is kind of like a gin sour… with raspberries.

The Clover Club is kind of like a gin sour… with raspberries.

Clover Club

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 7 fresh raspberries
  • 1 egg white
  • Glass: Martini
  • Garnish: Raspberry

In a Boston shaker, add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and raspberries. Dry shake. Add ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a raspberry on the edge of the martini glass.

— Recipe courtesy Charbar

Moose on the loose at Island Lake

With nature, timing is everything. Some days you can hike 20 kilometres in the backcountry and see nary a bird; other times you hit the wildlife jackpot with minimum effort. Such was our hot July afternoon at Island Lake.

A mother moose grazes while her calf eyes us up at Island Lake near Fernie, B.C.

A mother moose grazes while her calf eyes us up at Island Lake near Fernie, B.C.

We drove from Fernie up to Island Lake Lodge to rent a canoe ($10 for one hour) and paddle around the lake. The lake is named for the small island in its centre that makes a fun target to navigate around. After situating Bennett and Avery inside the canoe, with instructions to stay as still as possible in spite of the crazy swarms of mayflies (in other words, no tipping!), Blake and I dipped our oars toward the island.

The mayflies were swarming us in the canoe. Good thing they don't bite!

The mayflies were swarming us in the canoe. Good thing they don’t bite!

I spotted movement along a shaded bank. As we glided closer I saw it was a mama moose and her baby, which appeared to be pretty darn new. The pair were busy munching on leaves along the water’s edge. Mama raised her head and stared us down (Blake stopped paddling; I was busy taking endless photos), then hunger drove her back to her afternoon snack. Baby tried unsuccessfully to nurse several times, but was repeatedly dissuaded by a guttural moan from its mother, who clearly needed sustenance after birthing and nursing her calf. We watched them in awe for 10 minutes or more, marvelling at the tiny, fuzzy baby and its skinny, gangly mama. As we paddled away the small family headed inland on the island.

Mama and baby moose pause to glance at our approaching canoe.

Mama and baby moose pause to glance at our approaching canoe.

We continued our trip around the lake, chasing ducklings (much to Bennett’s delight) and letting Avery try to catch tadpoles. A final circle of the island showed no signs of the wildlife sheltered there.

Canoeing at Island LAke is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Canoeing at Island Lake is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Later, over cocktails on the Bear Lodge patio, Island Lake Lodge marketing guy Mike McPhee told us that a mother moose swims out to the island every spring to birth a calf. She shelters it there for awhile, then they move back to the mainland for the rest of the summer. Smart mama — what a beautiful place to raise a babe.