Archives for posts with tag: Drink
This is what we found one day on our way to buy some wool to make felted soaps.
Les Délires du Terroir – bières, fromages et gourmandises du Québec.
It is at 6406 rue St. Hubert, just below Beaubien.
The cheese and gifts looked nice and so did the beer.
We had no idea that there were so many microbreweries in Quebec!

The shop is rustic, yet tastefully decorated, the clerk was very friendly and helpful, it was a pleasant little shop. We thought to sample a couple of beers each in order to offer up a little review… but… (see illustration below).

... when the clerk pointed out this sign, we got three each.

And now what you have all been waiting for… beer reviews!

The “Rousse Whisky” from Les Brasseurs du Hameau is a ‘strong beer’ that avoids all the evils of usual ‘strong beers’, which are lagers that taste malty, hopsy, sweet and heavy. Having none of that, this is a pale ale whose ‘strength’ derives from the addition of Scotch Whiskey.  Its a perfect winter beer.  I think the best description for the taste is the old skating trick of ‘cracking the whip.’ The medium-bodied beer comes around, and the whiskey cleans up with a final kick. Delicious.

La Marie Framboise from Microbrasserie Saint-Arnould is fresh and light with a distinctly raspberry flavour.  I really like it! I must admit this is the perfect beer for people who prefer a nice, refreshing drink. It’s not too unlike Hoegaarden, except with a raspberry touch.

La Carrotte Du Lievre is a carrot beer (yes! Finally! Carrot beer!) by the Microbrasserie du Lievre. I found the beer to have a gentle yet snappy smell of fresh carrots. As I drank it, the carotty bouquet seemed to dissipate, so that I just enjoyed the beer as a beer, rather than a novelty. I quite liked it. It was a good, round taste that settled over the centre of my tongue. Not bitter at all, but not too sweet, I would say it would work well with fried foods or an autumn/winter soup. Oh, yes, it would add a fantastic kick mixed into a stew! Interestingly, not everyone has so enjoyed this beer… as with all things in life, a lot depends on your personal taste.

DhamNation is a sexy-looking beer. A black label, with spare red lettering, it is “strong” (7%) so I thought I’d be in for something really special. As it stood, I was a bit disappointed. By the Brasseurs du Hameau, it was an average-style of beer. Just a beer. Granted, I am a little spoiled in my beers, as there are dozens of fine local brews available. It wasn’t Coors, no, but it didn’t measure up to my dear St Ambroise line of beers. Worthy of drinking, certainly, but not what I’d hoped for.

Folie Douce Biere au Bleuets is by Les Brasseurs RJ, one of my favorite micro breweries. They make the infamous Cheval Blanc. Mmm. Well, this blueberry beer is quite surprisingly bitter. The blueberry scent and flavour is not strong, nor is it sweet. The colour is a distinct red, and is very cool-looking. Serve it in a clear glass! Upon further reflection, the blueberry taste is present, but it is subtle, something that builds. The taste is similar to slightly tart, unripe blueberries. I enjoyed this one, but feel it is mostly suitable for summertime. Does remind me a bit of a crisp, fruity cider.

Lastly is the Black Watch Scottish ale. I was attracted to it by the big, furry eyebrows on the label. As it turns out, eyebrows are something of a fetish for the beers from Les Brasseurs de Montreal. This beer makes my eyebrows shiver and curl! The first sensation is incredibly tart.  This is followed by a brief flicker of sweet that is washed away by another wave of tartness. The taste is precise, tight and frugal like a staunch Presbyterian. Perhaps that’s why it’s a Scottish beer!

Teas and painted chocolates, deluxe and beautiful, are available too.

Raspberries

Raspberries!

One day a guy tried to sell me a supplement made from the red colour that is naturally occurring in raspberries.  At the time, I laughed and laughed. Raspberries are one of my favourite fruits, why would I start taking them in a capsules and miss out on the full experience of tasting them?

Many people take supplements of particular parts of plants.  Research has helped state the benefits of these plant constituents in a precise manner and people can supplement with high doses of these constituents.  And in the case of raspberries, research tells us that the colour in raspberries are anthocyanin pigments.  Found in blue-red fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries, grapes, hawthorn, cherries, and raspberries, anthocyanin pigments are one of the 5 families of flavonoids.  Flavonoids function as plant pigments in colourful fruits and flowers and they are abundant in plants.  They are known for anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-carcinogenic and antiviral properties.  Anthocyanidins are also important anti-inflammatories that aid in wound healing by reinforcing the natural cross link of collagen that forms the matrix of connective tissue.  And as I type this, I wish I was enjoying these little blue-red bundles of beneficial constituents.

In some cases, it makes sense to supplement the diet with therapeutic doses of particular plant constituents.  For the most part, I prefer to get these beneficial plant constituents from the plants themselves.  I enjoy eating and drinking; it is as simple as that.  I also see a spiritual aspect to it all.

Water is a universal solvent.  We get this because most of us at some point have witnessed someone making tea and coffee.  Alcohol is a fine preservative and solvent.  Sugar is another fine preservative.  What do you get when you put the three together and add a few botanicals?  A stable liquid that can taste good and it can even be good for you.

St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Delice de Sureau Image by TheDeliciousLife

If you enter the liquor store you will see many bottles that were originally tonics.  In fact, many of our modern sodas were once used as tonics.  These fermented beverages were important because they were stable drinks that people could rely upon.  Not only in terms of safety, but also as a product that would strengthen and sustain.  The people making drinks knew the benefits of the botanicals they were using and made drinks to nourish others.  These days though, I feel that beverages are often a mere shell of what they once were.  We don’t know what is in the bottle, it is often much too sweet and it is sweetened with highly controversial sweeteners such as GMO high-fructose corn syrup.  It might be coloured with a dye that is not nutritional in any way (there go my anthocyanins!)  The flavours are to mimic tastes in particular ways.  It may be generally regarded as safe, but it has nothing to do with nutrition!  It is the experience, the flavour sensation that is important.  It is assumed that you are not looking to these drinks for any benefit other than pleasure.   From this herbalist’s perspective, there is room for growth in our understanding of what we are ingesting.  Rather than being pleased by a flavour that imitates something good, I would rather look for foods and drinks that taste good, because they are good for me.  (And, this is not to be confused with the trend in functional foods.  Good food is functional, pointe finale.)

I don’t want a world where all the pleasures of eating and drinking are gone.  I am not going to start a drab way of living that involves taking supplements as a means of sustenance.  At the same time, it can be tricky as I shop for food and drink because I so often fall for something that looks good, but has little benefit to me, other than a taste experience!

So, this is how I do it: I make things I might want to enjoy in the months ahead.  These are two simple examples.  There are many ways to keep the fun in functional.

Raspberry Liqueur

Making a stable liqueur is easy.  Use quality ingredients that are clean and mould free.  Use clean vessels.  Ensure that at least 25% of the volume weight is either sugar or pure alcohol or a combination of the two.

Ingredients

300 grams raspberries (fresh or frozen)

200 grams sugar

700 ml vodka, cognac or brandy

And for a little more inspiration: add some other flavourings: vanilla bean, organic orange peel (avoiding the white pith) and honey.

Pour the above ingredients into a mason jar.  Agitate a little bit daily and let it sit for two weeks in a dark corner of your countertop.  Using a cheese cloth and a sieve, strain the raspberries from the liquid.  Decant the liquid into a nice (clean) bottle with a good (and clean) stopper.  Use your creativity to make a charming label with the name of your product, ingredients and date that it was made.  Serve as you wish, perhaps with sparkling water and a twist of lemon.

*after you are finished with the fruit, you can add it to a trifle pudding or you can bake it in a cake.

**Don’t use honey, unless you include a large amount of alcohol.  Honey and water will ferment turning your product into mead.  This is not a bad thing, but it does require a little more knowledge and care.

Raspberry Vodka

200 g raspberries

800 ml vodka (40%)

This is the exact same method as the above recipe.  Pour the above ingredients into a mason jar.  Agitate a little bit daily and let it sit for two weeks in a dark corner of your countertop.  Using a cheese cloth and a sieve, strain the raspberries from the liquid.  Decant the liquid into a nice (clean) bottle with a good (and clean) stopper.  Use your creativity to make a charming label with the name of your product, ingredients and date that it was made.

Studies prove that consuming excessive amounts of sugar and alcohol is detrimental to the body.  Moderation is key in fully enjoying the benefits of these beverages.

By: Tammy Schmidt, Montreal


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