Seasonal drinks and festive bottles: so close you can taste it
By Randy Mar (This article appeared in the December 2021 edition of the New Edinburgh News)
Getting into the holiday spirit is thirsty work, but fortunately our main street, Beechwood Avenue, has a variety of options for festive drinks, cocktail mixes, bottle pairings, and non-alcoholic beverages this season.
Here are some highlights for your savouring pleasure or as gifts for others.
In the early stages of the pandemic, brothers Ross and Simon Fraser of Fraser Restaurant, Takeaway & Bottle Shop (7 Springfield Rd.) converted the private dining space previously used for the popular Table 40 venue and opened access to their curated wine collection to complement their burgeoning takeaway and prepared foods offerings.
Today, the bottle shop is a key feature attracting knowledgeable and curious customers alike. As curator, Ross is particularly proud of the rapidly changing cellar of red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines assembled from renowned wine regions around the globe, including Italy, France, South America, United States, and of course, Canada. Many – if not most – are consignment wines not readily available at the LCBO.
Ross highly recommends Suertes del Marqués 7 Fuentes, showcasing Tenerife’s volcanic soils and altitude, as well as lesser-known grape varietals. It is full-bodied, balanced, and refreshing and is very versatile with meats. It would pair wonderfully with Fraser’s traditional meat tourtière.
With the festive season rapidly approaching, the bottle shop has a selection of bubblies such as cava, prosecco, and (naturally) champagne. For non-drinkers, Fraser also features locally crafted City Seltzers. Of note, alcohol purchased at the Fraser must be purchased with food.
Also from Ross, a word of thanks to clients: “After all the transformations Fraser has gone through over the past 20 months, we are incredibly grateful to still be here and able to rebuild. We can’t thank the community enough for their overwhelming support.” Fraser Restaurant, Takeaway & Bottle Shop is at 7 Springfield Rd. Contact 613-749-1444 or frasercafe.ca.
Local craft beer lovers may already be looking forward to the upcoming lineup of seasonal beers at Good Prospects Brewing Company (411 St Laurent Blvd.)! Open since late February, Good Prospects has weathered a pandemic start-up and is putting the finishing touches on a tasting room in time for the holidays.
“We’ve been working hard to get our taproom open so we can spend more time getting to know our neighbours who have supported us from day one” said head brewer Duncan MacKay. “Who doesn’t want to get together with friends and family over a beer?” enthused Duncan with a smile. He has also been busy at the fermenters, readying batches of more winter-oriented ales and lagers such as dunkel (dark German lager) and another saison variety. He is also testing his first batch of sour beer. Find Good Prospects Brewing Co. at 411 St Laurent Blvd. Contact 613-746-7707 or goodprospects.ca.
While local shops offer a wide variety of options, our neighbourhood liquor store, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO, 10 Beechwood Ave.), has a listing of nearly 1,700 wines, spirits, seltzers, and beers within its 8,100 square-foot street-front location.
The Holiday 2021 edition of the ever-popular LCBO Food & Drink magazine is now available and as its title suggests, features numerous recipes for easy-to-make, low-alcohol pitcher drinks and seasonal nightcaps, along with food pairings. Readers will find an entire section – “Twists: Bottled Up” – devoted to fashioning numerous bottled mock- and cocktails for festive drinks or gifts.
Store manager Marc Grondin invites neighbours to stop by to explore the more tha 300 holiday gift and festive sampler packs, and special seasonal offers available at the store or online. Local insiders know about both same-day, in-store and curbside pickup options at the rear of the building. The LCBO is located 10 Beechwood Ave. Contact 613-741-5046 or lcbo.com.
Wondering where to go for no- or low-alcohol drinks, liquid treats, and mixers to add to your home bar or to enjoy while out for a stroll? Look no further than neighbourhood faves Red Door Provisions and Jacobsons Gourmet Concepts.
Both local purveyors offer a vast selection of seasonal choices. At Red Door, you will find spiced rosemary, eggnog, and honey thyme lattes; peppermint mocha and holiday blend from Pilot Coffee Roasters (medium roast batch brew); as well as beer and cider from such local and Ontario brewers as Dominion City, Revel, and Bellwoods Brewery. Jacobsons offers such speciality beverage items as Ceder’s, a non-alcoholic, distilled alternative gin; Gimber, a non-alcoholic, ginger concentrate with a bite; Silver Swallow luxury kombucha; and Hall’s Apple Market cider, a local seasonal favourite.
Red Door Provisions is located at 117 Beechwood Ave. Contact 613-695-6804 or reddoorprovisions.com.
Also available at Jacobsons are a range of mixers, bitters, and cocktail toppers for any pouring occasion. Ottawa’s Split Tree Cocktail Co. holiday cranberry ginger cordial, Walter Gregor’s handcrafted, all-natural tonic from Scotland, and Bittermilk’s gingerbread old fashioned cocktail mixer, are all perfect for holiday entertaining. Find Jacobsons Gourmet Concepts at 103 Beechwood Avenue. Contact 613-746-6002 or jacobsons.ca)
NEN reminds readers to please enjoy the holiday season safely and responsibly and to arrange alternate means of transportation as required!