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Quest for the Best Edible Cocktails

St. Andrews Sour

St. Andrews Sour

Normally I love wine with my dinner and usually stick with that when I am dining. However, at a new restaurant I was checking out in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, of all places, something about a cocktail was crying out to me, so I decided to forgo my usual glass of vino in favor of this drink.

The amante picante was on the menu under the “muddled” category with classics like a mojito. Made with tequila, cilantro, cucumber, lime and green Tabasco, it came in a tall clear sling glass with ribbons of cucumber wending their way through the ice, muddled cilantro and more cucumber.  [more]

I took a sip and had one of those OMG moments where I promptly fell in love.

For many years now, I’ve noticed a trend with finer restaurants and bars to concoct new cocktails using the ultra-deluxe brands of spirits and unique liqueurs on the market nowadays. More recently, I’ve seen the trend taken a step further by forgoing commercial artificial flavors and using real food ingredients either directly in the drinks or by making syrups and infusions from fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs. I have no idea whether there is a proper term for this type of drink, but for lack of a better moniker, I dub them “edible cocktails.”

Blueberry mint margarita, HoDo restaurant

Blueberry mint margarita, HoDo restaurant

This got me to thinking about a quest to find the best of the best, and so for the last year I have been testing a lot of samples in the name of serious research and development.

It was terribly hard work I’ll have you know.  The thing I love about these drinks is how sharp and clear the flavors are, and they seem to be much more real.

And while there were many more that I could have included here, these cocktails stood out as particularly delicious. The rules were that they had to use fresh ingredients and not frozen, canned, bottled or any other pre-packaged stuff.

Blueberry mint margarita (Milagro tequila, Patrón Citrónge orange liqueur, blueberries and mint in a glass rimmed with raw sugar) from the newly appointed Four Diamond HoDo in Fargo, North Dakota.

Kiwi Daiquiri, Banff Park Lodge

Kiwi Daiquiri, Banff Park Lodge

Kiwi Daiquirí (Matusalem rum and freshly cut kiwi muddled with freshly squeezed lime) from the Terrace Lounge in Three Diamond Banff Park Lodge in Banff, Alberta. You’ll find yourself sucking this one back pretty fast.

St. Andrew’s sour (Edinburgh Gin, lemongrass simple syrup, grapefruit juice, blackberry purée, egg white and grapefruit bitters) from The SIX15 Room in the Four Diamond Grand Hotel Minneapolis in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Jack Smash (Jack Daniels whiskey, smashed fresh raspberries, Chambord black raspberry liqueur, lemon sour and a touch of simple syrup) from the Two Diamond Granite City Food & Brewery in Fargo, North Dakota.

Jack Smash, Granite City Food & Brewery

Jack Smash, Granite City Food & Brewery

Among other noteworthy restaurants that make great edible cocktails are Candela (Three Diamond), Raw Bar (Three Diamond) and Charcut (Three Diamond), all in Calgary, Alberta. The Rundle Lounge in the Four Diamond Fairmont Banff Springs makes some interesting concoctions, and the bartender told me he brews up his rhubarb syrup himself.

And while this doesn’t really fall within the rules or the spirit of my quest, a bartender who had heard about my research directed me to Lucky’s 13 Pub in Fargo, North Dakota, which on Sundays serves a BLT Bloody Mary garnished with bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle and pepperoni. It gets an honorable mention because truly it was pretty tasty and practically lunch all by itself.

Overall, I found it difficult to decide, but top honors go to the amante picante, the drink that started it all, from the Three Diamond Calories Bakery and Restaurant in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Unfortunately there is no picture, as I didn’t know at the time that I was going to start a quest.

The thing I like about this quest is that it never has to end!  Anybody have a favorite edible cocktail I can maybe check out someday?

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