There is something so warm and cozy about fall. With the arrival of brisk, sunny days, it’s the perfect time to settle in with a glass of something rich and inviting. This issue, we’re all about spirits. Along with an array of fabulous fall-inspired cocktails, we feature bourbon, Scotch and other dark spirits, all perfect pours to sip on as the season turns. We offer classic, comforting recipes with the everyday meal in mind, and menus perfect for entertaining. So, pull out your favourite sweater, curl up with a glass of something delicious and embrace the beauty of fall. With the many spirited articles featured here and the highly anticipated Premium Spirit Release just around the corner, you’re sure to fall for spirits this season!




Gift & Share the Season

SUSIE KNIGHT CREATIVE DIRECTOR/MANAGING EDITOR Susie leads the content and creative direction of TASTE and holds the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Certification. Born and raised in Vancouver, she is passionate about creating a quality magazine for BC customers and loves producing beautiful images to showcase the recipes and products. During the holiday season, you’ll find Susie sipping on hot apple cider. images and campaigns that connect emotionally to today’s consumer. Her advice for design: “ever evolving, and a step ahead on the latest trends.” Cami enjoys dark chocolate beer in winter. CONNIE HUI EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Connie leads the marketing team for BCLIQUOR and is responsible for creating innovative ideas for the brand and magazine. Her in-depth experience in marketing and consumer research allows her to capture the trends that readers are most interested in. She enjoys running and yoga and is an avid foodie. Her winter drink of choice is red wine sangria. CAMI TORGERSON EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Cami leads the creative strategy at BCLIQUOR, providing the overarching vision for retail store design, graphics and TASTE. She has always had a passion for design, creating beautiful spaces, LYDIA DEL BIANCO CDP SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Lydia has a BFA from UVic and has studied internationally at the master’s level with SVA and SCAD. She was the senior designer on TASTE from 2009 to 2022 and now leads the in- house design team at BCLIQUOR. Lydia is passionate about typography and branding and enjoys mulled wine in the winter. RAISA HASANEN GRAPHIC DESIGNER Raisa has a BDes from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and more than 15 years of experience in design. She sees life through a creative eye and finds joy in developing rich visual narratives that engage audiences. In the winter she enjoys sipping on a hot buttered rum cocktail. DIANE SMALLWOOD DIGITAL IMAGING SPECIALIST Diane has a diploma in graphic and visual design and over 25 years of experience in design and production. Her specialty on TASTE is bringing out the best in the photos. She holds the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Certification. Diane celebrates with sparkling rosé in winter. KERRILYN CHENG MARKETING PRODUCT SPECIALIST Kerrilyn holds the Wine & Spirit Education (WSET) Level 3 Certification, Italian Wine Scholar and French Wine Scholar designations. She enjoys hosting dinner parties while creating fun food and beverage pairings to share with friends and readers. Kerrilyn sips on peppermint-flavoured cocktails over the holidays. CAROLINE RIEDEL MENSING ASSISTANT COORDINATOR Caroline has a degree in social communication with a major in marketing and advertising. She has experience working with magazines in Brazil and is passionate about photography. She loves travelling and exploring new places. In the winter, Caroline likes to cozy up with an espresso martini. focus in consumer behaviour. She enjoys curating food and beverage experiences for curious palates, and her culinary, travel and hospitality experiences are an asset to the TASTE team’s creative process. Over the holidays she enjoys a rum & eggnog. CAITLIN REID CONTENT & PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Caitlin holds the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Certification and a Master of Business Administration with a

There’s something magical about the winter season: the crisp air, the first snowfall that covers everything in a blanket of fresh powder, the magic and buzz of the holidays and the promise of new beginnings for the new year. Yes, winter is wonderful. We offer plenty of recipes to comfort the soul, perfect for a cold winter’s night. Enjoy cocktails and dishes tailored to cabin getaways and holiday entertaining. If gifting is on your mind, you’ll find fantastic inspirations to please anyone on your list. Sit back and soak up the magic. We’ve done the heavy lifting, so you can just gather, gift and share the season!










Country of Origin refers to where the product comes from.

Dry includes many popular red wines (e.g., Bordeaux, Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir) and white wines (e.g., Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio). Sparkling wines labelled as Brut will also be very dry on the palate. In the former codes, wines would have been labelled as 00. Dry wines have less than 5g of residual sugar per litre. Semi-Dry wines have a hint of sweetness in the mouth and include many Pinot Gris, Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and California reds. In the former codes, wines would have been labelled as 01 to 02. Semi-dry wines have 6g to 24g of residual sugar per litre. Sweet wines will have noticeable sweetness but not enough to be considered dessert wines. Many Moscatos and German wines labelled with the terms Spätlese or Auslese will be included. In the former codes, wines would have been labelled as 03 to 07. Sweet wines have 25g to 79g of residual sugar per litre. Very Sweet wines include the famous dessert wines of the world, like Sauternes, Tokaji Aszú, port and sweet sherries. In the former codes, wines would have been labelled as 08 to 10. Very sweet wines have 80g or more of residual sugar per litre.

GRAND MARNIER CORDON ROUGE France $48.49 1784 The iconic Grand Marnier is created from 51 percent fine French cognac and 49 percent distilled orange liqueur. Anticipate orange marmalade, hazelnut and toffee on a silky, full-bodied palate.


New products have been in market for three months or less.

BCL Select products are available only at BCLIQUOR stores.

*For cover cocktail recipe, see index on page 108.

BC VQA wines with the BC VQA designation are 100 percent grown, made and bottled in BC. VQA stands for Vintners

Quality Alliance.

BC Craft Beer is BC-made and small batch.

BC Spirits are distilled and bottled in BC.

Ontario VQA wine. Similar to BC VQA wines, Ontario VQA wines are 100 percent grown, made and bottled in Ontario.

Organic products with this designation are certified organic.

TASTE Magazine is printed on 10 percent recycled paper using vegetable-based ink.

Kosher products with this designation are certified kosher.

To inquire about advertising opportunities, please contact Susanne Knight at taste.magazine@bcliquorstores.com. Prices are subject to change without notice. In the event of any error or omission published in this magazine, the product description and display price in the liquor store will prevail. Products in this publication will be available as of December 2023, unless otherwise noted. Quantities may be limited. Items with very limited quantities are distributed only to Signature BCLIQUOR stores. Visit bcliquorstores.com to locate any products sold at BCLIQUOR stores and for up-to-date pricing information. Prices do not reflect sales and do not include taxes or container deposit. Vintages may vary.

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TASTE Magazine is a publication of BCLIQUOR TM .


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TASTE Magazine BCLIQUOR 3383 Gilmore Way, Burnaby, BC V5G 4S1 Susanne Knight 604 252 8722 taste.magazine@bcliquorstores.com


IN EVERY ISSUE 70 THE COCKTAIL MENU Featuring cream liqueurs. 104 SPECIAL EVENTS 108 RECIPE INDEX 108 TASTE TEST KITCHEN 128 THE LAST WORD Stuff those stockings.


38 HOLIDAY BAR ESSENTIALS Tips and tricks for stocking the perfect holiday bar, complete with cocktails! 44 SAVOURY TREATS TO GIFT & SHARE 50 SPARKLING WINE SIX WAYS A beautiful bubbly for every occasion. 54 PERSONALIZED PRESENTS: DIY GIFT BOXES Add a personal touch to your gifting technique this year. 60 A FESTIVE FEAST TO SHARE Tired of Turkey? This menu will delight your guests. 65 SEASONAL OFFERINGS Check out the newest festive flavours. 66 FINDING THE PERFECT GIFT Checking off your list has never been so easy! 74 STUNNING DESSERTS These showstopping desserts will be the talk of the town! 80 SWEETEN THE SEASON: NOSTALGIC WHISKY GIFTING The perfect flavour pairings to gift and share. Why should sweets get all the love? These savoury gifts are perfect for gifting and sharing.

LOCALLY YOURS 6 WINTER COMFORTS WITH BC WINE Cozy up this winter with these classic BC winter pairings. 10 CELEBRATE LUNAR NEW YEAR WITH A MOTT 32 MENU


Nothing truly says “celebration” like an elegant glass of your favourite Champagne.

Mott 32 Chef He shares three delicious dishes to recreate for Lunar New Year.

86 MAKE-AHEAD NEW YEAR’S BRUNCH Sleep in and roll out these delicious dishes that can be prepped ahead of time! 91 STOCKING YOUR BAR The perfect alcohol-free options to keep on hand. 92 COZY COCKTAILS Warm up with these delicious cocktails after a long winter’s day. 97 LUNAR NEW YEAR GIFTABLES Truly elegant pours to gift for this auspicious occasion. 98 CABIN COMFORTS Comforting dishes to ward off the chill. 103 VALENTINE’S GIFTS TO SHARE Perfectly pink pours to share with your loved ones.


WITH BC CRAFT BEER Enjoy these winter brews, perfect for sharing or gifting!

20 CHEERS TO BC CRANBERRIES What better way to celebrate BC than with a cocktail nod to this local crop? 24 2024 VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL Italy takes centre stage at this annual local event.


Become a hosting superstar with these impressive appetizers.

You may be the new local celebrity after gifting these star-studded offerings.



BC locally yours Celebrate the true beauty of BC with our “Locally Yours” section. Along with delicious recipes featuring local ingredients paired with BC wine, beer and refreshment beverages, we bring you local stories, spotlights and talents from the industry. Cheers to the season with festive cocktails inspired by a classic BC crop, cranberries. Embrace our beautiful BC winters by pairing local wines with cozy and classic winter fare and activities. For Lunar New Year, check out our interview with Chef Hong Wei He from local Vancouver restaurant Mott 32. Explore these stories and more BC offerings this winter!



Winter Comforts with BC Wine W inter in British Columbia is a magical time of year that draws both locals and visitors from around the world to experience its stunning landscapes and endless outdoor adventures. But after a day outside, there’s nothing like a cozy night in to feed the soul. Cold weather is perfect for relaxing by the fireside or gathering with family and friends. Whether you’re enjoying a delicious meal or hosting a neighbourhood games night, a glass of wine can elevate the experience. From rich velvety reds to aromatic luscious whites, your local BCLIQUOR store has the perfect BC wine for cozying up indoors this winter. Let’s explore some ideal BC winter pairings.


CHRISTINE CAMPBELL Christine Campbell is a Vancouver-based freelance and travel writer, educator and host of the Wine Soundtrack Canada podcast. She is WSET Certified, is a French Wine Scholar and holds her Master of Champagne certification. Follow Christine’s adventures in wine and travel at www.girlsgogrape.com

Chardonnay & Butternut Squash Soup WINTER EXPERIENCE: CLASSIC MOVIE NIGHT Chardonnay is hailed as the winemaker’s grape. Different expressions of Chardonnay result from winemaking choices: freshness from wines fermented in stainless steel, freedom of expression from concrete tanks or warmth from wines matured in oak. From refined and bright to creamy and lush, there is a Chardonnay for every occasion. Pairing an oaked Chardonnay with creamy butternut squash soup on a cold, rainy night is exceptional for warmth and comfort. Toasty vanilla flavours complement the buttery body of the wine, which makes a delicious partnership for the soup. With an oaked Chardonnay, you will find crisp apple, peach and pineapple flavours to keep your mouth refreshed.

NK'MIP CHARDONNAY BC VQA $22.99 626408 Enjoy this food-friendly oaked Chardonnay from the Okanagan Valley. Its tropical and baking spice aromas alongside a toasty, creamy texture will delight the palate.

Gewürztraminer & Quiche Lorraine WINTER EXPERIENCE: BRUNCH AROUND THE FIREPLACE Believed to hail from Italy but grown extensively throughout the vineyards of Alsace, France, Gewürztraminer is a wine that brings a European bent to winter in British Columbia. Known for its tantalizing aromatics, Gewürztraminer grows well in cool-climate regions and is BC’s fourth-most-grown white wine grape. The Lorraine region of France lies along the western border of Alsace, which makes quiche Lorraine and a chilled glass of Gewürztraminer a regional match. Intense fruity and floral notes such as lychee, ripe stone fruit and rose petal in the wine elevate the salty, savoury flavours of quiche Lorraine. Yum!

GRAY MONK GEWÜRZTRAMINER BC VQA $20.99 321588 Exotic and aromatic, Gray Monk’s Gewürztraminer is a winner. Slightly off-dry, it offers flavours of lychee nut, mandarin orange, rosewater and a hint of ginger.


HAYWIRE PINOT GRIS BC VQA $22.99 562793 Haywire’s Pinot Gris sings with nectarine, lemon zest and melon flavours. Medium-bodied with bright acidity, this is an excellent example of BC Pinot Gris.

Named for the fruit’s grey-pink skin, Pinot Gris is the most-grown white grape variety in the province. Expressions of BC Pinot Gris range from light and crispy to rich and textured and pair well with food. British Columbia is one of the best places in the world for Pacific salmon fishing, and salmon pairs exceptionally well with Pinot Gris. Why? The wine’s acidity balances the oily richness of the salmon, and Pinot Gris' zesty spiciness and pear, apricot, apple, honey, spice and smoke flavours complement salmon’s distinctive taste without being overwhelming.



Drinking can have a big impact on your judgement, reaction time and can make you more willing to take risks. If you want to drink, save it for aer the slopes. Enjoy the ride and stay alive


Syrah & Charcuterie Board WINTER EXPERIENCE: BOARD GAME NIGHT WITH FRIENDS Structured and smoky, Syrah delights with aromas of black pepper, black fruits and meat. With its origins in France and now the hallmark grape of the Northern Rhône, Syrah is British Columbia’s fifth-most- planted red grape variety. Striking that perfect balance between power and finesse, Syrah works well with many foods and flavours. And what better way to show off its versatility than with a beautifully arranged cheese and charcuterie board. Fill the board with fresh and dried fruit, an array of nuts, mustard, preserves and sweet fruit spreads for a casual and colourful entertaining option during the cold winter season.

BLASTED CHURCH SYRAH BC VQA $29.99 37531 Pronounced blackberry, blueberry, sagebrush and bacon aromas fill the glass with this sensational Syrah. Lively acidity leads to an elegant and finessed finish.

Cabernet Franc & Vegetarian Chili WINTER EXPERIENCE: APRÈS-SKI

Known as a blending grape throughout Bordeaux, France, Cabernet Franc shines in British Columbia as a single variety expression. Here is a fun wine fact to impress your friends: Cabernet Franc is the parent of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The hearty black grape adapts to many climates and ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc’s flavour profile includes raspberry and strawberry, herbaceous notes of rosemary, fresh bell pepper, crushed gravel and pencil shavings. Vegetarian and tomato-based dishes pair beautifully with Cabernet Franc due to its high acidity and herbaceous profile.


This big, robust, full-bodied Cabernet Franc from Tinhorn Creek is one to enjoy. Its vibrant acidity elevates the palate, making way for strawberry, rhubarb and mocha powder notes.

Merlot & Red Wine Mushroom Risotto WINTER EXPERIENCE: WATCHING HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA OR MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL Marvellous Merlot reigns supreme as British Columbia’s most-grown grape variety, with over 750 hectares planted. Hailing from the Bordeaux region of France, Merlot derives its name from the grape’s resemblance to the blue-black feathers of a blackbird (merle). Merlot ranges from smooth, easy-going and fruity to full-bodied, ageworthy and refined. Tantalizing flavours like plum, cherry, cocoa, vanilla and bay leaf are typical of Merlot and pair beautifully with creamy mushroom risotto. Substitute Merlot for the white wine typically called for in this recipe, and you will captivate your guests with both the hue and flavour of this attractive pairing. Rich and textured, this wine and food combination is comforting and inviting.

SANDHILL MERLOT BC VQA $21.99 576751 Structured yet subtle, Sandhill’s Merlot delights the taste buds with this full-bodied wine. Tart cherry, raspberry, plum, black tea and sweet spice fill the palate.



Celebrate Lunar New Year with a Mott 32 Menu

Mott 32’s modern approach to traditional Chinese cuisine, with a focus on Cantonese dishes peppered with Beijing and Szechuan influences, has garnered rave reviews from near and far. It’s a distinction earned not only for its food, but also for its vibrant and elegantly designed space, which marries the modern world with traditional elements of Cantonese culture.


DAENNA VAN MULLIGEN Daenna Van Mulligen is a Vancouver-based wine journalist, but is typically found in the world’s vineyards. She is also a wine judge, accredited sommelier and international speaker. Daenna is publisher of the long-running websites WineDiva.ca and Winescores.ca. She has been published in numerous local and internationally distributed publications and is a regular contributor to Vines Magazine and, more recently, Montecristo Magazine . Follow her @thewinediva.

Mott 32 prepares sophisticated modern variations on traditional Lunar New Year, with dishes that everyone will equally enjoy.

Mott 32 has created a dining experience that stands out in a city brimming with outstanding restaurants and has received prestigious accolades, including from Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants and the Chinese Restaurant Awards. At the helm in the kitchen is Chef Hong Wei He. Born in Enping, China, Chef He moved to Vancouver in 1990 and established himself as a cook, primarily in Richmond restaurants. However, the proudest moment of his career was being promoted to head chef at Mott 32 in March of 2023. Chef He has a fondness for rich noodle dishes, which are a staple in Cantonese cuisine and lend nostalgic ties to his upbringing. His affection for his craft is

obvious. “If my guests are happy, I am happy,” he says. Among the many signature menu items, his favourite dishes to make are the succulent lobster mapo tofu, showcasing Atlantic lobster from Nova Scotia, and the tantalizing triple-cooked black Angus short rib. “It is a privilege to get to work every day with my incredible team. I find such joy in bringing the flavours of my heritage to Vancouver, a vibrant cultural mosaic and a place I call home,” Chef He shares. For Lunar New Year on February 10, Chef He, along with Hong Kong- based Chef Lee Man Sing, Mott 32’s group Chinese executive chef, have designed a mouth-watering menu.

Photo Courtesy of Mott 32

Chef He explains: “In Western culture, Thanksgiving and Christmas are bigger holidays, but Lunar New Year is the most special moment for us to come together to celebrate, to share our year’s achievements and toast to the prospective new year.” Mott 32 prepares sophisticated modern variations on traditional Lunar New Year, with dishes that everyone will equally enjoy. Many of the dishes, not only the Cantonese dishes, are nostalgic for people who come from different regions of China. Spending time with family is equally important to Chef He during the holiday. If his schedule allows, he and his family will gather for a family reunion dinner. Chef He will make

Dried Oyster Bean Curd Roll



Photo Courtesy of Mott 32

pairs with Dried Oyster Bean Curd Roll

Braised Chicken, Chestnuts & Hua Diao

BLACK SAGE MERLOT BC VQA $32.99 593053 Complete your Lunar New Year dinner with this bold Merlot presenting concentrated fruit and well-integrated tannins. Blueberry compote, spiced plums and smooth vanilla glide over the plush palate.

pairs with Braised Chicken

QUAILS’ GATE CHARDONNAY BC VQA $26.99 377770 Nectarine and lemon zest notes shine in this subtly oaked Chardonnay. Caramel praline, yellow apple and milk bread flavours work effortlessly with the natural sweetness of chestnut in this chicken dish.

pairs with Braised Chicken

TINHORN CREEK PINOT GRIS BC VQA $22.99 530683 Tropical, green apple and honeydew flavours expressed in this dry, refreshing Pinot Gris emphasize the wine’s juicy acidity, while a slight oily texture on the palate melts into the background.


Photo Courtesy of Mott 32


delicious time-honoured dishes that bring forth good fortune. One is braised pork knuckle made from pork trotters with fat choy, onion, ginger, chu hou paste, oyster sauce, soy sauce, rock sugar and Chinese cooking wine. Another favourite is braised dried oyster made with fat choy, sliced pig tongue, crispy pork belly, dried oyster, ginger, oyster sauce, sugar, salt, Chinese cooking wine and dark soy sauce. In this issue, a special Mott 32 menu was selected, and the dishes were paired with BC wines, so TASTE readers and home cooks can indulge in three classic dishes meant to bring prosperity for all in the new year. First, a whole lobster salad with julienned vegetables, tossed in a soy‑sesame dressing. It is an elegant, refreshing and deeply satisfying dish meant to be shared by the entire table. Next, a crispy umami bomb of dried oyster bean curd roll filled with shiitake mushrooms and preserved Chinese sausage. And finally, braised chicken with chestnuts and aged Chinese wine. Undoubtedly Mott 32’s menu is fit for a dragon—and a year of good luck, strength and good health.

Lobster Salad

Photo Courtesy of Mott 32

pairs with Lobster Salad

pairs with Lobster Salad

pairs with Dried Oyster Bean Curd Roll

FRIND SPARKLING BRUT BC VQA $26.99 40736 Attractive flavours of Anjou pear, green apple and lemon zest share the stage with an elegant creamy mousse. This blend is made from Riesling and Chardonnay grapes.

PHANTOM CREEK PINOT GRIS BC VQA $34.99 58485 This Alsatian-style Pinot Gris features ripe stone fruit, lemon curd and honey flavours, ending with a waxy, creamy texture on the palate from a portion aged in oak.

TANTALUS PINOT NOIR BC VQA $35.99 200881 An Old World meets New World Pinot Noir with black cherries, violets, cedar and forest floor notes up front. Supple tannins offer depth and structure with cocoa and mineral undertones.



for recipes, see index on page 108


Final Touch® Ice Bottle Chiller Perfect addition to your special events. Chill bottles or add a light/candle and use as a lantern. Simple to use; just add water and freeze overnight. Dress it up by adding fruits, ornaments, flowers, food colouring, or anything else; the possibilities are endless.

Final Touch® Bubbles Sparkling, Champagne, Bubbly Glasses | Set of 2 or 4 Toast in style this holiday with these mouthblown Bubbles Glasses! Each glass is hand crafted with sleek curves making it comfortable to hold and a better sparkling wine tasting experience.

Step 1 Add decorations & fill the mould with water

Step 2 Freeze for 24 hours

Video Scan this QR® Code to see how to make your own Ice Bottle Chiller at home!

Step 3 Remove ice from mould & place on display stand


Final Touch® Bubbles Sparkling Wine & Champagne Opener Simply the easiest & safest


way to “POP!” the cork! Just a slight turn & POP!

Final Touch® Twister Decanter Set

Instantly oxygenate your wine with no need to wait for wine to breathe in an open bottle or decanter. The unique 3 phase aeration and oxygenation system provides up to twice as much scent and flavour compared to serving from a bottle or traditional decanter.

Final Touch® Hockey Shot Flight Set

Enjoy game night with this Hockey Shot Flight Set. Solid wood hockey stick serving board with 4 skate shot glasses.

How to buy For more information & where to buy these products scan this QR® Code or visit this link: bit.ly/46dG1nC







Video Scan this QR® Code to see the Revolve Collection in motion!

Revolving Glassware Immerse yourself in the art of swirling spirits & cocktails as this elegant line of glassware gracefully rotates, visually enhancing the experience with every turn. Watch in awe as your drinks come to life, revealing their true essence right before your eyes.

Final Touch® | Revolve Revolving Spirits Decanter

Final Touch® | Revolve Revolving Spirits Tasting Glass

Final Touch® | Revolve Revolving Spirits DOF Glasses - Set of 2

Final Touch® | Revolve Revolving Cocktail Glasses - Set of 2

Final Touch® Champagne & Wine Cork Beverage Bin

Final Touch® 6 Piece Caesar Cocktail Set


Getting Festive with BC Craft Beer


JAMES NEVISON James Nevison is an award-winning wine writer, an educator and the co-founder of HALFAGLASS. He is the wine columnist for the The Province , where his column “Wine Guy” appears each Thursday. James is the co-author of seven best‑selling books on wine in Canada, including Had a Glass 2015: Top 100 Wines Under $20 . Follow his wine musings @hadaglass.

Seasonality means darker beers in general, as more roast on the malts lends nicely to toastiness on the taste buds! It also means bolder flavours overall.

T here’s an old saying, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes.” Its origin is Scandinavian, though the adage also feels appropriate for British Columbia, particularly during the winter. The reality is that there are a myriad of activities and festivities to enjoy over the holiday season—all of which can be enhanced by seasonally pertinent clothing and complemented by seasonally relevant craft brews. For the holidays, this seasonality means darker beers in general, as more roast on the malts lends nicely to toastiness on the taste buds! It also means bolder flavours overall—all in the name of helping ward off winter chills. More specifically, a number of strategies are worth keeping in mind when pairing beer with the exciting busyness of the holiday season. Dark Ales for Dark Nights Part of the magic of the holiday season is how, thanks to all the events and gatherings, the winter nights never feel dark or long (that will come later, like mid-January). That said, the colder, longer and darker nights do lend themselves to darker beers. It’s simply seasonal sensibility. Beer gets its colour largely

Dark Lagers Too Don’t overlook the dark lagers! While lager yeast is not as associated with darker beers overall, it can work its magic with more roasted malts. There are many dark lager styles, with a common thread being gorgeous brown to brown-black colour, toasted and nutty tones, and a lip-smacking lager finish. Then there are bocks, strong dark lagers unafraid to show off their malty overtones. They’re just the thing to sip while savouring a fondue or a wintertime barbecue. Try the Hermannator Ice Bock, a seasonal release from Vancouver Island Brewing. ’Tis the Season for Added Flavour Of course, a great way to get festive is to get extra—as in adding extra flavour. So, sure, there are classic dark beers ready to take on any festive occasion, but why not opt for a seasonal brew from Steel & Oak, such as the Smoked Honey Doppelbock? Adding a layer of smokiness is like adding an extra dimension, in this case like sipping the memory of a wood fire—a perfect pairing for holiday festivities while chilling in an ugly Christmas sweater.

from malt. The more roasted the malts, the darker the colour of the beer. The darker the beer’s colour, the more caramelization is at play. And just as browning food brings out robust and comforting flavours, the same principle holds for beer. Fortunately, when it comes to ales, there is no shortage of beers that fit the darker bill. There are brown ales, which are literally named for their various shades of brown in the glass, from dark amber to cacao. Brown malt, which is simply roasted pale malt, lends the beer its darker colour, and often notes like caramel and chocolate too. In Belgium, brown ales are known as brunes, and while they are a similar colour, they tend to be stronger Trappist or abbey-style ales known as dubbels with gregarious malt profiles. Dageraad’s Brune is a locally made classic Belgian-style dubbel. Then there are porters, which share a similar brewing process and colour with brown ales but typically see a heavier hand with the hops. Reputedly, porter beers are named for their popularity among the porters who admitted patrons in England’s markets. And while these days stouts are associated with the darkest of beers, their name was originally used to signify a stronger style of porter beer—literally “stout porter.” Category 12’s Deviation Dry Irish Stout celebrates the holidays with a hint of vanilla.




Another seasonally appropriate adjunct is salt. The allure of salted caramel or salted chocolate is now pretty much an accepted fact. So why not add salt to a dark beer like a porter, which is known to have chocolate flavours itself? The combination, like the Salted Chocolate Porter from Steamworks Brewing, is a liquid kiss to rival any box of holiday treats, and one that marries well with family gatherings throughout the holidays, whether over dinner or at the card table afterwards. Holiday Mix Packs for Open Houses Or don’t pick one particular beer at all. Many local breweries release special holiday-themed mix packs, which typically feature three or four different beers primed for the festive season. The Moody Ales Holiday Party Mix Pack showcases beers with flavours such as gingerbread, eggnog and piney Christmas tree. The obvious benefit is having several options in one package, which can be perfect for satisfying crowds at an open house. Plus, as a bonus, a holiday mix pack can also serve as a mini DIY beer advent calendar. During December, simply close your eyes and reach into the box! Or, consider curating a mix pack to gift to a holiday host or someone on your "nice list."

DAGERAAD BRUNE BC $7.79 785261 650 ml This Belgian-inspired dubbel pours an elegant cloudy mahogany colour

CATEGORY 12 DEVIATION DRY IRISH STOUT BC $14.29 410980 4 × 473 ml Marry a classic, eminently sessionable dry Irish stout with a hint of vanilla and you end up with Category 12’s smooth and engaging holiday treat.

and engulfs the taste buds with complex toasty malt and dried fruit before a snappy finish.

VANCOUVER ISLAND HERMANNATOR ICE BOCK BC $14.99 221452 4 × 473 ml Originally made for the friends and family of Hermann, Vancouver Island’s inaugural brewmaster, this bold, strong lager is imbued with coffee and candied fruit.

STEEL & OAK SMOKED HONEY DOPPELBOCK BC $7.69 73007 650 ml This double, or “doppel,” bock gets creative with the addition of local honey and smoked beechwood malt to create a cozy, complex, winter- warming dark lager.

MOODY ALES HOLIDAY PARTY MIX PACK BC $15.99 332554 4 × 473 ml No need to pick just one. This seasonal sampler features Gingerbread Amber Ale, Christmas Tree IPA, Holiday Party Punch Sour and grandma’s favourite— Eggnog Ale!

STEAMWORKS SALTED CHOCOLATE PORTER BC $3.49 408705 473 ml This is a decadently robust porter with roasted chocolate malts complemented by a streak of vanilla and a lick of local sea salt.



Cheers to BC Cranberries


recipes and cocktail styling by David Wolowidnyk

ingredient in Holiday Punch

SHELTER POINT SINGLE MALT WHISKY BC $77.99 283499 This Canadian whisky is produced using traditional methods, pot distillation and glacier-fed aquifer water. Caramel, barley and baking spice flavours are up front, with nuanced sea spray and smoke aromas.

HOLIDAY PUNCH 1 bottle (750 ml) Shelter Point Whisky 4 cups (1 L) Earl Grey tea * 1½ cups (375 ml) Rosemary Honey Syrup ** 1½ cups (375 ml) organic 100% pure cranberry juice (not from concentrate) *** ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice ¾ oz (22 ml) aromatic bitters fresh cranberries, lemon wheels and rosemary sprigs, for garnish In a 16-cup (4 L) container, stir all ingredients except garnishes. Refrigerate to chill for 3 hours. When ready to serve, transfer to dispenser or bowl. Add cubed ice. For each serving add 5 oz (150 ml) to punch glass over cubed ice. Garnish with cranberries, lemon and rosemary.

MISTLETOE MOMENTS 1½ oz (45 ml) Victoria Distillers Empress 1908 Cocktail Gin 1 tbsp (15 ml) cranberry sauce ½ oz (15 ml) Simple Syrup * ¾ oz (22 ml) fresh lemon juice 2 dashes aromatic bitters 3 sprigs mint (save 1 for garnish)

ingredient in Mistletoe Moments

fresh cranberries and a lemon twist, for garnish


Serves 17

In a cocktail shaker with cubed ice, combine gin, cranberry sauce, Simple Syrup, lemon juice, bitters and 2 mint sprigs. Shake vigorously and fine strain over cubed ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with fresh cranberries, a lemon twist and a sprig of fresh mint.

* To make Earl Grey tea, steep 6 Earl Grey tea bags in 4½ cups (1 L + 125 ml) boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and set aside to cool. ** To make Rosemary Honey Syrup, in a small saucepan, combine ¾ cup (180 ml) boiling water with 3 sprigs rosemary. Simmer for 5 minutes. Strain out rosemary, reserve liquid and rinse saucepan. In same saucepan, stir ½ cup (125 ml) rosemary water and 1 cup (250 ml) honey. Allow to cool before using. *** This cranberry juice is not blended with other juices or added sugar. It is more intensely flavoured and tart than cranberry blend options.

Great drinks start with Empress 1908 Cocktail Gin. This crystal-clear gin allows for creativity when supported by a complex array of juniper, florals and spices distilled from 10 unique botanicals.

* 1:1 ratio of granulated sugar dissolved in boiling water. Allow to cool before using.




ingredient in BC Celebration

NÜTRL VODKA BC $34.49 897033 Small batches are

double-distilled from BC-grown rye grain to create a vodka with a high level of purity and a clean, smooth, neutral taste on the palate.

ingredient in BC Celebration


SPARKLING ROSÉ BC VQA $19.99 108875 This angelic rosé has notes of strawberry, kiwi and orange blossom on the nose. Blessed with charismatic bubbles, this sparkler is delicate yet rich in texture.

BC CELEBRATION ¼ oz (7.5 ml) orange flower water ¾ oz (22 ml) NÜTRL Vodka ½ oz (15 ml) organic 100% pure cranberry juice (not from concentrate) * ¼ oz (7.5 ml) Simple Syrup ** 2 oz (60 ml) Saintly The Good Sparkling Rosé cranberries/orange twist, for garnish Pour orange flower water into flute, swirl and discard excess. In mixing glass with cubed ice, combine vodka, juice and Simple Syrup. Stir to chill and dilute, then strain into flute, top with sparkling wine. Garnish as desired. * This cranberry juice is not blended with other juices or added sugar. It is more intensely flavoured and tart than cranberry blend options. ** 1:1 ratio of granulated sugar dissolved in boiling water. Allow to cool before using.



2024 Vancouver International Wine Festival


by Daenna Van Mulligen

Described as “the largest event of its kind in the Americas” and “Canada’s premier wine show.”

T he wine world returns to Vancouver from February 24 to March 3, 2024. Celebrating its 45 th year, the annual Vancouver International Wine Festival (VIWF) is a moveable feast of wine, food and culture. Described as “the largest event of its kind in the Americas” and “Canada’s premier wine show,” the VIWF continues to entice some of the globe’s top producers who revel in sharing their wares with eager trade and consumer attendees participating in the week’s 40 unique events. Italy Takes Centre Stage This year, roughly half of the anticipated 150 wineries attending will be from the theme region of Italy. With Italy being the centre of attention, the wine festival welcomes Filippo Bartolotta as its keynote speaker. Bartolotta, who lives in Florence, Tuscany, has been in the wine business for 25 years. Today he is a wine educator and speaker and the Italian correspondent for The Drinks Business —a European wine, spirits and beer trade publication. Bartolotta hopes to share his enthusiasm for his homeland. “Italy has been at the centre of wine production for a few thousand years. Italy isn’t one country but rather a puzzle of many cultural and geographical identities, which go from the southernmost locations near

Africa…all the way up to the Alps close to Austria.” He continues, “The geological and climatic matrix is mesmerizing and the result in the glass today is reflecting these extraordinary differences.” With over 300 Italian wines being poured this year, we will undoubtedly get a solid sense of what Bartolotta is referring to. Events to Educate & Entertain The dazzling Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, which launches at the opening of festival week on February 24, is the jewel in the wine festival crown, but the most highly anticipated and attended events are the International Festival Tastings in the Tasting Room at the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC). More than 700 wines will be available to sample over three days. Aside from a strong presence from Italy, Canada and the United States, attendees will also be able to taste wines from Spain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Croatia, Greece and Japan. Additionally, decadent wine-paired dinners, lunches, brunches and more casual minglers will be peppered across city venues, while seated wine seminars will take place at the VCC. Harry Hertscheg, VIWF’s executive director elaborates, “Out-of-province winery principals, sommeliers and other trade professionals

attending the wine festival often remark how supportive and engaged our wine community is. Since 1979, VIWF has evolved in collaboration with hospitality communities, passionate volunteers and wine lovers, BCLIQUOR and our charitable partner—originally the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company and now Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival… Our province’s strong, knowledgeable wine culture is the outcome.” New & Unique Wines If you’re a regular VIWF attendee, Hertscheg wants you to know you’re still in for a treat: “Year in and year out, and again this year, over a quarter of the participating wineries are new to the wine festival, and about three-quarters of the wines available in the Tasting Room are not regular listed products. So, if you’re looking to discover and taste unique wines you’ve never tried before, VIWF is your best opportunity.” “And just when you thought it couldn’t get better, all the wines are available for sale at the on-site BCLIQUOR store and can be shipped to your local store anywhere in the province at no charge. So much to get excited about!” Advance tickets for the VIWF go on sale on Wednesday, November 15, followed by tickets for the winery dinners, which will be available on Wednesday, January 3. Tickets for all remaining public events go on sale on Wednesday, January 10.



UNIQUENESS IN CHIANTI CLASSICO “Fragrant and delicious, this lovely red opens with aromas of ripe plum, violet, new leather and spice. Smooth and elegantly structured, the linear palate features juicy Marasca cherry, blood orange and licorice before finishing on a hint of tobacco. Taut, refined tannins provide support.” — Kerin O’Keefe

Wine Enthusiast 94 POINTS





MEDICI ERMETE CONCERTO LAMBRUSCO REGGIANO Italy $21.99 571968 This sparkling red from Emilia-Romagna delivers pomegranate, maraschino cherry, rose petal and star anise aromas. It is fizzy, singular and fresh with a creamy mousse.

DI MONTALCINO Italy $64.99 139220 Here is a classic Tuscan beauty. It is silky, complex and elegant with notes of cherry woven with licorice, dried roses and pipe tobacco.

Tasting Room Tips


Make sure you eat before a tasting; even if you are only sampling small amounts of wine, best not to do it on an empty stomach. Make a plan. It’s not possible to taste all the wines in the room. Decide ahead which winery tables you absolutely want to visit, and go there first. Spit! There are always spit buckets provided. Use them, and you can taste more. Engage. The winery representative is there for a reason. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the wine in your glass.

GÉRARD BERTRAND ORANGE GOLD LANGUEDOC ROUSSILLON France $31.99 456710 From southern France, this blend of seven white varieties expresses honey-laced tea, quince jelly and apricot aromas. It has a slick texture and long finish.

PHANTOM CREEK CABERNET FRANC BC VQA $41.99 90203 Hailing from Oliver, this savoury Cabernet Franc delivers currant, black chocolate, graphite and espresso aromas. It is supple yet muscular.


Monopolize the table. Get your sample and ask your question; then step back to allow others an opportunity. Wear fragrance. It affects your own sense of smell and the sense of smell of those around you.

ROBERT MONDAVI NAPA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON USA $59.99 255513 A classic and substantial Napa Valley Cabernet offering purple berries, spice, graphite and mocha. It is a superb example of the variety with notable persistence.

EL PETIT BONHOMME JUMILLA TINTO Spain $17.99 169383 This fragrant blend of Monastrell, Syrah and Garnacha packs a punch of cherry, strawberry, violets and baking spice aromas. It’s generous and fresh.



For more information about the VIWF and a list of participating wineries, see page 106.

Appie Holidays

Ornamental Cheese


LARA VICTORIA Lara Victoria, DipWSET, CSW, is a WSET Certified Educator. Her training as a chef, along with her extensive qualifications in wines, spirits and sake, make her a credible expert in food pairings. She teaches, judges and writes on these subjects internationally and is a hospitality consultant. See her work on www.laravictoria.com and follow her @laravictoria.cheers.

Salmon Crisps

pairs with Holiday Appies

pairs with Holiday Appies

pairs with Holiday Appies

QUAILS’ GATE ROSÉ BC VQA $21.99 170316 Vibrant and

VEUVE DU VERNAY BRUT France $18.99 209023 This well-priced sparkler is cheerful and easy-going, with lemon peel, apple, pear and almond flavours wrapped in velvety bubbles. Perfect for pairing with holiday entertaining and cheese platters.

SAINTLY THE GOOD RED BC VQA $21.99 262092 The newest addition to Saintly is a light- bodied red blend that’s dry, fresh and fruity. Ripe cherry, juicy raspberry and fresh cranberry notes dominate with a backbone of bracing acidity. Definitely a crowd-pleaser.

refreshing, this fruit- forward rosé delights the palate with red berries and tangerine flavours. The bracing acidity of the wine entices you to reach for another bite of salmon appetizers.



for recipes, see index on page 108



pairs with Holiday Appies

OYSTER BAY SAUVIGNON BLANC New Zealand $20.99 316570

Consistent and crowd- pleasing, Oyster Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc never disappoints. This wine displays an attack of crisp acidity with Makrut lime and green herbaceous undertones, perfect to complement pesto appetizers.

pairs with Holiday Appies


This Chardonnay is like crème brûlée in a glass! It offers butterscotch, nutmeg and warm oak flavours on a rich and creamy textured palate that is balanced by crisp lemony acidity. A match made for entertaining.

pairs with Holiday Appies

OLÉ COCKTAIL TEQUILA VARIETY PACK Canada $29.99 467501 8 × 355 ml Perfect for the holidays, Olé’s ready-to-drink Margarita, Paloma and Chili Mango flavours are lightly sweetened with organic agave nectar and made with real juice. tequila cocktails in Tequila Sunrise,

Pesto Trees



for recipes, see index on page 108

A holiday potluck with the friends who really know how to dish.

From our family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful holiday together.


Turkey Brie Bites

'Nduja Puffs

pairs with Holiday Appies

pairs with Holiday Appies

HAHN PINOT NOIR USA $24.99 831099 This silky smooth, fruit-forward Pinot Noir has restrained aromas of cool slate followed by red cherry compote, allspice and earthy flavours on the palate. It pairs perfectly with turkey.

STRANGE FELLOWS TALISMAN WEST COAST PALE ALE BC $13.79 508739 4 × 473 ml Available year-round, this West Coast pale ale pays homage to those seeking good fortune and blessings from the Siren of the Seas. Enjoy this beer with all kinds of appetizers.

Did you know? Pronounced en-doo-ya, 'Nduja is a spreadable spicy pork sausage.



for recipes, see index on page 108

Gift Like a Star

T his holiday season, sprinkle stardust on your gifting strategy with celebrity-inspired bottles of wine and spirits. Not only are these drinks endorsed by stars of the TV, movie, music and sports worlds, the celebrities are all personally involved in developing and promoting drinks that reflect their personal tastes. Whether you have a hockey, rap or reality TV fan on your gift list or you just love to gift premium bottles for holiday tasting and hosting, these ones will be displayed on home bars as proudly as any all-star trophy or performing award.

818 Tequila Reposado & Kendall Jenner

Whether they’ve coveted it on Kendall Jenner’s Instagram, saw it launched on Keeping Up with the Kardashians or have devoured paparazzi photos of it being poured at swanky parties, pop culture fans know about 818 Tequila. It’s named for the young model’s area code in LA’s San Fernando Valley. Jenner has a hands-on leadership role at 818, which is a certified B Corp, signifying high environmental and social standards. Make a premium margarita with this reposado; its super smooth texture comes from maturing it for up to three months in both French wine and American bourbon barrels.

818 REPOSADO TEQUILA Mexico $85.99 457595 Roasted vegetal notes of agave are smoothed by vanilla and toffee, finishing with dessert- like meringue, honey and nuts.

Photo by Nick Wiesner

Aviation American Gin & Ryan Reynolds

The story is written on the walls of Aviation American Gin’s Portland distillery. Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds tasted a life-changing Negroni at a hometown bar, leading him to take an ownership stake in its unforgettable gin. Even though Aviation is now owned by beverage company Diageo, Reynolds’ cheeky social media marketing through his company Maximum Effort still helps Aviation soar. With soft juniper notes and less astringency than London Dry-style gins, Aviation is perfect in negronis, gin and soda highballs, and of course, the sky-tinted Aviation cocktail (gin, lemon, maraschino liqueur and crème de violette).


A whiff of soft juniper and lavender meets bright juicy orange and creamy cardamon flavour in the glass, ending with a hint of anise.

Photo Courtesy of Diageo New York, NY


CHARLENE ROOKE Charlene Rooke is a drinks journalist and educator who teaches WSET spirits courses internationally, leads tastings and distillery tours and judges spirits competitions. She is the Academy Chair for the Canada West region of the World’s 50 Best Bars.

Maison No. 9 Rosé & Post Malone

It may surprise you to learn that musician Austin Richard Post (better known as Post Malone) is the celebrity behind this elegant rosé. He and two of his pals followed their passion for pink wine all the way to the south of France, where they tasted many grape varieties and more than 50 rosé blends with a famous winemaker before bottling Maison No. 9. “Rosé is for when you want to get a little fancy,” reads a quote from Malone on the wine’s website. In interviews, he’s said that the dry, grapefruity wine pairs with his favourite food: chicken fingers! Try it with charcuterie and cheese or a seafood raw bar.

MAISON NO. 9 ROSÉ France $29.99 107967 A pretty nose of strawberry,

watermelon and lemon zest delivers a crisp and dry rosé with lingering savoury, almost salty notes.

Photo by Adam Degross

Blackened American Whiskey & Metallica Many a heavy metal fan has been told their beloved music sounds like noise. The band Metallica worked with distilling, engineering and design experts on Blackened’s patent- pending Black Noise system, which blasts casks of aging whiskey with Metallica playlists. They say the sound waves create rich coconut, vanilla and butterscotch flavours. Blackened is a blend of bourbon and rye whiskeys, which harmonize through maturation in brandy casks. The spicy smooth whiskey really sings in a highball with ginger ale or a Manhattan.

BLACKENED AMERICAN WHISKEY USA $80.99 486363 Intense crème brûlée and spice notes on the approach turn to unexpectedly fresh mint on the palate, plus maple and apricot as the whiskey opens.

Photo Courtesy of Blackened American Whiksey



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