I drank fewer liqueurs and cocktails at this year's Gourmet Food & Wine Expo than I did in the past couple of years, but here's what I sampled at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Nov. 20 to 23.
Amaro Lucano is an Italian aperitif made with a blend of more than 30 herbs that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a cocktail. I tried an Amore Amaro cocktail made with the aperitif, elderflower liqueur and grapefruit juice, and garnished with an orange slice. It had a pleasing orange-red colour and its mix of herb and citrus was quite refreshing.
Jack Daniels' Winter Jack Apple Whiskey Punch is a 15-per cent alcohol liqueur with a lovely mix of apple, cinnamon and clove in its aroma and flavour. I first tried it over ice and then heated. I preferred the former, but either way it makes a comforting winter sipper.
Forty Creek Cream Liquor blends fresh dairy cream with Forty Creek Whisky to create a rich and smooth drink with just the right amount of sweetness when served over ice. I would definitely enjoy this 17-per cent alcohol liqueur with coffee as well. Be patriotic and give this to a Baileys drinker, knowing that you're supporting a Canadian distillery while you're doing it.
Dr. McGillicuddy's Apple Pie is extremely sweet, but with a cinnamon zing. This is too sweet for me on its own, but I think I might like it if it was paired with the same company's Fireball Cinnamon Whisky.
I can't really classify MerloCola as a cocktail, but I'll include it anyway because it will have a segment of the market to itself when it hits LCBO shelves for $9.95 a bottle in February. It's comprised of 70 per cent Merlot wine combined with cola and is inspired by a Spanish cocktail called the Calimocho. There's a balance between the bitterness of the wine and the sweetness of the cola, but I had no desire to have another one after being given a glass of it.