I am a proud Canadian, but I didn’t start saying it, or even realizing it until more recently.
I used to think Canada lacked “culture” and the romanticism of European countries like France, Italy, and Spain. Canada is often seen by the international community as sort of the dorky cousin, big and awkward, constantly apologizing for everything, lacking a backbone or edge.
But with so much tragedy, political and social unrest and injustices, and inhumane behaviour spanning the globe, more and more I am realizing, and am truly grateful for, the many blessings and gifts living in Canada has afforded me. Yes, we have our problems. Yes, the political system here isn’t always ideal. Yes, our healthcare system has an endless array of flaws. But we HAVE universal healthcare, and we have for the most part, leaders who at least acknowledge the incredible diversity of inhabitants that make up the gorgeous mosaic that IS our Canadian culture. We have innovators and artists, creators, and cultivators. And if that isn’t a recipe for “culture” than I don’t know what is.
Of course I could lay out a long list of notable Canadians and contributors to society, or even the goods and inventions that were born from our belly, but instead today I celebrate the beauty and abundance of our land, the relative safety and peace so many Canadian citizens are afforded, the awe-inspiring diversity of not only our physical spaces, but also our communities and individuals, and the rich history of the aboriginal peoples who lived, loved, and cultivated this land long before settlers arrived. Once again, I know we have current issues and historical devastations. There is still so much work that has to be done to undo the damage of colonialism. There is still so much work that has to be done to protect our natural spaces. There is poverty and unemployment, and housing issues, and political frustrations, but there’s no place in the world I’d rather call my home-base, and no nationality I’d rather refer to myself as other than "Canadian".
With that little rant of Canadian-pride in mind, I thought I’d introduce you to my most recent cocktail creation...The Canadiana G+T.
While the Gin and Tonic is a British invention, I’ve included some twists and turns from the classic to make it a tad more local-feeling...
The gin is from a distillery in Shirley BC, about an hour's drive from my hometown of Victoria on Vancouver Island.
The tonic is made by a collaboration between two other BC-based companies, Phillips Brewery, and Silk Road Tea, and has infusions of lavender, rose hip, lemongrass and orange peel, which as they say “offers a sophisticated depth of flavour that’s refreshingly approachable.” Couldn’t agree more!
Some muddled raspberries give it a decidedly “Canadian” red hue (they’re also in season throughout many parts of the country at this time of year), and the charred cedar bitters by another Canadian company, Black Cloud, provides a subtle nod to the abundance of cedar trees that span our vast country, so honoured and revered by the indigenous peoples of this land.
Finally, I couldn't resist tossing in a a little bit of maple syrup, which offer some much-welcomed sweetness for mid-summer celebrations.
Cheers to Canada, and cheers to all my fellow Canadians!
*Makes one cocktail
- 1-2 ounces Sheringham Gin
- 2-3 tsp pure maple syrup
- A few fresh raspberries
- A few drops of Black Cloud Charred Cedar bitters
- About ½ cup Phillips Philosopher’s Brew Tonic (depending on how big your glass is and how strong you like your cocktails)
- A few cubes of ice
- Optional: Sprig of rosemary for garnish
- In a rocks glass of choice, muddle your strawberries and add a few cubes of ice.
- Pour in the gin, maple syrup, and a couple drops of the bitters to taste.
- Top off your glass with the tonic, give it a quick stir, and garnish with rosemary, or simply enjoy as is!