Co-ferments. Pét-nats (sparkling wine). Vinous ciders. Hopped meads. Cannabis beers.
By combining the familiar into a new batch of beverages, these alcoholic and non-alcoholic “hybrids” are reimagining what we drink.
At the front of the Canadian hybrid pack is Tariq Ahmed’s passion project Revel Cider, in Guelph, which blends its naturally fermented wines with zero-added-sugar fruit ciders, “enhancing the fruit notes of each grape,” he says. For red-wine fans, there’s Olo (wine made from Zweigelt grapes and strawberry cider) or Winkle (De Chaunac wine and cherry cider); Soma is a natural sparkler that finishes fermenting in the bottle (a pétillant naturel, nicknamed “pét-nat”), made from apples instead of grapes.
Similarly, Pombucha blends Ontario Honeycrisp apple cider and kombucha, turning the fermented tea drink into a tropical-tasting cocktail. A Canadian crop of rosé ciders use pink wine, berries or both to create love-child drinks like Brickworks Ciderhouse Rosé Cider, Shiny Apple Rosé, Cowbell Rosé Cider, Lost Craft Dry Rosé cider and the Ernest Rosé Light Cider Spritzer.
So-called pastry beers go beyond pumpkin spice, brewing up dessert flavours like Whitewater Brewing Co.’s Peanut Butter Shake, Killer Cupcake Panda from Flying Monkeys, and Muskoka and Mill Street breweries’ Key Lime Pie beers. Fans of beer or fermented-honey brew can sip the best of both worlds in Feels Like Friday’s Hopped Buckwheat Session Mead.
For a caffeine kick, try Little Buddha Cocktail Co.’s certified organic Peach Tea or Freed Earth’s vodka-spiked Green Tea with Honey. Wolfhead Coffee Whisky Liqueur or Kavi Reserve Coffee Blended Canadian Whisky can both take your espresso martinis to the next level.
Brimming with just as much innovation, but no alcohol, are hybrids like champagne-inspired Silver Swallow, a sparkling kombucha named for the rare white tea from which it’s made. Bedfellows non-alcoholic beers, like Haus Mates lager and Indie Pals IPA, get their kick from cannabis, with from 7.5 to 10 milligrams of THC per bottle.
The ideal big-batch drink for entertaining, sangria is a hybrid of wine and fruit flavours that’s made simple with these two-ingredient recipes. Fill a drink dispenser or pitcher with the well-chilled mix plus fresh or frozen fruit slices and berries. Serve sangria in goblets or glasses full of ice topped with a bit of soda water, garnished with more fruit.
1 bottle fruity red wine + 1 473-mL can Stiegl radler (any citrus flavour)
1 bottle white wine + 1 355-mL can Palm Bay (any fruit flavour)
Low-alcohol sparkling sangria:
1 bottle prosecco or cava + 1 can San Pellegrino soda (blood orange or pomegranate-orange for vibrant sangria, lemon or grapefruit for a pale one)