Cocktail of the Week: Cantaloupe Island

Need a break from all that autumnal pumpkin spice indoctrination? Yeah, same. The excellent thing about the bon vivant’s life we live is that our imaginations are easily transported through flavour. Today, we’re bringing you the spirit of vacation (one we’re probably all already lusting after) through our Cocktail of the Week. Say hi to Cantaloupe Island!

Hailing from Canmore’s culinary gem, änkôr, Cantaloupe Island is a deliciously refreshing, palate cleansing sip which… wait for it… comes with a popsicle sidecar. Admittedly, cocktail popsicles can be hit or miss, and rather often quite the gimmick, but änkôr serves up nothing but elegance from plate to glass. Besides, we really do love a swill that comes replete with a bonus treat. What, we ask, is a Gibson without an onion, or a Vesper without a selection of olives?

If you have the fortune of visiting Alberta’s effortlessly stunning Bow Valley, we recommend pulling up a stool at the gorgeous exposed brick bar and ordering this sip ahead of an indulgent tasting menu, but if that isn’t possible, perhaps it will inspire the home bartender in you to create something similar.

Recipe for cocktail called 'cantaloupe island'

Spirits from small-batch distillers really are the hot ticket in cocktail bars these days, so it is no surprise mixologist Joshua Frost opted for a local, Canmore-produced Alberta spirit. Small-batch as it may be, Wild Life are doing interesting things in the Rocky Mountains, especially with their gins, which have extensive flavour profiles. Here, the use of ex-bourbon barrel aged gin adds an additional layer of sweetness and candied orange to the blend, with the lillet providing depth and the the oat syrup adding a subtle sweet creaminess. A well-thought-out build from the time-honoured sour cocktail blend, we’re on board with the lime juice tease through the predominant lemon acid base. Shaking with a frozen juice is the perfect solution to dilution, allowing for a great chill and big flavour without watering down any of the elements. The poblano and herb popsicle can be enjoyed as a spicy flavour pairing between sips, or left to infuse as an additional layer to the cocktail. Sure, some things are best left simple — but we do love an interactive element to a drink when it adds depth. Here, the elements of the Cantaloupe Island are a tease of the intricacy you’ll find on chef Danny Beaulieu’s menu at änkôr.

Want a cheeky little fact to gobble up alongside your poblano popsicle? We got you. The first recipe for a gin sour appeared in 1862 in Jerry Thomas’ now painfully famous The Bartender’s Guide, which perpetuated the classic build of spirit, lemon and spoon full of sugar. Beyond that, like most of our favourite drinking habits, the humble sour allegedly has its routes in the British Navy. Something, something, scurvy; sailors mixed lemon, water and sugar to stave off death. The addition of alcohol just kinda made sense, y’know?

Happy sipping and see you next week!