Although I usually try to focus my liquor reviews on products we bought on holidays, we have some interesting products made locally as well. Some of them might even be considered “exotic” to people living outside of Canada. So this is one of those reviews!
My husband and I came across this bottle at a local liquor store in Edmonton a few years ago. Simply called “Saskatoon Berry Liquor,” it should be pretty obvious what the main flavouring ingredient is.
Saskatoons are native to North America and look somewhat similar to blueberries, but are smaller. Saskatoons are known by several names, including serviceberry, shadbush, western juneberry, or pigeon berry. The word saskatoon is believed to have come from a Cree word: misâskwatômina, and the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is named after the berry.
The berries have a slightly nutty flavour and are high in antioxidants, magnesium, iron, fiber and protein. So this is practically a health tonic.
Lazy K Berry Products was the manufacturer, located in Water Valley, Alberta, just Northwest of Calgary. I was unable to find a website for them, unfortunately. A quick search on the Liquor Connect website also didn’t generate any results for this liquor, leading me to believe that it is no longer in production. It’s too bad, because it’s quite a nice treat. I wish we had opened it sooner! We just weren’t quite sure what to do with it after we bought it.
When poured, the liquor has a lovely deep burgundy-red colour:
The alcohol smell is a little bit strong but not overpowering. The fruity fragrance reminds me of plum wine, or even cassis, but not as heavy.
But how does it taste?
Again, the alcohol is somewhat at the forefront, giving a warming sensation. It’s not syrupy or overly sugary, though it does have a sweetness. The alcohol is strong, but it’s quite smooth and doesn’t burn on the way down. The flavour isn’t as berry-sweet as cassis, and again, reminds me more of a plum wine, or even Slivovice from the Czech Republic, but without the smokey overtones. It’s an easy sipper on its own. But, as we found out, it’s also REALLY good poured over vanilla ice cream!
The bottle has a recipe for a Saskatoon Frozen Daiquiri, which goes:
1 1/2 ounce Saskatoon Berry Delight (perhaps another name this liquor used to go by?)
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce lime juice
Top up with ice.
Or, you can try the recipe my husband came up with. We both loved it! We didn’t come up with a name for it, so I’ll just call it Mark’s Saskatoon Surprise Cocktail! If you can’t find saskatoon liquor anywhere, you can certainly substitute blueberry liquor, or, try it with cassis but use a lighter hand, since cassis can be quite sweet:
1 ounce saskatoon (or blueberry) liquor
1 ounce gin
1/2 cup crushed ice
top off with tonic water
Luckily we still have a lot of this liquor left, although now that we’ve discovered this gin-based cocktail it will start to disappear fast!