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Mother’s Day Cocktail & Chocolate Hour

love a good team up and this Mother’s Day weekend we attended one that paired artisan cocktails with small batch chocolate so well. This was the one day only, Mother’s Day cocktail & chocolate hour. Hosted by Univins Wine and Spirits, held at Legacy Liquor store’s event space.

This was a private event and ticket holders were welcome in with a glass of Lulu Spritz’s canned cocktails in either their orange blossom or lemon. The latter has been compared to an Aperol Spritz, but I would say it is leagues better with a more natural orangey zest coming through. The lemon is like the tart, fresh squeezed lemonades you get at the country fair, but boozy and more mellowed out.

The space was set up for standing room only with tables and counters for guests to perch up on.

Behind the bar we had North Side Fresh cocktail company mixing up their custom creations. On the menu were three very different cocktails, each paired with its own chocolate side.

The first was “ Rose by the Ocean”, a play on James Bond’s Vesper cocktail. A stiff martini that gives you the scent of roses in bloom, before you take in a sip of its botanical citrus mix. Mixed with Gold Stream Distillery’s vodka from Victoria Island, and Seventh Heaven gin, also from Canada.

With drink in hand, you then head to the other side of the room where, Oenomel Chocolate had a table with samples set up. These are all chocolates hand made, locally in North Vancouver, by a one woman team.

She and our bartender of the day collaborated for all the pairings. The goal was not to have drink over shadow chocolate or vice versa, but to come up with a partnership that elevated both. Case in point, our “Rose by the Ocean” paired with Oenomel’s signature Rose Caviar Bonbon. A milk chocolate shell coating a white chocolate mousse with handmade pearls of rose water, beet juice, and collagen powder. There is no other chocolate on the market like this; between its health benefits and its unique texture and make up. The enjoyment really comes from the way it melts in your mouth and the feeling of each pearl as it passes over your tongue. Coupled with an enjoyable creamy flavour that isn’t too sweet.

We attempted to get a second bonbon, only to learn that it was limited to one per person today, so were forced to buy a box on the spot.

We had more cocktail than chocolate, even with tiny rationing bites. And once you had the two together it really wasn’t the same just cocktail as is. We were allowed to pair what remained with the chocolate bar pieces available for sampling, however they just didn’t match the same.

Here, we dug into Oenomel Chocolate’s aroma therapy bars. Chocolates infused with superfoods and well known botanicals for health and wellness benefits. We had the Maca Rose bar that promised love, energy, and balance. It features Maca root, a super fruit known for its ability to balance hormones and therefore increase libido if taken consistently. It was coupled with rose essential oils for a more mild rose essence, all wrapped up in bitter chocolate. The bitterness of the chocolate ran parallel to the flavour of the rose. Although I didn’t find it all that complimentary to a cocktail that was already bold and bitter.

We then returned to the bar for our second cocktail, “Blue Suede Shoes” a purple drink made with blueberry juice, Chambord, egg whites, and Stoli vodka in their blueberry flavour. This was juicy from the berries and sweet from the egg white. Given a touch of flair with drops of angostura bitters.

The chocolate pairing was another aromatherapy bar: lavender with dark chocolate. Lavender is known to calm so the bar promised to help with feelings of anxiety and depression. The contrasting sweetness of the fruit cocktail and the bitter and earthy flavours of the floral balances one another out for a juicy and jammy combination. It reminded us of a blueberry pie on the patio.

The last cocktail was my favourite. One I have had a sample of at a previous event North Side Fresh bartended at. This was the Bellevue Maple with the natural flavour and sweetness of maple. It reminded me of a warm baked, oatmeal sandwich cookie with a maple cream centre. The name comes from small town in Quebec, known for its maple. Sortilège whisky, Kahlua in salted caramel, and Disaronno.

This was final sweet Canadian cocktail and chocolate to end the series. The intended pairing for this was Oenomel’s strawberry hazelnut bar, where the soft milk chocolate and ripe berry made for excellent bedmates.

For a contrasted pairing we tried our maple cocktail with the sea salt caramel chocolate. The saltiness of the chocolate really perked things up, but I prefer the intended coupling above.

In closing, this was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, exploring new spirits and supporting local businesses. I always say such pop up events are better than any cocktail from a regular restaurant or bar. You get character and an experience that cannot be replicated.

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