The Boreal Gunfire – Liquid Fortification
In our never-ending search for ways to warm one’s self in the long months of the Canadian winter we stumbled upon a rum (quite by accident I assure you), spiced with a blend Nordic spices and recreated a British Army classic, The Gunfire, in true colonial style. Tea, hot and black, a shot of Chic Choc Spiced Rum and a twist, we call it – The Boral Gunfire.
A form of ‘Dutch Courage’ in the rank-and-file of the British Army since to 1800’s, The Gunfire was a simple combination of black tea, fortified with a shot of rum, stirred in the mug and drunk down fast. Served at Christmas while on maneuvers, it became known as the Gunfire Breakfast. The Australian and New Zealand Armies followed suit, with their version; rum and black coffee. Even Queen Victoria had a take on this tradition, which she called Highland Tea; a bracing combination of scotch and tea guaranteed to help you face the drafty confines of Balmoral Castle on cold, damp Scottish mornings.
Classy right?! I mean, anytime you add something to tea, you have instant class. But we’re not exactly ‘pinky up’ tea drinkers, we’re more ‘grip-it-and-rip-it’ tea drinkers, and considering the rough-and-ready heritage of this bit of morale buttressing, all the better!
Local Quebec Spirits
Inspired by Chic Choc Spiced Rum, brewed in Quebec, I wanted a drink to highlight Chic Choc’s unusual combination of flavors and brown sugar notes, without masking what makes it special. Unlike other spiced rums flavored and fragranced with warm Indian spices (vanilla, cinnamon, clove) and deep, sugar tones; Chic Choc blends the Nordic spices of the Canadian Boreal forest for a completely unique, herbal, almost medicinal effect.
Tones of Peppery Green Alder, Pine Forest Spikenard, Whiterod Berries, Lovage Root, Sweet Gale Seeds and Wild Angelica combine in a completely unexpected elixir of purity and strength. It’s effect is almost peaty, somewhat wild and altogether captivating – like a rangy, boggy red beer, or a light whisky, but with amber-sugar undertones. And let’s be honest here, I had to look all that stuff up too (except for the lovage root, which was familiar from my medical and natural remedies reading).
More Rum? Add Raisins!
Chic Choc quickly became our rum of the holiday season; imbibing Mom’s Famous Buttertarts (to OMG heights, Mom would be so proud!), a dozen or so rum & cokes, a couple of hot toddies, the making of The Boreal Gunfire (to which I added a twist of lemon to highlight the natural spicing) and this weekend Chic Choc Rum will grace the Galette des Rois (Epiphany Cake of the Kings) with its own unique flavour.
Made in honor of those wodey-outdoorsy adventurous spirits, and made after a mountain for Godsakes, it’s as Canadian as boiling tree sap! Now available outside Quebec’s SAQ stores (thus my touting and raving endorsement). Readers can find it in select LCBO stores across Ontario and it’s one to watch for in other parts of Canada, coming soon. Chic Choc Spiced Rum is quickly snapping up gold medals in spirits competitions and folks like me are proclaiming it’s merits from roof tops, so prepare yourself.
“Drinkin’ rum before 10am makes you a pirate, not an alcoholic.” – Earl Dibbles Jr.
“Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg… zzz… zzzzzzzzzz.” – Gypsy. PS: I’m pretty sure napping is not the effect the army was going for.
- 1 cup strong, brewed black tea (like Darjeeling)
- 1 shot Chic Choc Spiced Rum
- Rub the rim of the mug with a twist of lemon zest, then splash it in.
- Stir and sip. Or toss it straight back and make yourself another soldier.
- It's cold out there. You're in good company. Add sugar if you're feeling particularly woosey.