Cocktails That Add a Splash of Colour to Happy Hour

Ungava Gin Grapefruit Tonic

Summer is well behind us, but that doesn't mean you can't brighten up happy hour with a few colourful cocktails. Photo: Courtesy of Ungava

What’s trending in the spirits and libations world? It’s like a rainbow.

We’re all trying to keep in high spirits during these interesting times – to say the least – where we can, and sometimes that means enjoying a little tipple after the work day is done. 

There’s a movement toward coloured spirits and wines (we’re not talking rosé here either), which have us smiling and experimenting with old classics that are becoming new favourites. We’re happy to report that some of the best are made right here in Canada. 

Have a little bit of fun while you’re sipping and try one of these new, colourful ideas next time you’re in the mood for entertaining or just taking it easy.


Amber: Black Cellar Blend No. 8 Amber Wine 

Black Cellar Amber Wine
Photo: Courtesy of Black Cellar


Slow-pressed late harvest grapes aged in oak barrels create a unique blend of wine that gives off an autumn harvest feel. And the juice looks just as it says, all burnished amber. Subtly spicy, with hints of honey in its aroma and notes of pear and stone fruit on the palate pairs well with comfort foods like cheese boards and creamy pastas, with spicier foods such as curries and Moroccan cuisine. Last but not least, it’s a good sip to help finish off desserts like apple crumble or pumpkin pie. Black Cellar has outposts in Winona and Grimsby, Ont., along with Kelowna, B.C. and Truro, N.S., so truly a cross-country mash -up.


Blue: Empress Gin’s Cranberry 75

Empress Gin’s Cranberry 75
Photo: Courtesy of Empress 1908 Gin


A holiday twist on the classic Empress 75 (or French 75), featuring the tart, festive flavour of delicious cranberry.

1.5 oz Empress 1908 gin

0.5 oz lemon Juice

0.5 oz cranberry Juice

0.5 oz simple syrup (recipe below)

Sparkling wine (to top)

Fresh (or frozen) cranberries to garnish

Shake all ingredients but sparkling wine on ice and fine-strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with cranberries.

*For simple syrup, combine equal parts boiling water and white sugar in a pot or pour hot water into a mug with the sugar and stir until the sugar isn’t granulated anymore, and it is fully mixed into the water.


Gold: Ungava Gin Grapefruit Tonic

Photo: Courtesy of Ungava


Ice cubes

1.5 oz Ungava premium gin

2 oz tonic water

1 grapefruit wedge

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes. Add gin and tonic water. Stir well and garnish with a grapefruit wedge.


Black: Hounds Vodka Caesar

Hounds Vodka Caesar
Photo: Courtesy of Black Cellar


  • Lime wedge
  • Walter Caesar Rimmer
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 oz Hounds Black Vodka
  • 2 dashes hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
  • 1 dash Worcestershire or to taste
  • 0.5 oz lime juice
  • 8 oz clamato juice cocktail
  • Mini-pickles and olives

Wet the rim of a cocktail glass with the lime wedge; set lime aside for garnish. Place Walter Caesar Rimmer in a small dish and press rim of glass into the salt to coat. Add ice to the glass. Pour Hounds vodka, hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce over the ice; top with clamato juice. Garnish with lime wedge and mini pickles and olives.

Side note: Hounds has just introduced an even easier way to enjoy this made-in-Canada vodka. The company is now offering its RTD (that’s ready to drink to you and me) concoctions, Hounds Black Vodka Soda with three flavours: Cucumber Mint, Clementine Hibiscus and Guava Lime. The black hue comes from the distillers’ infusion of fulvic minerals and humic acids. This mineral-infused vodka soda with a smooth finish and comes in at five per cent alcohol.