Divine Drink

By: Lisa Kadane, Calgary Hearld

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then surely downing a daily Diving Ambrosia will add years to your life. That was my thought as I sipped this delicious martini at Rouge last week, when B.C. Tree Fruits was in town promoting Okanagan apples.

The concoction, which headlines Rouge's new cocktails menu, tastes like the drink of the Greek gods: liquid Ambrosia apples enhanced with high-end vodka, elderflower liqueur and rhubarb soda for added tartness and fizz.

Heavenly on first sip, it approached sublime as the evening progressed. It's so good it simply must be good for you (after all, apples contain dietary fibre and antioxidants, as the B.C. Tree Fruits folks were happy to inform those in attendance).

Rouge manager and mixologist Andy MacDonald was charged with creating a pomme-based drink for the event. He chose to use the juice of Ambrosia apples because they are less sweet than traditional varieties. "(The Ambrosia) actually has a really neat pear-like flavour to it," he said, adding you could sub in store-bought apple juice, or even organic Ceres pear juice, but "it's not going to taste this good."

The Divine Ambrosia fits in with the award-winning restaurant's overall food philosophy - it strives to use the best ingredients and partners with local (or neighbouring B.C.) food growers where possible. Look for it alongside five other new cocktails including a vegetable-infused gin-based Caesar, and a Lumiere-Rouge made with vodka, Chambord, Framboise and cranberry juice.

I particularly like the sound of the Guyana Getaway, Rouge's take on a Moscow Mule that uses 15-year-old El Dorado rum from Guyana (instead of vodka) and ginger beer from Canmore's Grizzly Paw pub. The new cocktail offerings, all priced at $11, debuted Feb. 27.

Though I can't vouch for the health benefits of Rouge's other creative libations, I'm sure they'll make you ooze vitality - like Zeus himself - if only for a night.

Divine Ambrosia
2 oz. freshly pressed BC Tree Fruits Ambrosia apples
1 oz Zubrowska Bison Grass Vodka
1/2 oz St-Germain Elderflower liqueur
2 oz float of dry rhubarb soda

Combine apple juice, vodka and elderflower liqueur, shake with ice and strain into a martini glass.
Float the rhubarb soad on top then garnish with an aged cheddar cheese crisp or an Ambrosia apple slice (optional).