Taste the Townships

Fine Local Aperitifs

Updated on Nov 1, 2023

This being the season welcoming all kinds of gathering, it’s the perfect time of year for me to propose some of my favourite drinks to enjoy as an aperitif. The Key? Lightness and simplicity.

By Marc-Antoine Bergeron

Piquette Orange, Vignoble Château de Cartes, Dunham

Historically, the term “piquette” refers to a low quality table wine. Nevertheless, this way of making “wine” is carried out using an ecological technique that gives a second life to grape marc, and allows the winemaker to offer us a totally new and different product. Stéphane Lamarre, winemaker and producer, kept his wonderful grape marc after pressing it to make his main wine. He then added apple juice to rehydrate the grape must. The end result is an absolutely perfect aperitif. This aromatic sparkling wine is very dry, light in alcohol, but its effervescence is less intense than Champagne or crémant. On the nose, we sense notes of blackberry, blueberry, apple and black cherry.

  • Pairs well with crunchy hors-d’œuvres.

Muse 2018, Léon Courville, Bromont

For me, a glass of bubbly is one of the best ways to start an evening, and Léon Courville’s Cuvée Muse does this very well. All the work put in by enologist Amélie Oustau, THE muse behind this product, is what makes it so extraordinary. Originally from the Champagne region of France, Amélie knows quite well how to create marvellous sparkling wines. This cuvée is elaborated entirely with Saint-Pépin grapes, which, in my opinion, is the perfect variety for producing sparkling wine in our region. Muse 2018 offers beautiful aromas such as citrus zest, white flowers and apples. Delicate and generous bubbles line the mouth with a hint of minerality.

  • Perfect for crunchy snacks and pairs especially well with oysters.

Aperitif Cider, Union Libre cidre & vin, Dunham

Union Libre’s Fire Cider is what placed this wine and cider producer on the radar in 2013. It’s obtained by reducing pressed apple juices through a heating process, and then slightly aging these juices in barrels. This produces a cider offering aromas of sweet spices, applesauce, nuts and caramel on the nose. It has a full-bodied texture and its fresh acidity keeps its length in the mouth at a maximum. The heat concentration provides a lower sugar content than ice ciders. I suggest drinking it on the rocks as an aperitif, or even as a super-simple, pleasant cocktail with a bit of a kick!


  • 2 oz Aperitif Fire Cider
  • ½ oz Le Lab ginger syrup.
  • 2 lime wedges.
  • Ice cubes.

Preparation : Pour the fire ice aperitif cider and the ginger syrup on the ice cubes, add lime wedges and stir.

Lab Val Caudalies Vermouth, Dunham

Snubbed a long time, Vermouth is now one of the most sought-after spirits, and has become a very important base for several cocktail recipes. The Val Caudalies vineyard offers us two options: the Sweet Vermouth and the Dry Vermouth. For those who prefer to drink their vermouth straight, I suggest the sweet version. Simply add a couple of ice cubes, to enjoy this fresh and complex wine-based aperitif. You’ll notice fruity and sweet spice aromas, as well as a sweetness in the mouth, a slight herbaceous feel and a hint of bitterness. It’s fresh and invigorating!

For those who prefer cocktails, I suggest you try their Dry Vermouth. Just as complex on the nose as the sweet version, it offers aromas of citrus, spices, vegetables and olives. Dry Vermouth has an interesting texture and is very dry on the palate. Perfect for creating your martinis.

Dirty Township

  • 1 ½ oz Lemay Vodka
  • 1 ½ oz Lab Val Caudalies dry Vermouth
  • 2 oz olive juice
  • 2 olives

Preparation : Place a couple of ice cubes in a tall glass. Add the vodka, vermouth and the olive juice. Stir with a spoon, then pour the mix in a martini glass with the help of a strainer. Decorate with two olives on a tooth pick.

Marc-Antoine Bergeron

A native resident and true lover of the Eastern Townships, Marc-Antoine has worked in the region’s restaurant business for more than twenty years. His love of the trade has inspired him to perfect his knowledge in sommellerie. Indeed, acquiring a wine expertise has been his passion for several years now, and even prompted him to enter and win the “Battle of the somm 2019” contest. Today, the wine and spirits field has become a full-time occupation for Marc-Antoine. Whether for restaurant businesses or for private sommelier services, he loves to share his knowledge and have people discover new wines. Follow him through his column to learn more about this fascinating world as you learn more about our fabulous local products and producers!
Visit his website

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