Caribou: Offical Drink of the Quebec Winter Carnival

Mardi Gras is one last big party before everything shuts down for the 40 long days of Lent. In Quebec City, Mardi Gras is celebrated by a giant, mid-winter festival called the Quebec Winter Carnival.

Over a million people descend on Quebec City each year for Carnival. Activities range from canoe races through ice chunks on the river to ziplining over the frozen Plains of Abraham to watching the spectacular night parades. There’s also glittering ice sculptures, music, dancing and dozens of activities for kids.

The official drink of the Carnival is Caribou, a boozy mix of spiced red wine and hard liquor, sweetened with maple syrup. At the Quebec Winter Carnival, it’s typically drunk through the end of a hollow walking cane.

If you can’t get to Carnival this year, why not whip up a batch of Caribou at home and drink it while listening to the Quebec Winter Carnival song:

BTW #1: If you don’t feel like making it, you can always buy it from the SAQ.

BTW #2: If you want to go to a winter Marci Gras carnival but don’t want to drive to Quebec City, there’s a nice little one in Rigaud. I’ve not been, but I plan to check it out.

caribou

Caribou Drink

  • 5 cups red wine
  • 1 cup whisky, brandy or rum
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 2/3 cups orange juice (optional)

Mix wine and the alcohol. Add the cinnamon stick, the cloves and the peppercorns. Let sit for 2-3 days, depending on how much cinnamon taste you want.

Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves and peppercorns. Add the maple syrup and orange juice, if using.

Heat everything on a medium heat up to a simmer, then serve.

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