Sipping With Smoth: Sangria Sessions and Cigar Bars in Montreal


SI Sangria

Occasionally, you have some alcohol throughout your day. Other times, you have some day throughout your alcohol. Last summer, on a trip to Old Montreal with my close friend (and premier drinking buddy), we experienced a healthy dose of the latter scenario.

The weather was utterly flawless, the cobblestones sun-warmed, and the ladies sun-dressed as we proceeded to an open air, jazz/crepe joint for brunch. It may have only been 11am, but we were both hankering for some of the legendary Port Sangria the restaurant promised. Along with our crepes (I believe I had veal in mine) we began to dip into the viscous fruity cocktail that so perfectly amalgamated the summer day. After the third pitcher and a pleasant exchange with our incredibly handsome waiter, we left the restaurant to experience the city.
After a lovely tour of the old part of the city and the lake shore, it was high time to proceed back to our hotel and top up. Thankfully, we had a couple of enormous bottles of Unibroue’s Maudite (one of my favourite Quebec beers), which we tucked into. Listening to music, restoring our buzz, all while gazing out at the bustle of the city had a fantastic restoring effect.

By the time we had finished our beers it was nearly dinner time, so we donned our jackets and collared shirts, and preceded to the hotel bar, where we were each guaranteed a¬†free drink, courtesy of the hotel. I’m not sure exactly what we ordered, but somehow we ended up talking to a complete stranger, explaining to him we were reporters for the Toronto Star covering the jazz festival that was going on (an utter falsehood). Eventually we parted with our new friend and headed to the restaurant we had booked, a little sodden, but looking forward to a good meal.

I’m sure the meal was excellent, although I cant remember it precisely. I do remember my friend having a brief nap at the table in between some glasses of excellent red wine. The courtyard we dined in was softly candlelit, and between the booze and the setting I remember the occasion as if it were a dream. Needless to say, our entree was followed by a few cups of stiff coffee, which served to perk us up for the remainder of the evening.

Finally, we ended up at Stogies Cigar Bar, a great lounge with a walk in humidor and a rooftop patio. After some consultation with the resident tobacco expert, we settled on a couple of Monte Cristo ‘Open’¬†cigars, which we paired with Remy Martin VSOP cognac. We sat for hours, looking over the city, smoking and sipping, calling to side-walkers and drivers alike. It’s possible we looked a tad ridiculous dressed in tweed, smoking Cuban cigars and sipping Cognac, but at the time it felt damn good. Truly an alcoholically amalgamated day that will go down in my personal history as some of the most sublime imbibing I’ve ever done.

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