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5 Northern Drinks That Pair Well With Aurora Viewing

A person watches the Northern lights Aurora at  Blachford Lake lodge in the NWT.  Photo M. Gebrovska

5 Northern Drinks That Pair Well With Aurora Viewing

An unforgettable night under the world’s best Aurora is never complete without the perfect drink to enjoy with it. Don’t let an empty mug spoil your night with the Northern Lights, be sure to enjoy these 5 drinks any time you’re out under the lights in the NWT.

Spruce tips_ Shutterstock image

Spruce tip tea

For a couple of weeks in May, the NWT’s population of spruce trees undergo their spring growth spurt, and keen-eyed foragers begin collecting the lime-green sprouts. These spruce tips are sought out by the culinary-minded because the pine-tasting tips pack a real punch - making them perfect for all sorts of uses including traditional spruce tip tea.

Zesty and fresh, nothing feels more authentically Northern than sipping a hot cup of tea brewed with hand-picked spruce tips under the dazzling display of the Northern Lights. If you’re an experienced forager, there is almost no end to your tea possibilities with the variety of plants that grow out on the land across the territory.

Not interested in foraging? Laughing Lichen, based here in the NWT, provides a wide variety of teas with ingredients native to the North. You’re also likely to find a number of locally-sourced teas in markets and local shops across the territory.

Barren ground coffee int he Northwest territories.  Photo credit Jean Polfu and Barren Ground Coffees

Barren Ground coffee

Whether you’re preparing for a long night of Aurora hunting or want a pick-me-up the morning after your exciting night under the dancing Northern lights, a rich and roasted treat from the NWT’s Barren Ground Coffee is exactly what you need.

Staring contemplatively into a fresh cup of coffee is the best way to reminisce in the deep silence that follows a truly remarkable experience with the Aurora, and the feeling of a warm mug in your hands while staring upwards in awe is a memory you won’t soon forget.

Sap sucker birch syrup form the Northwest territories.  photo by R. davies

Birch Syrup Cocktails

Looking to refine your Northern Lights experience or bring an exciting new cocktail to your next Aurora watching get-together? Experiment with Birch Syrup in your next cocktail or mocktail! Birch syrup can replace maple syrup for a slightly different flavour to the discerning mixologist. The bitter-yet-sweet caramel-tasting syrup is collected in the springtime, a process that has been passed down through generations. Delight your tastebuds with this simple recipe while your eyes enjoy the dance of the Aurora above.

Sapsucker Birch Syrup—harvested from a picturesque stand of birch trees just off the Ingraham Trail near the Dene community of Dettah—is sold in bottles at stores and farmer’s markets across the territory. 

NWT Brewing Co. In Yellowknife NWT.  photo by A Pisani

NWT Brewing Company Beer

Hot drinks are perfect for the colder months during the winter Aurora season, but don’t discount the experience of enjoying a lake-side craft beer around a campfire while the weather is warm and the fall Aurora is in full swing. Here, NWT Brewing Company has your needs covered. Available in liquor stores across the territory or at its brewery and restaurant in Yellowknife, you’re sure to find a new favourite on tap with their collection of staples and seasonal rotations.

Often inspired by flavours found naturally across the territory, NWT Brewing Company beers are mainstays in the cooler of anybody leaning back in a folding chair to look skyward at the Northern Lights. Take a minute and enjoy the quiet clinks of people cheersing around the fire as you sit in the splendour of the Aurora.  

A person has some a drink at Yellowknife River in the NWT

Mulled Wine

A staple at any gathering during the colder months of the year, nothing warms your hands or your soul quite like a steamy mug of mulled wine. Typically a festive drink in other parts of the country, here it is not uncommon to be greeted by its warm spiced smell for any occasion. Aurora tour operators will often provide it as a soothing respite from the cold while you’re waiting for the Northern Lights to appear, or as a delightful nightcap after a successful Aurora hunting trip.

Best of all? It’s simple to make yourself - whether you’re enjoying the Northern Lights in private or looking to take your tastebuds down memory lane long after your spectacular night under the dancing Aurora is over.

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