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Where to find rare spirits/alcohol in Montreal

siatris Jul 31, 2009 07:15 AM

I'm making cocktails, but the recipes I find often mention "apricot brandy" or "prune wine" or "Melocoton" or other rare/weird spirits. Most SAQ I visited have the bar basics (vodka, rum, Tequila) but that's pretty much it. Could anyone point me to a SAQ that's large or has a vast selection of spirits, or an independant place ? Thanks.

  1. m
    Mr F Jul 31, 2009 07:23 AM

    There are no independent options.

    Go to saq.com and search for what you need. If they carry it anywhere, you can get a list of outlets where it's in stock.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Mr F
      carswell Jul 31, 2009 08:47 AM

      «There are no independent options.»

      Not that it's likely to be of any use to the original poster, but there actually are some other options.

      Like wines and beers, spirits not carried by the SAQ can be purchased through the Quebec agent on a private import basis. You have to find out which agent (if any) represents the product. And you have to buy a case at a time.

      For products without a Quebec agent, the SAQ offers a private import service, which they claim to have recently streamlined. Again, conditions apply and the time between order and delivery can stretch to several months unless you're willing to pay big bucks for air freight. See "Private orders" on the Services page of www.saq.com

      Quebec producers make some brandies, eaux-de-vie, etc. that aren't carried by the SAQ. These can be purchased at the producer's establishment. A few are also carried by stores like Marché des saveurs at the Jean Talon Market.

      That said, for recherché stuff, your best bet is usually *importation valise* from NYC or, occasionally, Ontario.

      1. re: carswell
        m
        Mr F Jul 31, 2009 09:00 AM

        Thanks for reminding me of those other options. Was of course thinking in terms of "places where you can go shopping", which leaves the QC terroir stores.

        Re "Saveurs du marché" -- I think you're confusing the JTM and Atwater terroir stores. The one at JTM is Marché des Saveurs. There's a store in a similar vein at Atwater called Saveurs du marché or something very similar.

        For the OP: melocoton is the Spanish word for peach, so I suspect your recipe is calling for a particular brand of peach schnapps, which should be easy enough to substitute with another brand (SAQ carries Peachtree).

        1. re: Mr F
          carswell Jul 31, 2009 09:08 AM

          «Re "Saveurs du marché" -- I think you're confusing the JTM and Atwater terroir stores.»

          Right. Marché des Saveurs -- www.lemarchedessaveurs.com -- at the JTM. Les Délices du Marché at the Atwater Market. Have made the correction above.

          1. re: Mr F
            afoodyear Jul 31, 2009 11:32 AM

            To the OP - if you want a bottle of peach schnapps, my wife's parents left some here and I think it's vile, so you're welcome to half a bottle for free, if you wish :)

      2. TheSnowpea Jul 31, 2009 07:30 AM

        Mr F is right... and sometimes, you find what you were looking for in a smaller SAQ outside of Montreal. It depends on what the store managers have ordered from the central SAQ store and what they like themselves, above and beyond the basics they are expected to stock.

        1. c
          Campofiorin Jul 31, 2009 09:11 AM

          Your best bet would be SAQ Signature in Complexe les Ailes on Ste-Catherine almost on the corner of University.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Campofiorin
            Chocolatine Jul 31, 2009 09:33 AM

            Another tip: if the product you want it only available in another SAQ, just ask your local store to get it for you. Free and easy!

            1. re: Chocolatine
              carswell Jul 31, 2009 09:54 AM

              The SAQ used to do inter-outlet transfers as a matter of course. These days, not so much. Agents I know have actually started doing the transfers themselves -- picking up the product (usually large quantities) at one outlet and transporting it to another closer to their client (usually a resto or bar). The only exceptions are saq.com and the Signature stores, which will deliver anywhere in the province.

              1. re: carswell
                Chocolatine Jul 31, 2009 10:48 AM

                Thank Carswell for that updated info - too bad it's not that easy anymore!

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