Support from northerners like you keeps our journalism alive. Sign up here.



Frontier Spirits cocktail book features ingredients sourced in NWT

Skye Plowman serves up a local Saskatoon Berry Bramble from her new book
Skye Plowman serves up a local Saskatoon Berry Bramble from her new book. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

The Territorial Agrifood Association and a Yellowknife bartender have teamed up to produce a book of cocktails featuring ingredients sourced in the Northwest Territories.

The book, Frontier Spirits, includes recipes crafted by Yellowknife mixologist Skye Plowman and photos by Hannah Eden. It launches on February 23 to kick off the 2023 Annual Agrifood Industry Conference.

Mixing cocktails at home can be intimidating, but Plowman said she designed each drink with beginners in mind, using ingredients NWT residents can find at their local grocery store or market.

“I didn’t want it to be a book that made people go, ‘oh, this is very pretty, but I’m never going to make this clarified milk punch,'” she said.



“There’s so much mixology skill that’s kind-of inaccessible to the average person. But the goal with this was to give people something they can make at home, and give them the opportunity to enjoy great local produce and local craft.”

The Territorial Agrifood Association, or TAA, hopes the book will showcase the efforts of northern producers and small businesses.

Janet Dean, director of the Territorial Agrifood Association, and bartender Skye Plowman. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

“Local agriculture touches people in so many ways, and we want people to understand that this work is all around them,” said Janet Dean, director of the TAA.

“In the cocktail book, we’re talking about drinks, but we’re also talking about beekeeping, we’re talking about market gardens, we’re talking all aspects of food production in the North.”



Names you may recognize in the book include Barren Ground Coffee, herbs from Le Refuge, Polar Egg, Riverside Growers’ herbs and Arctic Harvest‘s sapsucker birch syrup.

The book also features tempting mocktails. Plowman said most of the recipes in the book are just as delicious without booze.

“The recipes were made to highlight the flavours of the ingredients. Liquor is never the hero flavour,” said Plowman. “So it’s easy to convert most of the drinks to zero proof.”

While the North has a complicated relationship with alcohol, Plowman hopes to foster a different attitude toward drinking with her recipes.

“If we try to elevate things and really think about the flavours, it stops being a means to an end to get drunk,” said Plowman. “That’s the thing with cocktails. You’re creating something that’s more than the sum of its parts for an experience.”

Copies will be available at the launch, held from 6-9pm on Thursday next week at Yellowknife’s Copperhouse, and be available for purchase online and from local vendors in April.