Acerum: 100% Quebec maple alcohol

Gin, whiskey, cream, liqueur… Maple has long been mixed with all kinds of alcohol. While we seem to have made the rounds, a new kid is starting to make its mark: acerum, a maple eau-de-vie from our region.

« The Scots have scotch, the French cognac, the Mexicans mezcal, the Americans bourbon — Quebecers now have acerum, » proclaims the Union of Maple Spirits Distillers on its website. But what is acerum, first of all?

It is actually a spirit obtained by the distillation of alcohol from the fermentation of maple sap. « acerum comes from the contraction of the Latin words acer meaning maple and English rum meaning rumthus referring to a fermentation and distillation of the same type as for rum, but where cane sugar is replaced by that of maple”, specifies the Union of distillers of maple spirits.

To ensure that it is an exclusively Quebec alcohol, the Union of Maple Spirits Distillers has even registered the “acerum” certification mark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. According to its specifications, only maple water from Quebec, maple water concentrate from Quebec or maple syrup from Quebec can be used as raw materials for fermentation and 100% of each product must have been fermented, distilled and bottled in a distillery located in Quebec.

Maple differently

Differentiating itself from alcohol-maple mixtures, acerum also allows « to discover maple syrup under a whole new facet », underlines Rose Simard, founder of 1 or 2 cocktails.

“Previously, maple syrup was always used to flavor an alcohol, for example, a maple whisky, she illustrates. Now, rather than flavoring it, it becomes the base of the drink.”

The taste of acerum is also completely different from that of other maple alcohols. Far from the very sweet taste of maple as we know it, « acerum can taste like coconut, pear or apple », explains Rose Simard.

We are “halfway between rum and whiskey”, acerum being “sweeter than whisky, less than rum”, specifies the expert, who recommends it precisely to lovers of brown spirits.

First steps

Although there are now a few bottles at the SAQ, acerum, first marketed by the Shefford Distillery, has only been around since 2017 and is still very marginal. The distillers who produce it are few for the moment: in addition to the Shefford Distillery (Shefford), there are notably the Distillerie du St. Laurent (Rimouski), the O’Dwyer Distillerie Gaspésienne (Gaspé), at Domaine Acer (Auclair) and at Domaine Small in Sainte-Agathe-de-Lotbinière.

This rarity is explained in particular by the high value of its raw material, maple, which is very expensive. The distilleries that make it therefore do so above all to differentiate themselves from the competition, to create a product that is out of the ordinary, and that is 100% Quebecois, believes Rose Simard. And maybe also because several “have gone around the gin”, she laughs.

Over time, however, acerum should become popular and gain even more in quality, believes the spirits lover. “As everyone is still in their first batchesthere is a lot of room for improvement”, she concludes.

Rose Simard’s Acerum Daiquiri


For 1 glass

• 2 oz of Acerum, St. Laurent Distillery

• 1 oz fresh lime juice

• 0.75 oz simple syrup


House mix of salt and nori sheets (for frosting)

To make this mixture, grind 4 sheets of nori and 1 tbsp. tablespoons coarse sea salt together in a blender or using a mortar.


• Rim a glass by squeezing a wedge of lime around its edge, then passing it through a plate containing the mixture of salt and nori sheets.

• Pour all the ingredients into a shaker.

• Add ice cubes then shake vigorously.

• Double strain through chilled frosted glass using a fine strainer.

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