Bitter is better

Cocktail bitters are a bartender’s salt and pepper. Here’s our guide to B.C.’s best

Victoria Distillers produces the Twisted & Bitter lineup, which ranges from fruity (orange, grapefruit, schizandra) to spicy (pepper, ginger). Victoria Distillers photo

Aficionados of Old Fashioneds are familiar with oversize-label bottles of Angostura, the classic aromatic bitters from Trinidad and Tobago that have made a million cocktails sing. Signature mixes of botanicals, often originally used as medicine, have earned famous bitters brands like Sazerac, Peychaud’s and Amargo Chunchon (for Pisco Sours) a place in the classic-cocktail canon.

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Post Opium Daiquiri

Post Opium Daiquiri. Andrew Kong photo

The base:
• 1.5 oz Havana Club 3-year-old rum
• 1 oz Ms. Better’s passionfruit purée
• 0.5 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
• 0.5 oz Ms. Better’s demerara syrup
• 1 dash Ms. Better’s Lime Leaf Bitters

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Canadian Coffee

Canadian Coffee. Bittered Sling photo

• 1.5 oz Lot 40 Rye Whisky
• 0.75 oz maple syrup
• 4 oz hot brewed coffee
• 2 dashes Moondog Latin bitters
• Heavy cream, lightly whipped
• Grated cinnamon

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Curandero

Curandero. Apothecary Bitters Company photo

• 2 oz blanco tequila
• 1 tsp agave nectar
• 1 tsp Port
• 2 dashes Apothecary ‘Mason Dixon’ Southern Pecan bitters
• Orange twist, for garnish

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The Last Word: Homemade Irish Cream Coffee

Coffee + booze + cream = cold-weather bliss.

We say it’s time to bring the special coffee off the ski hill and back into our after-dinner repertoire, just in time for the chilly days ahead.

This recipe by Justin Taylor of The Cascade Room elevates the oft-maligned special coffee with high-quality ingredients. Dan Toulgoet photo
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Spirit of Victoria

12 great places to get a drink in the Vancouver Island city

The B.C. Parliament Buildings are the centrepiece of Victoria’s vibrant Inner Harbour. Tourism Victoria photo

You could say that Matt Cooke has distilled the spirit of Victoria into his cocktails. The general manager at OLO Restaurant transforms Vancouver Island spirits and local produce into the kind of creatively food-friendly sippers that complement chef-owner Brad Holmes’ fresh comfort food so well. There’s often whisky or gin—Victorians love the smoky and botanical flavours of the British Isles—and a subtle nod to the classics. At the same time, Cooke conjures flavours that are completely new, and often made from scratch.

And he’s not alone. Despite its relatively small size, with a population about an eighth of Vancouver’s, Victoria has a vibrant cocktail scene that makes it truly a great place to get a drink, especially at these 12 watering holes.

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Elevate your holiday cocktails with Blackpool Spiced Rum

Nicole MacKay photo

Lemon Hart & Son was established in 1804 with the creation of its iconic British-style rum, aptly named 1804. Times were exciting then, Beethoven was performing symphonies in Vienna, ‘Mad’ King George III ruled Britain and the world’s population had just reached 1 billion. Today, nearing its 215th birthday, the 1804 lends its traditional base to Lemon Hart’s fuller-bodied counterpart. A rich, Demerara style Spiced Rum.

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