DIY Gin & Tonic

Make summer’s favourite cocktail your very own with these bespoke ideas

Before you start, assemble your ingredients. Dan Toulgoet photo

Gin is unlike any other spirit. Simply put, gin is a distilled grain mash that produces a neutral alcohol or vodka. The spirit is then redistilled with botanicals, herbs and spices to achieve the final product. It doesn’t rely on aging in oak barrels like whisky, and it doesn’t rely on one agricultural product to achieve its flavour, like agave for tequila. The infusion process will determine the flavour profile of each gin.

In other words, gin is essentially a botanical-flavoured vodka. And that means, even though not very many of us will ever have access to a still, we can make our own quality gins by working with infusions.

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Summer in a glass

Photo courtesy of Joey Restaurants

For nine months of the year, we can enjoy our fancy drinks, our boozy drinks, our brown-bitter-stirred drinks all we like. But when summer rolls around, we just want something easy. Cool. Refreshing. Even better if it’s made with watermelon.

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Joey Watermelon Drink

Joey Watermelon Drink. Photo courtesy of Joey Restaurants

This perfect patio cocktail recipe is from Joey Restaurants.

• 8 (1-inch) cubes of fresh watermelon
• 8 to 10 fresh mint leaves
• 1.5 oz Absolut vodka
• 0.25 oz agave syrup
• 0.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

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Mark your calendars with these 5 cocktail events

The Weather Network has forecast a hot, dry summer for B.C., so get out and make the most of it at these upcoming events.

Harmony Arts Festival photo
Deighton Cup

Don your fancy chapeaux and hoist your glasses! The ponies hit the track once again on July 20 for the 11th annual Deighton Cup at Hastings Racecourse. Some 5,000 people gather at the track to gamble on the ponies while enjoying swish fashion, buckets of bubbly, fine cigars, gourmet cuisine and, of course, cocktails. The event includes an annual mixology competition, plus sweet summer sippers to enjoy trackside. deightoncup.com


Night on the pier

As the sun sinks to the west on August 8, some of Vancouver’s top bartenders will start shaking things up at this chill party on West Vancouver’s Ambleside Pier. This fundraiser for local arts programs is part of the Harmony Arts festival (August 2 to 11), and there will be food, fun, gorgeous views and plenty of great cocktails to enjoy. harmonyarts.ca

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Negroni Inverso

Negroni Inverso. Dan Toulgoet photo

Try this negroni at Nicli Antica in Gastown, or make it yourself at home.

• 0.75 oz Espolon Blanco
• 0.75 oz St-Germain
• 0.75 oz Contratto Bianco
• 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
• 2 oz Lambrusco 

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In Bloom

In Bloom, created by Jeff Savage of Botanist. Dan Toulgoet photo

Created by Jeff Savage, head bartender at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, this cocktail captures all the berry bright, delicately floral flavours of summer. Note that you will need an electronic scale to measure the ingredients for the sherbet.

• 1.5 oz raspberry-infused pisco (see note)
• 0.5 oz Aperol
• 1 oz lemon juice
• 0.5 oz Grapefruit and Rose Sherbet (see recipe below)

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Bottled Up! with Joey Donnelly

Joey Donnelly. Supplied photo

Meet Joey Donnelly, a maritime treasure of a human, who has made a solid east-coast stamp on the west-coast hospitality industry here in BC. He is the GM of Clough Club in Gastown (his last name is unrelated to the Donnelly Group) and even after almost a decade in Vancouver (with eight years under his belt at the Clough), he still greets you from behind the bar with genuine maritimer charm and an enthusiastic drawl of, “Hey Bahd!” He also owns a couple of restaurants in Tofino with some of his old ‘Scotian pals’ (being the much-admired Lil’ Ronnie’s Backyard BBQ, of which a second location just opened in early June 2019), and he sits on the Board of Directors for the newly formed mental health initiative, Mind The Bar, which serves as a resource for Vancouver hospitality workers struggling with thoughts of suicide, addictions, depression, or workplace harassment. Despite his efforts to be low-key, Joey is absolutely beloved in the industry, from colleagues to patrons to musicians to CEOs. If you don’t know him, you should. Hailing from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, this is Joey Donnelly.

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