Trevor Kallies finds inspiration in the international cocktail community
Leading the beverage program at the Donnelly Group keeps Trevor Kallies on his toes.
With responsibility for lists across the group’s pubs, cocktail taverns and nightclubs, his 15 years of experience behind the bar—10 as a serious cocktail contender—are invaluable.
At the Donnelly Group, Kallies says, it’s all about being able to craft a diverse range of top quality drinks that meet the needs of each room.
“When I first got interested in cocktails, it was all about amari, bourbons and ryes—big, bold, spirit-forward cocktails,” he says. “That’s great for a few bars. It’s not great for others. I’m looking to create a balance.”
The pubs in the group keep similar lists. “The thought process is: What’s fresh? What’s fruity? What’s delicious?”
It’s a different story at flagship pub, The Blackbird, with its 150-strong Scotch list.
“The cocktail menu is designed to showcase that,” Kallies explains. “We want to entice people to check out the bar, and maybe experience a new single malt they haven’t heard of, or had the chance to try before.”
“That’s where we really have fun,” he laughs. “The Granville and Clough cocktails are a little bit more exciting, a little bit more innovative.”
While he and his team are busy honing their own signature drinks for lists that change three or four times a year, Kallies always has an eye on what’s happening elsewhere, looking for amazing cocktails—either new, or long-lost recipes—that he can feature.
This “Not Ours” list is not only great for customers, he says, it’s a way for young, upcoming bartenders to learn and experiment.
“For me it’s about bridging the gap between what’s happening in Vancouver and what’s happening around the world,” he smiles. “The global cocktail community is a big deal, and we enjoy being a part of that.”
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