Spring sings

Seasonally-inspired cocktails at Chambar

Running the ever-busy bar at Chambar isn’t an easy job, but it’s one that bar manager Yacine Sylla and team embrace with enthusiasm. Constantly re-inventing the menu and updating old favourites, Sylla aligns himself with the restaurant’s focus on local, seasonal and high-quality ingredients.

“We’re working a new housemade soda. Right now, we’re on the fifth batch of our fermented ginger beer, to use in our Dark ‘n’ Stormy, for instance. We do it old style; we grind the ginger and then cook it down with sugar and lemon juice. Then we let it sit for a while before adding in the yeast.” That isn’t the only soda in the works. “Within the next couple of weeks, we’ll likely move onto root beer or cream soda.”

Sylla also enjoys experimenting with new products. “One of our current cocktails, Spring Sling, uses a product called Agavero,” a tequila liqueur that Sylla describes as having a slightly sweeter profile, thanks to the added orange peel. At Chambar, the Agavero is combined with muddled cucumber, spiced cranberry syrup, chartreuse, fresh-pressed grapefruit juice, rhubarb bitters and topped with sparkling wine. “It’s almost like a spritz.”

For summer, he is introducing a new vodka-based cocktail to the menu. The Bisou de Bison is a play on the name of a popular cocktail in the U.K., the Bison Kiss, and uses Żubrówka bison grass vodka. Sylla’s version combines the vodka with plum bitters, Marsala wine, Aperol, fresh lime juice and elderflower syrup. Straightforward, shaken, served in a Martini glass, it’s citrus and fruit-forward.

With patio seasoning getting into high gear, Sylla plans to add more brunch-forward cocktails to the menu. “We already have our Chambar Radler on the menu; half Chambar lager and half grapefruit juice. Caesars, everyone loves, especially for brunch, but we also try to do something more in season, maybe a muddled strawberry cocktail.”

Chambar’s Caesar is made from smoked tomatoes and house-blended hot sauce. With National Caesar Day in May, Sylla says to watch out for a new twist on the popular drink. “There’s always something in the works,” he laughs.

568 Beatty St., Vancouver,

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