Liquid lore

At Clive’s Classic Lounge, every cocktail tells a story

Photo courtesy of Clives Classic Lounge.

Stepping outside of the box has become old hat to bar manager Jayce Kadyschuk of Clive’s Classic Lounge in Victoria, who, along with his team, is driven by his passion to tell a story through every cocktail served.

“We want to create a unique experience with every drink,” he explains. “People are always curious about what goes into a cocktail, how we came up with the recipe — and that desire for a story forces us to be innovative.”

One of those innovations is Clive’s Global Cocktails list. “We choose to work with flavours from different countries and try to work those flavours into our cocktails. We’ve been doing that for almost three years and the response has been great.”

This year, they took that global idea a step further, fusing it with the bar’s annual summer tiki program. “Tiki is all about having two or three different rums with juice, syrup, crushed ice and lots of fruit garnish. It’s very boozy and refreshing. We decided to combine the two programs and make tiki-inspired global cocktails.”

Local inspiration plays strongly on the bar’s signature list: the Sombrio Sunset is a rum-based cocktail that uses Moonshine Mama’s Turmeric Elixir from Salt Spring Island; local gins and housemade syrups and bitters feature prominently.

With his Sweater Weather, Kadyschuk took the story to a sensory level. “I wanted to create a drink that described sitting by the fire on a cold night, wearing a cozy sweater, and smelling the smoke from the fire,” he explains. “Aromatics are such an important part of a cocktail. We use brown bitters and Knob Creek Rye, which provides spicy notes, amaro from The Woods Spirit Co. in North Vancouver, green chartreuse and blackberry vinegar. I spritz the outside of the glass with 10-year-old Ardbeg, so the smoke isn’t actually in the cocktail, it’s just part of the experience.”

Hitting all the senses is, he says, essential to a great cocktail. “When you look at a well-presented drink, your mouth is already salivating; it’s already preparing you for what you will taste. You first taste with your eyes, then with your nose, and last with your lips. It really showcases the craftsmanship of being a great bartender.”

Make Jayce Kadyschuk’s Rosemary Nights.

Clives Classic Lounge
740 Burdett Avenue, Victoria, 250-361-5684

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