Coast-to-coast cocktails for Canada Day

Vancouver mixologists are blending the best of our national ingredients for party drinks this July 1

A Mari Usque Ad Mare, created by L’Abattoir’s Katie Ingram for Canada 150. Amy Ho Photo

A long weekend of fireworks and barbecues, sparklers and fluttering Maple Leaf flags stretches ahead of us. Happy 150th birthday, Canada! Now, let’s celebrate.

All across the city, our top bartenders are getting the party going by creating new cocktails that honour our country’s best ingredients and greatest drinking traditions.

Most of these cocktails will be on menus all summer long, so you don’t need to try them all in one weekend, even if you do have an extra day in which to do it.

We’ve also provided three recipes (below) from local mixologists so you can shake up your Canada Day party at home.

At the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, afternoon tea has taken on an all-Canadian flavour with mini lobster rolls, Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, saskatoon berry compote and, for those who crave something stronger than orange pekoe, the Maple Leaf cocktail, a bracing blend of bourbon, maple syrup, lemon and apple juice.

Over at the Four Seasons, bartender Jessica Hoffman has created a smoky-sweet take on the Bloody Caesar, Canada’s iconic tomato-clam-vodka cocktail. The Rocky Mountain Caesar features Canadian Club whisky, Clamato, adobo peppers, maple syrup, olive juice, lime and, of course, bacon.

The Caesar, invented in 1969 in Calgary and widely acknowledged as Canada’s favourite cocktail, provides a perfect template for bartender creativity, so you can expect to see plenty of variations on it. One we love is the French River at Timber, which is rimmed with Montreal steak spice and garnished with deep-fried cheese curds and bacon.

Nationwide, Hy’s Steakhouse has introduced five regional cocktails – the Vancouver one, called Coastal Wave, features Wayward bourbon barrel-aged gin, Punt e Mes, Benedictine and orange bitters with a salmon jerky garnish.

Evoking a rush of a different sort is Royal Dinette bar manager Kaitlyn Stewart’s ’92 & ’93, which pays homage to the Toronto Blue Jays, who won back-to-back World Series titles in the early 1990s. It features tropical flavours of coconut, lime, pineapple and pear sake.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a Canadian celebration if we didn’t also worry about our neighbours to the south. Over at Mamie Taylor’s, owner Ron Oliver and lead bartender Scotty Marshall have combined American peach whiskey and Canadian rye in a wishful nod to the current political climate below the 49th parallel: Impeached Iced Tea. See the recipe here.

Happy Canada Day, all!

—by Joanne Sasvari

Make these Canada-inspired cocktails:
The Great Wild North
A Mari Usque Ad Mare
Impeached Iced Tea

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