From vermouth to high volume: Cocktail trends for 2018

Some of Vancouver’s top bartenders give their thoughts on what’ll be hot next year

Glass straws will be seen more widely as bars strive toward more sustainable practices. The Last Straw Co. photo
Glass straws will be seen more widely as bars strive toward more sustainable practices. The Last Straw Co. photo

Raise your glass to the end of 2017, a year that brought us one disaster after another, from raging wildfires to the near-daily perp walk of sexual predators. Between all that and the inescapability of frosé, it’s a year we’re mostly happy to forget.

And so we look forward to 2018. We checked in with some of the city’s top bartenders to discover what’s shaking for the New Year.

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Sticky Toffee Old Fashioned

The Sticky Toffee Old Fashioned by David Warren.

The Salted Vine Kitchen + Bar’s David Warren combines several trends in this drink, including updated vintage cocktails and culinary techniques – this was inspired by Chef Jeff Pat’s sticky toffee pudding on the dessert menu.

INGREDIENTS:
2 oz (60 mL) Bulleit bourbon
¾ oz (22 mL) date syrup (see note)
Dash Fee Brothers black walnut bitters
Dash Angostura bitters
Sash Regan’s Orange bitters

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Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes by Sabrine Dhaliwal.
Bright Eyes by Sabrine Dhaliwal.

This tall, refreshing, low-proof cocktail from UVA’s Sabrine Dhaliwal will ensure you remain bright-eyed throughout the night.

1½ oz (45 mL) fino sherry
¾ oz (22 mL) grapefruit juice
¾ oz (22 mL) peach tea syrup (see note)
¾ oz (22 mL) lemon juice
2 dashes Bittered Sling Cherry Bitters
Ginger beer

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Bags of quality

Aunts & Uncles and Brooklyn Clothing believe in durable fashion that only gets better with age

In this increasingly fast-paced, disposable society, quality products that are crafted to last are a reassuring reminder of how things can improve with age. It could be a single malt whisky maturing for a couple of decades, a carefully cellared Bordeaux, or that go-to pair of jeans or bag that never lets you down.

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The secret ingredient to a knockout party punch

When life gives you lemons, add finesse to your festive fizz with oleo saccharum

All you need to make oleo saccharum, the secret ingredient that will take Champagne punch and other cocktails from merely good to simply extraordinary. Photo: Joanne Sasvari
All you need to make oleo saccharum, the secret ingredient that will take Champagne punch and other cocktails from merely good to simply extraordinary. Photo: Joanne Sasvari

The holiday season cries out for festive bubbles, for brunch-time mimosas and kir royales, for corks flying at midnight, for French 75s and Champagne cocktails just about any time.

But of all the bubbly concoctions, there is no more festive fizz than a grand Champagne punch.

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Holiday Champagne Punch

Holiday Champagne Punch. Photo: Joanne Sasvari
Holiday Champagne Punch. Photo: Joanne Sasvari

This festive elixir will happily serve a crowd. Just remember the golden rule of punch: The party isn’t over until the bowl is empty.

2 cups (500 mL) brandy
16 dashes Angostura bitters
½ to ¾ cup (125 to 180 mL) oleo saccharum (see method below)
2 bottles sparkling wine such as cava or Champagne

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The spirited gift guide for the cocktail lover on your list

Repeat after me: You can never have too many cocktail tools. Or glasses. Or bottles of interesting spirits. Or cocktail books. Or …

Okanagan Spirits’ Ultimate Gift Pack, which includes its sold-out Coldstream Rye along with the Essential and Family Reserve Gin and Vodka and BRBN Bourbon-style Whisky, comes in at $295.
Okanagan Spirits’ Ultimate Gift Pack, which includes its sold-out Coldstream Rye along with the Essential and Family Reserve Gin and Vodka and BRBN Bourbon-style Whisky, comes in at $295.

Well, you get the picture. Wondering what to get the cocktail aficionado on your holiday list? Start right here.

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The Cosmopolitan

Our man at the bar, John Burns, savours a Southside as he mulls the value of drinking local

Illustration by Ryan Mitson

Barstools are for boasting. And when you’re alone, they’re for wool-gathering, your privacy on public display. Random thoughts assail you — unless you’re just there to watch the game, which is fine but for the purposes of this column let’s assume no high-def.

I’m at a bar now, in fact, just me and no TV, making notes on napkins the way you do. This is not unusual. Over the last 18 months I’ve warmed my share of seats, and I’ve written about some of the highlights in these pages, usually from notes on the backs of napkins very like this one. Those 18 months happen to have included a fair amount of travel, and so the cocktails I’ve described have often gone down in other cities, in bars very like this one.

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