Satisfying summer sips

Three ‘extremely drinkable’ cocktails from Donnelly Group’s Trevor Kallies

Photo courtesy of Donnelly Group

I’ve been crafting and designing cocktails for close to 20 years. There are a handful I can look back on with a great deal of pride and, of course, a handful that I would love to forget, but those closest to me can’t seem to let go. (There was an incident with a blue whale candy circa 2003.) Regardless of the wins and losses, there is a fairly steady evolution of where it started and how it’s going.

I realized extremely early in my role as Beverage Director for Donnelly Group that 95 per cent of the drinks I design that find their way onto the 14-plus menus around Vancouver and Toronto are not for me. Not for my enjoyment anyway. I can appreciate their flavour, their ingredients, the spirits and brands found within, of course. When I say “not for me,” I am referring to the fact that a great cocktail is designed for the enjoyment of the guests and to capture the brand of the bar, not to appease the hubris of the bartender.

Here are a handful of relatively recent cocktails that we’ve been pouring at some of the venues. They’re extremely drinkable (if I do say so myself) and not overly cost- or technique-prohibitive to be made at home.

Stray Bullets. Photo courtesy of Donnelly Group

Stray Bullets

Available at Brass Fish and The Three Brits. This one quickly became a staple at Brass Fish when we opened in February 2020. It found its way onto a few other menus and holds its own in the overall sales of cocktails in the pubs.

See the recipe. 

We batch the base for this one in large volumes and keep it chilled and ready to pour. We simply pour 4 oz (120 mL) of the batch into a tall glass, fill with ice and top with soda. The resulting cocktail is tart, fruity (but not too sweet) and effervescent. It is a great one for a hot day or to unwind after a long one.


Good Vibes Only. Photo courtesy of Donnelly Group

Good Vibes Only

Available at Granville Room. I basically grew up as a bartender at Granville Room so it will always hold a special place for me. Good Vibes Only is a drink that came along mid-2020. It started as a Collins-style drink and found its way into the frozen drink machine and is currently being poured in slush format.

See the recipe.

The recipe above is for a single cocktail, but this is another one that works great with everything except the soda batched all together ahead of time to speed up service. (Think ahead to the next time you’re able to have people around your place.)

Crème de cassis isn’t found much on menus these days, but sure is a crowd pleaser. Grab a bottle or two of cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and you can quickly make a Kir Royale (cava + splash of cassis).


Modern Martini. Photo courtesy of Donnelly Group

Modern Martini

Available at Brass Fish. I typically have three cocktails that I’ll order when time calls for a cocktail. A Negroni is likely what I am most known for ordering. Number 2 would be a Margarita (rocks, half-salt rim). For the past few years I have led our team in overall Martinis consumed. I can’t get enough of them. The Modern Martini is our flagship Martini on the Brass Fish menu. It’s the type of Martini that will gateway you into drinking more Martinis. You’re welcome. It’s a rare occasion when I don’t have a bottle of this in my home freezer for an after-work libation.

See the recipe. 

You can also make a large batch of this and store it in the freezer, ready to pour as needed. Another highlight is that its ingredients are all so versatile:

• Gin + vermouth = classic Martini.

• Sherry over ice = amazing low-proof sipper.

• St-Germain = great modifier for spritz-style drinks and citrus-forward cocktails.


Regardless of your cocktail prowess, these cocktails can be made at home with ease. Or, if you’re tired of the past year or so of being the best bartender in your own home, come see us at the Donnelly venues above and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you.

—by Trevor Kallies

Donnelly Group,

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