Raise a glass to the supporting cast of B.C.’s cocktail scene—local craft syrups, sodas, tonics and other mixers
Forget the genie. Professional bartending expertise is captured in each bottle, can and jar of these B.C.-born cocktail mixers, which are often natural and preservative-free, too. To let loose your cocktail creativity, just add craft spirits.
Why the highball is our enduring summer cocktail of choice.
When it’s hot and sticky out, who’s really up for making fancy cocktails? Not me.
That’s why summer time is highball time. The highball is the quintessential two-ingredient cocktail: spirits and soda, gussied up with ice and maybe a lemon wheel or a sprig of mint if you want to get fancy.
Purists insist on Goslings Black Seal rum, but in fact, any good quality dark rum will work in this satisfyingly spicy drink. Try one of the new made-in-B.C. craft ginger beers for zingy home-grown flavour.
• 2 oz dark rum such as Goslings Black Seal • 4 oz chilled ginger beer • Optional: 1 to 2 dashes Angostura bitters • Lime wedge
In a highball glass filled with cubes of ice, add the rum and top with ginger beer. If you like, add a dash or two of bitters. No need to stir; the bubbles should do the work for you. Garnish with a lime wedge. Serves 1.
The traditional British cocktail to serve at your next garden party or royal wedding do
The first time I had Pimm’s Cup, I was in the Costwolds, visiting friends of friends, and I was baffled. Why, I wondered, were these nice strangers handing me what appeared to be a glass filled with fruit salad and cola?
Little did I know that Pimm’s is a grand British tradition like double decker buses, cream teas and cricket whites. And as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle head to the altar on May 19 for the first of this year’s two royal weddings (the other is Princess Eugenie’s nuptials on Oct. 12), it seemed like a good time to revisit this classic English cocktail.
At The Cascade Room, manager and bartender Justin Taylor makes this vibrant version of Pimm’s Cup with added zing from ginger beer rather than traditional sparkling lemonade. You could also use Sprite or ginger ale if you prefer.
Distillery tasting rooms are some of the hottest cocktail bars in B.C. Here are a few to try in the Vancouver area.
Distillery visits aren’t just for spirits geeks—although staff (even the distillers) are usually keen to tour guests through the production line. Even micro-distilleries now offer flights, cocktails and tastings, some spiked with snacks or entertainment. More reasons to visit: You can buy bottles right from the source, including seasonal and limited releases, only-at-the-distillery products (such as collaborations with local brewers or food producers) and even cocktail accoutrements. Since many distillery tasting rooms are small, family-run affairs, call ahead or check social media for hours, especially if your group is more than a few or would like a tour.
Why did BC LCLB agents seize an estimated $150,000 in whisky? And could it happen to your favourite tipple, too?
It was a scene that might have been straight out of Prohibition—were this not 2018.
On the morning of January 19, 2018, plainclothes teams of B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch agents descended upon two licensed establishments in Vancouver and Nanaimo: Fets Whisky Kitchen and The Grand Hotel. Later that day, in Victoria, they visited The Union Club and Little Jumbo Cocktail Bar. What were they after? Illicit booze, grey market goods being sold as the real thing, or maybe something even more heinous?
The Sidecar cocktail is a sophisticated, classy concoction, so why is it so often overlooked?
The Sidecar is one of the great Prohibition-era classics, a boozy-but-vibrant three-ingredient cocktail that fulfills our desire for both the depth of brown spirits and the bright acidity of citrus. It should be a rock star among cocktails, yet where Old Fashioneds, tiki drinks and even the horrible Gimlet have made their comebacks, the Sidecar has somehow eluded its just recognition amid the modern cocktail revival.