Spirit of Victoria

12 great places to get a drink in the Vancouver Island city

The B.C. Parliament Buildings are the centrepiece of Victoria’s vibrant Inner Harbour. Tourism Victoria photo

You could say that Matt Cooke has distilled the spirit of Victoria into his cocktails. The general manager at OLO Restaurant transforms Vancouver Island spirits and local produce into the kind of creatively food-friendly sippers that complement chef-owner Brad Holmes’ fresh comfort food so well. There’s often whisky or gin—Victorians love the smoky and botanical flavours of the British Isles—and a subtle nod to the classics. At the same time, Cooke conjures flavours that are completely new, and often made from scratch.

And he’s not alone. Despite its relatively small size, with a population about an eighth of Vancouver’s, Victoria has a vibrant cocktail scene that makes it truly a great place to get a drink, especially at these 12 watering holes.

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The Alchemist Guide to Whistler Cocktails

Whistler at night. Tourism Whistler/David McCohn photo

Think about Whistler drinking and images of craft beers on sunny patios and fragrant steaming mugs of après ski Glühwein inevitably come to mind. But for some reason, Whistler has never traditionally conjured up much in the way of cocktail culture. Fortunately, the wave of thoughtfully crafted drinks and micro-distilled spirits has finally made its way up the Sea-to-Sky, and bars across town are shaking and stirring up some decidedly delicious creations.

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