Room at the top

Bar manager Peter Van de Reep seeks out spirits that are a cut above

“Upstairs” at Campagnolo bar manager Peter Van de Reep. Lou Lou Childs photo.

At “Upstairs” at Campagnolo, the intimate restaurant and bar above Campagnolo’s Main Street location, you don’t have to reach for the top shelf to find a choice selection of spirits.

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Spirited Away

B.C.’s oldest craft distillery has made an international impact.

Contributed photo.

At the grand old age of 11, Okanagan Spirits is the oldest craft distillery in the province. That may make it a relative newbie on the international scene, but it hasn’t stopped the world from paying it serious attention.

Since its inception in 2004, the family-owned and operated Okanagan business has twice been named Distillery of the Year at the annual World Spirits Awards, and two years ago became the first and only one of its kind in North America to be given a “world class” rating.

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Setting the bar

Yacine Sylla brings a splash of European flair to a Vancouver favourite.

Lou Lou Childs photo.

Cocktails have always been serious business at Chambar. The trend-setting French/North African restaurant burst onto the Vancouver scene just over a decade ago, and has been leading the pack ever since.

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Gin Tonic

Long Table, Vancouver’s original micro distillery, is fuelled by passion.

Lou Lou Childs photo

Charles Tremewen loves gin. So much so, he hocked his house to start making it himself. He launched Vancouver’s first micro distillery, Long Table, in February 2013, and hasn’t looked back.

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Mix Master

Trevor Kallies finds inspiration in the international cocktail community

Lou Lou Childs photo

 

Leading the beverage program at the Donnelly Group keeps Trevor Kallies on his toes.

With responsibility for lists across the group’s pubs, cocktail taverns and nightclubs, his 15 years of experience behind the bar—10 as a serious cocktail contender—are invaluable.

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Culture Club

Talented bartenders have put Vancouver’s cocktail scene on the world map.

Wendy McGuinness says local spirits must earn their place on her back bar. Fred Fung photo.

In the mood for a Sazerac? How about a Negroni punch bowl mixed with local gin and vermouth, or a playful spin on Arctic Ungava with a dash of citric acid and spritz of Laphroaig perfume? Whatever your poison, it can be found in Vancouver, home to one of the most vibrant cocktail scenes in North America.

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The Burrard Gimlet

The Burrard Gimlet. Issha Marie and Alison Page photo

A fresh twist on a classic

INGREDIENTS:
1.5 oz Gillespie’s Sin Gin
0.5 oz Green Chartreuse
0.5 oz wildflower honey water (1:1 ratio)
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
3 dashes Bittered Sling Lem-Marrakech Bitters
1 pinch Vancouver Island Sea Salt
Mist of Okanagan Spirits Taboo Absinthe

METHOD:
Combine all ingredients (minus Taboo Absinthe) in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake vigorously for 15 seconds and fine strain to a half-rimmed Vancouver Island Sea Salt cocktail glass. Using an atomizer or mister, spray a fine amount of absinthe over the glass for aromatics. Garnish with a lime twist.

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Do it yourself

All the ingredients and tools you need to begin serious bartending in the comfort of your own home

A good home bar should include a few key implements. Issha Marie and Alison Page photo

Ice: Ice is key to both the temperature and dilution of a drink. Use large, fresh cubes directly from the icebox when shaking or stirring. Ice that’s been out for too long—that is glossy and wet—will over-dilute your drinks, and fast! Invest in a few different shapes and sizes of ice moulds: over-sized, square, or even spherical moulds are great for spirits on the rocks.

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Blue Fig

The Blue Fig. Scott Little photo

Chambar’s Blue Fig has become a Vancouver classic

INGREDIENTS:
2 oz roasted fig-infused gin
Dash of simple syrup
Blue cheese to taste

METHOD:
Add infused gin and simple syrup to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe or Martini glass and serve with a side of blue cheese.

To make fig gin: Slice four roasted figs and add to a bottle of gin. Rest 48 hours and strain through cheesecloth.

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Out of the past

Raise a glass to the resurrection of the Vancouver Cocktail

The Hotel Georgia (pictured), the Sylvia and the Waldorf all created signature cocktails in the 1940s and ’50s. Hotel Georgia photo

Gin, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine and orange bitters. It sounds simple, but so do many of the world’s legendary cocktails. And the Vancouver Cocktail deserves to be recognized among the classics.

What’s that, you say? Never heard of YVR’s hometown cocktail? You’re not alone. The Vancouver Cocktail joins a legion of forgotten drinks that have recently been rediscovered by dogged cocktail historians. In this case, that historian was bartender-turned-consultant Steve Da Cruz.

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