Light my fire

Flames add flavour—and drama—to festive concoctions 

Oil from the orange peel fans the flames of a German Burnt Punch. Lou Lou Childs photo

I was just thinking of a Flaming Rum Punch,” says Clarence Odbody, the 293-year-old guardian angel in Frank Capra’s 1946 masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life. But in this post-war dive bar all that’s on offer is “hard drinks… for men who want to get drunk fast.”

Back when Clarence was just a cherub, though, punches were all the rage. A concoction of spirits with something sweet, something sour, something weak and something spicy, punch was a communal beverage, enjoyed at social gatherings. It was often served hot, typically heated by inserting a molten hot poker into a jug, bowl or pitcher of liquor. There were, at times, flames.

Since then, flamed drinks have gone in and out of fashion like a Blue Blazer in a fickle breeze.

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Tales with a twist

Chambar’s Philippe Grandbois weaves new tales for classic cocktails

Jennifer Gauthier photo

For more than a decade, Chambar has been known as not only a destination restaurant famous for its Belgian and North African-influenced cuisine, but also as a cocktail haven that has attracted and nurtured some of the city’s top talent. Now, the restaurant has taken its cocktail program one step further, hiring Philippe Grandbois as Creative Director of Mixology — a new position in the company.

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Spring sings

Seasonally-inspired cocktails at Chambar

Running the ever-busy bar at Chambar isn’t an easy job, but it’s one that bar manager Yacine Sylla and team embrace with enthusiasm. Constantly re-inventing the menu and updating old favourites, Sylla aligns himself with the restaurant’s focus on local, seasonal and high-quality ingredients.

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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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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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Blue Fig

The Blue Fig. Scott Little photo

Chambar’s Blue Fig has become a Vancouver classic

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

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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