Three ‘extremely drinkable’ cocktails from Donnelly Group’s Trevor Kallies
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.
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.
• 1.5 oz gin (preferably Beefeater for the citrus punch)
• 0.25 oz dry vermouth (Dolin if you have it; Martini Dry also works)
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.
• 2 oz silver tequila (preferably Olmeca Altos 100% Agave)
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.
• 2 oz gin (preferably Beefeater London Dry, which has lots of citrus and juniper)
Bartenders are embracing how the unique properties of cold brew works in cocktails
Your morning cup of coffee may perk you up nicely, but that same java is more than ready to do the same for your cocktail hour. Forget the drip-filled wine glass containing a shot of Bushmills or Tia Maria, loaded with sugar, and covered with a slick of whipped cream from a can. And step back from the classic, yet oh-so-1980s, Espresso Martini. Coffee cocktails have upped their game.
And what’s behind this fashionable return? It’s all about that barista favourite, cold brew.