H Tasting Lounge takes flight

Globally inspired cocktail program soars at the Westin Bayshore

Chiara Fung and Dylan Williams behind the bar at H Tasting Lounge. Dan Toulgoet photo

Bright, airy and colourful, with a contemporary design that embraces both mid-century and Art Deco motifs, H Tasting Lounge at The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, is certainly one of the city’s most elegant cocktail spaces.

But its beauty goes far beyond plush pastel furnishings and dramatic crystal chandeliers.

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Shaking up the Fraserhood

At Escobar, small bites, bold flavours and creative cocktails add a taste of something new

Thomas Bullock and Ayur Media photos

In Latin cultures, food and drink are meant for sharing with friends and family. And that’s the whole idea behind the Fraserhood’s newest hotspot, Escobar, and its tapas-and-cocktails menu.

It’s simply the way co-owner Alex Kyriazis and his partners like to dine. In part, they crave the bright, fresh flavours of Latin cuisine. But they also prefer the fun of sharing. After all, says bar director Bobby Kordonis, “You get to taste more when you share.”

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Bags of quality

Aunts & Uncles and Brooklyn Clothing believe in durable fashion that only gets better with age

In this increasingly fast-paced, disposable society, quality products that are crafted to last are a reassuring reminder of how things can improve with age. It could be a single malt whisky maturing for a couple of decades, a carefully cellared Bordeaux, or that go-to pair of jeans or bag that never lets you down.

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Balancing Act

Simon Ogden encourages his customers to put their drinks in his hands

Bartender Simon Ogden. Supplied photo.

Balance. Whether it’s blending the elements of the perfect cocktail or juggling work and play, balance is key.

It’s a philosophy bartender Simon Ogden takes to heart, both behind the bar and in life.

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Urban Legend

How one Okanagan man’s hobby became a serious business

Urban Distilleries photo.

Mike Urban had a booze habit. Making it, that is. After tinkering with homemade beer and wine, he felt that the next logical step could be distilling.

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The Cocktail Concierge

Justin Taylor has created a series of drinks designed to celebrate Vancouver

Lou Lou Childs photo.

For bar manager Justin Taylor, a cocktail list should be, “fun, approachable, and unpretentious.”

After seven years at Yew Restaurant in the Four Seasons, Taylor took a short hop across town to take charge of the bar at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in the Sutton Place Hotel—jumping at the chance to build a drinks program from the ground up.

Putting together his signature list, Taylor decided to tell the story of Vancouver through cocktails: from the Lost Lagoon to the Van Dusen Sour, his creations are designed to take his customers on a journey.

“I’m like another concierge in the hotel,” he smiles. “And the conversation around the bar becomes organic. It’s a great way to introduce guests to what the city has to offer, and hopefully entice them to try something new. ”

For him, a new cocktail begins with a good name: “It’s always the name first—does it make sense? Then I hit on the spirit, and from there I build the rest of the components.”

He’s most proud of the Gerard—named after the Sutton Place’s iconic bar—called one of the 101 best new cocktails by world-renowned authority, Gary Regan. With an Islay Scotch base, the Gerard also boasts maraschino liqueur, Fernet-Branca and cherry bitters.

“It was challenging to build,” Taylor admits. “It’s hard to mix Islay whisky because the smokiness is so deep and strong.”

They may offer a way in to the city’s streets, but these are hardly pedestrian drinks: the Chief Skugaid—named for an infamous rum ship that ran out of Vancouver—utilizes forest tea tincture and chai and lavender-infused maple syrup; the savoury Chinook features dill, celery bitters and a toasted caper garnish.

Taylor’s dream is to take his list on the road.

“Imagine if we rented a trolley bus and mixed and served the cocktails as we hit each destination,” he grins. “Now, that would be cool.”

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
845 Burrard Street, Vancouver • 604-642.2900

Delta Rising

At G&W Distilling, Stephen Goodridge has big plans

Stephen Goodridge. Lou Lou Childs photo.

Stephen Goodridge built G&W Distilling’s Delta-based distillery himself. From scratch.

“I’m a mechanical engineer by training. I wanted to do it myself,” he says, as if nothing could be easier.

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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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