Globally inspired cocktail program soars at the Westin Bayshore
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.
Sabrine Dhaliwal takes over the guest experience at UVA
Sabrine Dhaliwal didn’t have to join UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar—with her bartending pedigree she would have had her choice of bar manager positions in this town. So why sign on to run the room that had, to date, been defined by Vancouver’s cocktail queen Lauren Mote?
“Why not?” Dhaliwal counters, with a playful smile. “I’ve known Lauren for about five years, so I’ve been fortunate enough to see how she built her cocktails and what avenues she goes in. I’m fortunate in that way to have an insight into that realm.”
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.
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.
Family-owned distillery crafts world-class spirits from homegrown harvests
With its extended growing seasons and miles of fruitful orchards and rolling vineyards, B.C.’s Okanagan Valley is known best as Canada’s wine country. The site of many a weekend winery tour and the occasional fruit stand pit stop, one can hardly say “Okanagan” without also uttering “wine.” A lesser thought of connection? Distilled spirits.
Kristi-Leigh Akister expands The Union’s bold, exotic repertoire
In Vancouver, you’re more likely to inherit an incredible cocktail program and back bar these days than have to build one from scratch. That said, there’s always room to improve.
Take Union bar manager Kristi-Leigh Akister. The vibrant young bartender stepped into the role established by Cascade bar manager Nick Devine and 17-year industry veteran Arthur Wynne just over a year ago, and has since established an innovative new cocktail menu and rotating draft list to pair with the restaurant’s Pan-Asian bibimbaps and bahn mis.
The concept of “farm-to-table” isn’t new for B.C. restaurants. What’s served from behind the wood is now also joining the sustainable locavore movement for a more complete offering. Brad Holmes, owner and executive chef at Olo in Victoria, has long been a vocal proponent of this movement, and his cocktail program reflects that. “Our whole restaurant is seasonal; the menu changes with what’s available on any given day and season. I always wanted to bring that to the bar. And now, with all of the great gins and vermouths and other local products, we can offer something that was grown in B.C., produced in B.C. and served in B.C.”
Justin Taylor has created a series of drinks designed to celebrate Vancouver
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.”
THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY: Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar 845 Burrard Street, Vancouver • 604-642.2900 BoulevardVancouver.ca