Mi Luz

Mi Luz means “My Light” in Spanish and pays homage to the light within that burns strong when everyone stands tall and together. Talia Kleinplatz photo

• 2 oz Bacardi Añejo Cuatro rum
• 0.75 oz Martini Bianco vermouth
• 0.25 oz rich apple demerara syrup (see note)
• 2 dashes Scrappy’s Seville Orange Bitters
• 2 to 3 spritzes of salted caraway solution (see note)

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Bamboo

Bamboo cocktail. Istockphoto.com photo

Nobody really knows the back story of this sherry-based cocktail from the 19th century, but we do know that it quenches our thirst for all things low-proof and lightly bittered.

• 1.5 oz dry sherry
• 1.5 oz dry vermouth
• 1 dash Angostura bitters
• 1 dash orange bitters

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Amour for amaro

The Alchemist’s tasting panel revels in the complexities of made-in-B.C. amaros, vermouths and aperitifs

The lineup (l to r): Long Table Distillery’s Linnaeus Amaro No. 1, de Vine’s Moderna Vermouth, The Woods Spirit Co’s Pacific Northwest Amaro, Goodrich and Williams’ Bitterhouse Rubato, Bitterhouse DaMan and Bitterhouse LaDame aperitifs, Legend Distilling’s Naramaro amaro, Odd Society’s Mia Amata amaro and Bittersweet Vermouth. Dan Toulgoet photo

Consider them the supporting actors of the cocktail world: complex, helpful and a little bitter. Vermouths, aperitifs and amaros are typically fortified wines—though some are sweet enough to be considered liqueurs—flavoured with botanicals such as citrus peel, spices, roots and herbs. They typically have a somewhat bitter profile, hence the name “amaro,” which means bitter in Italian.

It takes a sophisticated palate to appreciate a good bitter drink, so not too surprisingly, Vancouver bartenders were eager to sample the best of B.C. amaros. We sat down with Alex Black of Tableau Bar Bistro, Amber Bruce of The Keefer Bar, cocktail consultant Sabrine Dhaliwal, Robyn Gray of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia and The Botanist’s Jeff Savage to get at the bitter truth.

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Blueberry Gin Smash

• 1.5 oz Queensborough Gin
• 0.5 oz dry vermouth
• 0.5 oz maple syrup
• 2 dashes aromatic bitters
• 5 fresh blueberries
• 3 lime wedges
• 1 mint sprig
• Tonic water

Add bitters, blueberries and limes into the glass and muddle them. Add Queensborough gin and dry vermouth and stir. Add ice cubes and top up with tonic. Add some crushed ice to the top of the glass and garnish with some blueberries and mint.

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Hanky Panky

The Hanky Panky. Jennifer Gauthier photo

This classic cocktail was created by Ada Coleman, circa 1903, London. 

• 1 oz Beefeater London Dry Gin
• 1 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino (or other sweet vermouth)
• 2 dashes Fernet Branca

Chill a coupe glass with water and ice. In a mixing glass, add ingredients with ice and stir gently for about 20 seconds. Strain into the coupe and garnish with a slice of orange peel. Serves 1.

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Ambrosia

Mia Glanz’s Ambrosia. RD Cane photo.

Created by Mia Glanz

INGREDIENTS:
• 1.5 oz Odd Society Wallflower Gin
• 0.5 oz Sheringham Akvavit
• 0.4 oz Martini Bianco Vermouth infused with vanilla (see note)
• 0.25 oz Rose Wintergreen syrup
• 0.5 oz citric acid
• 4 dashes Dillon’s ginseng bitters
• Garnish: Lemon zest

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The Last Word: A classic Bronx

A classic Bronx, shaken the Nick and Nora way. Dan Toulgoet photo, taken at D/6 Bar & Lounge, Parq Vancouver.

“The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to foxtrot time, a Bronx to two-step time, but a dry martini you always shake to waltz time.”

Nick Charles (William Powell) covers the essentials in the 1934 classic movie The Thin Man.

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