Summer is in full swing. My instagram feed is full of magic hour photos of patios, picnics and colourful cocktails. My real life feed is full of toddler trips to the beach, road trips with visiting family and when I can manage, a fancy cocktail or three. I love having folks for a bevvie on our deck. There’s nothing better than a tumbler full of quirky flavours spiked with some interesting spirits to mark the end of the day or the beginning of the weekend. I’ve been alternating my TGIF bevies between rose cordial spritzers and strong, extra sour mojitos. (The never ending pot of mint on our deck is a total enabler.)
Last year I interviewed some of Canada’s best bartenders for their favourite summer cocktail recipes and was completely inspired to up my host game. This summer, I decided to continue canvasing Canada’s cocktail stars to highlight the crazy talent we have in front of our bar stools from sea to sea to sea. Whether you love savoury sips with carrot garnishes or a rainbow twist on an old classic, I reckon you’ll swoon over the drink recipes below.
Winnipeg: Negroni Spritz
Highly recommended by Winnipeg restaurant scene blogger Mike Green, Forth, is known for it’s dual concept: the upstairs is a café/restaurant while the bottom is the bar complete with snack menu. According to Green, Forth is “a peach of a concept” in The Peg’s fashionable Exchange District with uber-drink-mensch-super-sibling bartender Josey Krahn concocting all kinds of loveliness.
A rocks glass
A ‘Y’ Peeler
1 ounce of Campari
1 ounce of Dolin Rouge Vermouth
Fill the rocks glass with ice and add the booze. Top with your favourite sparkling wine. Forth uses Cremant du Jura from Jean Bourdy but cava, prosecco or champagne works, too. Use the peeler to get an orange zest, express the oils over the glass and drop the zest into the drink.
Vancouver: Verre de Soleil
Fact: it rains in Vancouver. Another fact: Vancouver is one of the best dang cities to be when it’s not raining. But alas, sometimes the rain can feel like forever. When it stops, and the sun peaks out from the clouds, over buildings, and along the horizon. Soon, the sunshine floods the entire city! According to cocktail-slinger Katie Ingram at L’Abattoir, the Verre de Soleil is a summer sip inspired by that moment when all you want to do is capture that sunshine in a jar, and save it for a rainy day.
30mL Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
10-15mL Verjus Blanc
5mL Raspberry Purée*
15mL Lime Juice
15mL Grapefruit Juice
15mL Honey Water (1:1)*
2 dashes of Bittered Sling Kensington Dry Aromatic Bitters
90mL 33 Acres of Sunshine
Half lemon wheel and a mint sprig.
Combine all ingredients except for the beer into a mixing glass. Stir 20 rounds. Add the 33 Acres of Sunshine and stir five more times. Using a Hawthorne strainer, strain into a tall glass over ice. Add your garnishes, the lemon wheel and the mint sprig and a straw. If you don’t have any raspberry purée, feel free to muddle 4-5 raspberries into the mixing glass before adding the ingredients. Also: honey water is equal parts honey and water.
Vancouver: Pride Collins
Vancouver’s pride weekend is a cacophony of sequins and techno, bronzed bods and broads on bikes. It’s a boozey, brash party with over 650,000 attendees. The pride parade curls through the west end like a technicolour, happy snake, right by English Bay’s brand new Beach Bay Cafe and Patio on southern Denman Street. How better to celebrate than with a Pride Collins in hand, made by the handsome Adrian Lindner, in a restaurant perched on the edge of action? You betcha.
1 1/2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. lemon shrub*
1 oz. rhubarb syrup**
2 oz. soda water
1 small cucumber (thinly sliced for garnish)***
Like any good pride party hostess with the mosses this drink requires a bit of panache and planning…Combine 1 cup water with 1/2 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup red wine vinegar and the peel of 1 whole lemon in a pot. Bring to a boil then leave to cool overnight. Also, combine 1 cup chopped rhubarb with 1 cup simple syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently until fruit is soft and liquid has thickened slightly (approximately 20 minutes). Strain the mixture over a bowl and refrigerate. Cut cucumber lengthwise into thin strips with a vegetable peeler or mandolin.
The day of the party: Shake gin, lemon shrub and rhubarb syrup. Strain over ice into a cocktail glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with cucumber.
Vancouver: Wagon Rouge
Located in East Vancouver, bistro Wagon Rouge is the refined younger sibling to the eternally busy and delicious Red Wagon. Nestled amongst breweries and indie shops, Wagon Rouge is quirky and concise, focusing on classic French fare. Enter Lindsay Otto, a Calgary bird who migrated to Vancouver’s shores in 2010. Lindsay loves making natural tasting drinks to compliment dishes like steak frites or cassoulet. I can’t wait to
drink make a jug of this at home.
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Hot Water
1 cup Lavender
2 oz Odd Society Wallflower Gin
(makes 2 litres)
Lavender Lemonade: In a two litre carafe, prepare lemonade in advance. Dilute sugar in hot water, stir in lavender buds and let steep for 20 mins. Taste and steep longer if not to desired taste. Strain with cheese cloth and chill. Add in the juice of twelve lemons. Top with sparkling or still water and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Wagon Rouge: Pour Odd Society Spirits Wallflower Gin in a Collins glass, add ice, top with prepared lavender lemonade and stir gently. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Victoria: What’s Up Doc?
If you love your drinks a bit on the health side sort of, then Olo‘s What’s up Doc is your ideal bevvie on your ‘cheat day’. Victoria-based Chef Brad Holmes is known for making seasonal, gorgeous food, so why not extend that ethos to Olo’s drink program? What’s up Doc is the sort of cocktail you’d expect to order after a round of vinyasa yoga at a naughty juice bar. Namaste and drink up folks.
3/4 oz Doctor’s Order Gin
3/4 Sons of Vancouver Amaretto
1-1/2 oz of fresh, cold carrot juice
1 dash of Bittered Sling Moondog Bitters
Stir it up and serve up. Garnish with a carrot crisp and sprig of mint.
What’s your favourite summer beverage? Share a link or a recipe in the comments below.