Head bartender Justin Taylor is in his third year of barrel-aging cocktails and has a rotating list of a Black Walnut Manhattan, The Vancouver, Negroni, Devil’s Advocate and Temptation. He’s also currently aging vodka from Yaletown’s Long Table Distillery. Taylor takes a D.I.Y approach to bottled cocktails and the 'We Make It Yew Shake It' whisky sour comes in a mason jar and is a mix of house-spiced whiskey, house bitters, cane sugar and egg whites. Just shake it yourself in the jar and voila! You’ve got a bottled cocktail.
The Vancouver, The Distillery Bar
Yaletown Distilling Company just launched their new Still Vodka and Sloe Gin, and you’ll find their original gin in the classic Vancouver bottled cocktail mixed with Punt e Mes, Bénédictine and orange bitters. The team worked with L’Abbatoir’s Shaun Layton to develop the bottled cocktail range, which also includes a Mojito with Havana 3 rum, fresh lime, simple syrup and mint that is bottled and then topped with soda to serve; and an Aperol Spritz, which includes prosecco and is also topped up with soda before serving.
Apple Cart, UVA
Lauren Mote, the mixologist behind the cocktail-friendly Bittered Sling Extracts and newly appointed bar manager at UVA, favours large-scale bottling for her inventively-named cocktails.
Lauren is introducing two single-serve bottled seasonal sips: the Apple Cart is a tasty mix of calvados, apple cider, soured PX cordial, Aperol, Zingiber and crab apple bitters, and the Egg Nog is a Christmas concoction of spiced rum, whole milk, egg, smoked syrup, Amontillado sherry and Malagasy chocolate bitters.
Lauren has consulted at Vancouver’s Burdock & Co to create a bottled Vieux Boreal cocktail of rye, sweet vermouth and maple cocktail with wild aromatics, which is bottled in small apothecary-style jars.
Bar manager David Wolowidnyk created two barrel-aged gin cocktails, a Martinez and Negroni, and currently serves three single-serve bottled cocktails: his original Geishagave (tequila, sake, jasmine green tea, fresh lime and jalapeno), Gingerly (gin, Mandarin orange juice, ginger and fresh lemon) and a variation on a classic – the Grapefruit Boulevardier (grapefruit peel infused bourbon, sweet vermouth and Aperol).
Corpse Reviver #2, La Pentola
Head bartender Martin Corriveau echoes the Northern Italian influence of La Pentola’s cuisine in his choice of Campari for the barrel-aged whiskey-based Boulevardier and his bottled Corpse Reviver #2 is a 1930s classic of triple sec, Lillet, gin and absinthe. Corriveau has plans to introduce a bottled Singapore Sling next year using the traditional 1920s colonial recipe of sloe gin, London dry gin, Bénédictine and Heering Cherry.
Calypso, Hawksworth Cocktail Bar
Head bartender Cooper Tardivel has combined barrel-ageing techniques with bottle-conditioning to create rum-based Calypso bottled cocktails for two. Best of all? You can take the antique style bottle home afterwards as a keepsake. The limited run of small-batch cocktails will soon be extended with barrel-aged and bottle-conditioned Lucien Gaudin (gin, French vermouth, Campari, Cointreau) and El Matador (bourbon, cynar, port, curacao and absinthe) appearing on the menu.
Milk & Honey #8, Keefer Bar
Danielle Tatarin, bar manager of The Keefer Bar, was one of the originators of the bottled cocktail. When the Keefer opened in 2010, Danielle featured the original Milk & Honey on the menu, before later developing it into a bottled beverage to fit into her ‘apothecary’ theme for the cocktail list. The Milk & Honey #8 single-serve bottled cocktail is a soothing mix of Southern Comfort, Jack Daniel’s, Nigori sake, almond milk and honey syrup.
Vancouver bars are bottling beverages and cocktails, which means there are all-new ways for drink enthusiasts to enjoy a beverage
Champagne, bubble bath, perfume – the best presents come in a bottle. And now, thanks to BC bartenders finding a new whimsical way of serving up seasonal drinks, we can also add bottled cocktails to the list.
Bottled cocktails and their good friend barrel-aged beverages are actually a hangover from the pre-Prohibition days, when barmen would travel between New York and Chicago and needed to cart their cocktails around with them in case local bars didn’t carry the required liquor.
With seven Vancouver bars serving up a thoroughly modern mix of classic recipes and new inventions, this holiday season is the perfect time to hit the bottle.
Amy Watkins is a British writer who fell in love with Vancouver when she visited on an assignment and then moved here. She writes about travel for national UK publications and writes BCLiving's weekly events column.