Cocktail Recipes from Local Bars

February 28th, 2012

Chambar | 1181 | Bao Bei | West

We are devoted fans of seriously crafted cocktails and have enjoyed many in our fair city. There’s something about a well-balanced drink – one which marries the spirit of choice to its mixer companion so they seem naturally united – that is beyond compare. Four local establishments have generously shared the recipes to their secret concoctions below which you can savour at home. Then head to these fun spots to compare your version with the real thing!

Courtesy of Chambar Restaurant

Chambar, with its cozy brick-lined interior, has been a perennial favourite since it opened in 2004. Its wide bar is the perfect place to cozy up for a casual bite – we highly recommend their Congolaise moules frites, the best mussels in town. These can be washed down with one of several Belgian brews or one of their signature cocktails, many with house-made syrups and interesting ingredients like peach bitters, and oven roasted fig infused gin. Bar manager Jacob Sweetapple happily shared the secrets to “Hogarth’s Mistake” below:

“Hogarth’s Mistake” at Chambar by Jacob Sweetapple, Bar Manager

60ml Bergamot infused Beefeater Gin (see recipe below)
15ml lemon oil and cinnamon syrup
1 lemon twist

How to Infuse Gin: Add 2 tbs of loose-leaf earl gray tea to a bottle of Beefeater Gin. Submerge the gin bottle in warm water and keep over a continuous heat of approximately 60 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and strain to remove tea leaves. Reserve.

How to make the syrup: Add the peel of 1 lemon along with 1 cinnamon stick to 1/2 litre of simple syrup and allow to sit for 24 hours.

Method: Place all ingredients into a Boston glass, top with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Courtesy of 1181

1181 is a fabulous alternative to the club scene on a Saturday night and a much more mellow after work option with lots of low-slung settees for lounging. Originally owned and designed by David Battersby and Heather Howat of BattersbyHowat architecture, the sleek and narrow interior evidences its lofty design pedigree. Recently, 1181 has changed hands and new owner Jennifer Mickey kindly shared their recipe for the “Shady and Tumultuous”:

“Shady and Tumultuous” at 1181


2 oz Sailor Jerry spiced rum
2 oz of Fentimans ginger beer
2 lime wedges, squeezed in
1 lime for garnish

Method: Combine ingredients. Serve on the rocks, garnished with a lime

Courtesy of Bao Bei

If you’ve ever wondered what a Chinese Brasserie might look like, head straight to Bao Bei for the answer – its quirky interior somehow manages to transport you out of Vancouver to a fictional world combining hipster with the best of Shanghai and a hint of Parisian Old World. Buzzy and busy since its opening in 2010, owner Tannis Ling has managed to create a hip spot to enjoy modern Chinese cuisine as well as cocktails. A former bartender at Chambar, she knows her beverages and has revealed the tricks to her “Chino Margarita” below:

“Chino Margarita” at Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie by Tannis Ling, Owner

2 oz dried tangerine peel infused reposado tequila*
1/2 oz sugar syrup**
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1 heaping tsp of grated ginger
1 egg white

For the rim:
1 piece of dried tangerine peel
1/2 tsp of chili flakes
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt

Method: Grind peel and chili flakes in spice grinder until smooth and blend with sugar and salt. Line rim of martini glass with lime wedge and dip in rim. Pour all ingredients into shaker with ice and shake until frothy. Double strain into glass.

*Dried tangerine peel can be found in any Asian grocery store. Pour out tequila into large enough container and put about 1 1/2 cups of peel in; wait 2 hours or until the colour resembles orange pekoe tea. Strain back into bottle.

**Sugar syrup is made with equal parts water and sugar. Melt sugar over medium heat until liquid becomes clear and let cool. Pour into sealed container. Syrup will last a month.

Madame Von Teese, Courtesy of West

West has been a staple of the Vancouver fine dining scene for years with their award-winning contemporary West Coast cuisine. Their cocktails are just as serious and delicious with several West Originals on offer, as well as a long list of classics. Their grown up menu and service are a delight – just as enjoyable and less formal at the bar. Bar Manager David Wolowidnyk’s “Madame von Teese” was inspired by Dita von Teese, the burlesque dancer, and is an “elegant, classy, complex, mysterious” invention, that is also “just a little naughty”:

“Madame Von Teese” at West by David Wolowidnyk, Bar Manager/Bartender, West Restaurant + Bar

1 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3 drops Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters
1/8 tsp Citric Acid (Granulated)
3/4 oz Brut Champagne
1 sprig thyme

Method: In a mixing glass, strip the leaves from the sprig of thyme, saving the tip for garnish. Pour in the Cointreau, Yellow Chartreuse, Cardamom Bitters, and Citric Acid. Add ice. Stir well to chill, double strain into a small cocktail coupe, top with Champagne, and garnish with the tip of the thyme sprig.

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