Tag Archives: gin cocktails

Blueberry Gincident

Yahoo! The Calgary Stampede is here for the next 10 days. It’s a time of dressing western to day drink on sunny patios or inside hot tents. You could stick with beer, but if you have access to fresh BC blueberries and Parlour Gin from Eau Claire Distillery, this Blueberry Gincident cocktail is just the thing to cool you down while simultaneously firing you up for the rodeo.

The folks from the BC Blueberry Council were in town earlier this week to promote the province’s berry bounty, which is in stores right now. They dropped off a ton of berries, so I juiced some, added local gin, lemon juice and simple syrup, and topped it off with soda water. The resulting cocktail is berry sweet, tart and refreshing. Drink in moderation to avoid a “gincident.” Giddy up!

Cool down during Stampede week with this refreshing gin and blueberry juice cocktail.

Cool down during Stampede week with this refreshing gin and blueberry juice cocktail.

Blueberry Gincident

  • 1.5 oz Parlour Gin
  • 1 oz fresh blueberry juice
  • 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water)
  • Top soda water
  • Garnish: Mint sprig

Method: In a shaker combine gin, juices and syrup. Shake, then strain into a tall glass with ice. Top with soda water (about 1-2 oz, no more) and garnish with a mint sprig.

Aperol Sour

I’ve been enjoying Aperol this summer. It’s a bitter orange Italian aperitif that is best known in the Aperol Spritz (Aperol floated in Prosecco). Since Aperol is a gorgeous red-orange colour, I thought it would be nice in a cocktail on Canada Day.

Last summer Cilantro made the most amazing No. 3 Aperol Sour, which I wrote about for Avenue Magazine. Using that recipe as a guide, I made what I’m calling just an Aperol Sour. It’s light, sweet, tart and slightly bitter, and the most amazing shade of red. Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day calls for a red and white cocktail. The Aperol Sour is perfect!

Canada Day calls for a red and white cocktail. The Aperol Sour is perfect!

Aperol Sour

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 3/4 oz lemon-lime juice (fresh lemon and lime juice, combined)
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water)
  • 1/2 oz egg white
  • Garnish: 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Method: In a cocktail shaker combine gin, Aperol, citrus, syrup and egg white. Add ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe and garnish with Angostura bitters. If you’re a pro, shape them into a maple leaf!

Nelson’s Victory: Try this lovely brunch cocktail on Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, old and new. You deserve a great day filled with kind gestures and sweet indulgences. And nothing spoils Mom quite like a brunch cocktail to get her special day off on the right foot.

Here's to Mom!

Cheers to Mom!

I was introduced to the Nelson’s Victory cocktail at Whitehall, which is a new restaurant in Bridgeland that serves British cuisine, re-imagined. Whitehall also serves gin cocktails, re-imagined, and I love this light and fizzy creation that combines gin with Luxardo Maraschino, Cointreau and orange juice, topped off with Prosecco. It’s like a Mimosa on steroids, which sounds about right for Mother’s Day!

Nelson’s Victory

  • 1 oz Plymouth Gin
  • 1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • Top Prosecco

Method: Combine gin, Luxardo Maraschino, Cointreau and orange juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, then strain into a coup glass and top with Prosecco.

— Recipe courtesy Whitehall

Drink of the Week: Aeronautics

Alloy is an oft-overlooked oasis of dining awesomeness in the city’s southeast. It’s just a five-minute drive from Inglewood to the industrial park that houses Alloy, a fact that always makes me scratch my head over why we don’t dine there more often. Now we have another reason to visit: cocktails.

Alloy has given its bar a makeover and a new name — Back Bar — and brought in former Candela bartender Jake Hewitt to create a bar menu. The result is a small list that takes classics and gives them a modern twist. Do try the Smoked Old Fashioned, The Pullman (like a Sidecar, with rum) and the Aeronautics, which is Hewitt’s take on an Aviation. I couldn’t resist the colour of this gin-forward but well-balanced spring sip. The bar snacks, specifically the pulled pork belly slider, are delicious, too!

This gorgeous purple drink is Bar Bar's take on an Aviation cocktail.

This gorgeous purple drink is Back Bar’s take on an Aviation cocktail.


  • 1-1/2 oz Tanqueray gin
  • 1/4 oz Giffard’s Creme de Violette
  • 1/4 oz Ginja cherry liqueur
  • 2 lemon wedges, squeezed
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Method: Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until drink is well chilled. Strain into a coupe glass. Rim the glass with expressed lemon disk, then twist over drink and drop in.

— Recipe courtesy Jake Hewitt, Back Bar at Alloy

Drink of the Week: Blackberry & Mint G&T

The leaves are just past their peak, hinting at cold weather to come, but this sweet stretch of Indian summer calls for a gin and tonic! I propose this lovely berry twist on the classic, with a handful of mint from your outdoor planter before a killing frost claims it.

The taste of summer transitions to fall with the addition of Creme de Cassis.

The G&T taste of summer transitions to fall with the addition of Creme de Cassis.

Blackberry & Mint G&T

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 1/2 oz Creme de Cassis
  • 2 oz gin
  • Top tonic
  • Garnish: Two blackberries and a mint sprig

Method: In a tall glass, muddle mint leaves with lime and Creme de Cassis. Add gin, fill the glass with ice, then top with tonic. Stir. Garnish with two blackberries and a mint sprig.

Drink of the Week: Clover Club

One of the cool things about Calgary lately is it keeps opening these amazing restaurants and bars with fabulous cocktails. In recent memory there’s been Parc, followed by Proof and Pigeonhole. Now there’s Charbar in the East Village, which is practically in my backyard!

A couple weeks ago Blake and I biked there from Inglewood to check out the space and try some cocktails. We were blown away by the vista from the rooftop patio, which faces the Bow River and affords great views of The Bow (skyscraper) in one direction, and that new East Village bridge in the other.

Lovely view down the Bow River from the Charbar patio.

Lovely view down the Bow River from the Charbar patio.

We started out with some appies and loved the eggplant and quinoa chips and the tableside ceviche. Watching the ceviche being made-to-order at your table isn’t as exciting as watching tableside guacamole, but it’s just as tasty.

The server adds a dollop of tk to our tableside ceviche.

The server sprinkles some giant corn-nut-like kernels onto our tableside ceviche.

Parched from the bike ride, we also ordered some cocktails including the spirit-forward, martini-like Aldeano for me, and the Local Derby — a deliciously strong bourbon, grapefruit juice and agave nectar number — for Blake. Round two shook up a Last Word for Blake, who loves all-things-Green-Chartreuse, and a Clover Club for me.

This drink was new to me, but it’s a classic that pre-dates prohibition. I love sours, and I liked the colour and flavour that raspberries bring to the drink, which is named for a Philadelphia men’s club that was open from 1882 until the 1920s. It’s a good summer evening drink: light, tart, slightly sweet and pretty on the patio.

The Clover Club is kind of like a gin sour… with raspberries.

The Clover Club is kind of like a gin sour… with raspberries.

Clover Club

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 7 fresh raspberries
  • 1 egg white
  • Glass: Martini
  • Garnish: Raspberry

In a Boston shaker, add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and raspberries. Dry shake. Add ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a raspberry on the edge of the martini glass.

— Recipe courtesy Charbar

Drink of the Week: Earls Bees Knees

Ever since the bar at Earls switched over to fresh herbs, juices and house made syrups back in 2011, I have been a big fan of their cocktails. Beverage director Cameron Bogue refreshes the list every four months or so, and I had the opportunity to sample a selection of their summer sips at Earls Tin Palace in Mission last week.

The menu includes a great mix of classics such as a margarita, amaretto sour and even a re-imagined pina colada (with fresh watermelon). But it was the light, lemony taste of the Bees Knees, sweetened with honey and Cointreau, that seemed the most apropos for spring. And that glass! Too cute, and its contents are tasty to boot. You might say it’s the bee’s knees (sorry).

I love this spring cocktail. Gin, lemon juice and honey suits the season.

I love this spring cocktail. Gin, lemon juice and honey suits the season, plus the Cointreau is a nice touch. And how cute is that glass?

Earls Bees Knees

  • 3/4 oz honey syrup
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Hendricks gin
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: Lemon zest and a wooden honey dipper

Method: Measure all ingredients (except garnish) into a mixing glass and fill with ice. Top the mixing glass with a stainless steel shaking tin. Shake ingredients vigorously 12 times to mix. Strain the cocktail into a honey bear jar over fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon zest and a wooden honey dipper.

— Recipe courtesy Earls