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Christmas cocktails from Vancouver's mixologists

Christmas in Manhattan Cocktail at the YEW bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver November 30, 2011.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Cocktail: Christmas in Manhattan

Venue: YEW at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver (791 West Georgia St.; 604-689-9333)

Creator: Justin Taylor

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1½ ounces Rittenhouse 100-proof bonded rye whiskey

1 ounce Dubonnet rouge

½ ounce nocino

3 dashes Angostura bitters

Flamed orange oil


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Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice, gently stir and strain into a martini glass. Take a fresh, twisted orange peel, light on fire and drop into the glass.


Take 24 green walnuts, wash in lukewarm water, quarter them and place on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with two cups organic cane sugar, cover with plastic wrap and rest for 12 hours. Place walnuts in an airtight container (sugar included) with one cinnamon stick, the zest of one orange, three cloves and two dried fruits of star anise. Cover ingredients with a litre of vodka and seal tightly. Place the container near or on a windowsill and gently shake daily. After three months, strain the ingredients and run the liquid through a coffee filter to extract any particles. Take the liquid and blend with an equal amount of simple sugar (two parts water, one part sugar). It should now turn dark green. Bottle in a dark wine bottle and store in a dark, cool place for a minimum of two months. The longer it ages, the better. The nocino can be used in this recipe, enjoyed on its own with espresso or drizzled over vanilla ice cream.

Cocktail: Caribbean Snowbird

Venue: Calabash Bistro (428 Carrall St.; 604-568-5882)

Creator: Jason Browne

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1¾ ounces infused Appleton rum

½ ounce Giffard Banane de Brasil liqueur (normal banana liqueur will suffice)

1 ounce roasted pineapple juice

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. allspice syrup


Place all ingredients in a mixing tin, shake for 10 seconds, strain into a short glass over ice. Garnish with a big twist of orange peel and a cinnamon stick.

Infused Rum:

Take a full bottle of rum add one freshly split vanilla pod and a length of orange peel. Infuse for a week. (You can use this for loads of other things after, as it's delicious.)

Roasted Pineapple Juice:

Take a whole pineapple, peel and cut into quarters lengthways. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or so until it starts to brown. Allow to cool and then put through a juicer. (You can also use normal pineapple juice -- this just adds a bit more flavour.)

Allspice Syrup:

Crush tablespoon of allspice berries and heat gently with one cup sugar and seven ounces water. Simmer for 10 minutes, allow to cool, then strain and bottle. (It'll keep for months.)

Cocktail: The Burnt Almond

Venue: The Sylvia Hotel (1154 Gilford St.; 604-681-9321)

Creator: Jim McMillan


1 ounce vodka

½ ounce Kahlua

½ ounce amaretto

Dash of espresso vodka

4 ounces milk


Combine the contents with ice in a martini shaker and shake vigorously. Pour contents (including ice) into a cocktail glass and garnish with shaved chocolate and a cinnamon stick.

Cocktail: Three Kings

Venue: Xi Shi Lounge at the Shangri-la Hotel Vancouver (1128 W. Georgia St.; 604-689-1120)

Creator: Jay Jones


1½ ounces Remy Martin VSOP

½ ounce Trader Vic's macadamia nut liqueur

¾ ounce Taylor Fladgate 20-year-old tawny port

Guinettes cherry


Combine all three components in a cocktail mixing vessel with large ice cubes. Gently stir for 15 to 20 seconds. Strain into a small, stemmed wine or liqueur glass and sink a small brandied cherry in the finished drink, as a garnish.

Cocktail: Blood and Sand

Venue: Black + Blue (1032 Alberni St.; 604-637-0777)

Creator: Adapted by Chris Ballas

Ingredients:¾ ounce Famous Grouse¾ ounce cherry brandy¾ ounce Martini Rosso¾ ounce orange juice

Method:Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass (also works well on the rocks). Take a fresh, twisted orange peel and light on fire. Drop peel into the glass to give the cocktail a more complex flavour.

Cocktail: Don't Let the Bells End

Venue: Cascade Room (2616 Main St.; 604-709-8650)

Creator: Nick Devine


2 ounces Beefeater gin

½ juiced lime

1 Tbsp. sweetened cranberry sauce


Shake hard and fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Shave fresh nutmeg on top. Garnish with a sparkly bow around the stem of the glass.

Cocktail: Nuremberg's Turn

Venue: Uva Wine Bar (900 Seymour St.; 604-632-9560)

Creator: David Bain


¾ ounce Ardbeg 10-year-old

4½ ounces smoked five-spice simple syrup

4 ounces fresh lemon juice

4 ounces hot water

The zest of a large orange that has been soaked in 7 ounces of Collingwood Canadian blended whiskey for at least 48 hours


Boil hot water, add to all other ingredients, cool and rest for 24 hours. Remove peels and serve hot or cold

Five-Spice Simple Syrup:

Toast two cloves, five juniper berries, six allspice berries, a pinch of coriander seeds, and one vanilla bean pod. Add two cups water and one cup sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cool and strain.

Cocktail: Tipsy Nick

Venue: Cento Notti at OPUS Hotel Vancouver (350 Davie St.; 604-642-0557)


1 ¼ ounces Basil Hayden's small-batch bourbon

¾ ounce Cointreau

1 ounce fresh pressed apple juice

½ ounce fresh lemon juice

½ ounce cinnamon-infused simple syrup

½ ounce egg white


Mix all ingredients, shake hard and strained into an old-fashioned glass over ice

Cinnamon Simple Syrup:

In a small saucepan, add two cups water and four cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes and strain out cinnamon sticks. Bring back to a boil, add 1 11/2 cups sugar and stir until dissolved.

Cocktail: Rudolph's Reigns

Venue: Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Pacific Rim (1038 Canada Place; 604-695-5502)

Creator: Max Borrowman


1 1/4 ounce brandy

1/3 ounce Campari

½ ounce Benedictine

1 ¼ ounce Mendoza Malbec red wine

½ ounce honey syrup

Grated cinnamon garnish

Cherry garnish


Shake all ingredients, strain out on the ice and add garnishes.

Cocktail: Bourbon Milk Punch

Venue: The Diamond (6 Powell St.;

Creator: Adapted by Josh Pape


2 ounces Bourbon

1½ ounces milk (or cream, if you're feeling indulgent)

1/3 ounce vanilla syrup

1/3 ounce honey (runny)


Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into a small rocks glass, without ice.

Dust with cinnamon. Enjoy.

Cocktail: Gassy Jack Flip

Venue: L'Abattoir (217 Carrall St.; 604-568-1701)

Creator: Shaun Layton


1 ounce Sazerac rye

1 ounce Ron Zacapa 23-year solera rum

1/3 ounce cynar

½ ounce fresh lemon juice

3 dashes Bitter Truth xocotal mole bitters

1 whole egg

½ ounce Brooklyn Block chocolate stout syrup

Grated nutmeg


Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and quickly shake without ice. Add ice and shake hard. Fine strain into a Christmas mug of choice and top with freshly grated nutmeg.

Black chocolate stout syrup:

Pour a bottle of stout into a pot. Add equal parts sugar and ¼ part bourbon. Stir to release carbonation. Heat for 10 minutes over medium heat, ensuring the beer doesn't foam over. Cool, spoon off excess foam, strain into a glass bottle and refrigerate until needed.

Cocktail: Dark Angel

Venue: Chambar (562 Beatty St.; 604-879-7119)

Creator: Jacob Sweetapple


1 ounce hazelnut-infused sweet vermouth

½ ounce Amaro Montenegro

½ ounce Remy Martin VSOP

¼ ounce sugar syrup

3 dashes Angostura orange bitters

6 coffee beans


In a mixing glass, crush coffee beans and then incorporate all the other ingredients. Top with ice and stir for 30 seconds. Double strain the mixture into a rocks glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Hazelnut-infused sweet vermouth:

Roast one cup of hazelnuts and combine with a bottle of sweet vermouth. Rest for one week.

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About the Author
Vancouver restaurant critic

Alexandra Gill has been The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver restaurant critic since 2005. She joined the paper as a summer intern in 1997 and was hired full-time as an entertainment columnist the following year. In 2001, she moved to Vancouver as the Western Arts Correspondent, a position she held until 2007. More

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