If you’ve visited any of Toronto’s buzziest bars in the past few years, chances are your libations have been courtesy of Evelyn Chick. The top bartender has done her time at the Harbord Room, Bar Raval and, most recently, Parkdale’s PrettyUgly, where she is bar manager and helped introduce its menu of non-alcoholic “placebo” cocktails that mimic the taste and smell of a regular drink.
The B.C. native has blazed trails with her outside-the-box beverages, and now she’s leading the way for other women in the field. “Women in the industry have worked as hard as their male counterparts for decades, and it’s nice to see them finally getting recognized for their achievements,” she says. “The more we bring up other women in the industry, the stronger this community gets.” Chick is part of the crew spearheading Speed Rack Canada, an-all female bartending competition that raises money for Rethink Breast Cancer. This year’s finals will hit Toronto on May 27.
Chick’s perfect martini is two parts gin to one part vermouth, with a dash of orange bitters and an orange twist. Stock up on her essentials and you’ll be able to customize it to your liking. All you need? “Good ingredients and some tender loving care,” she says.
1. Plymouth Gin
“To me, this is a perfect martini gin. Juniper heavy, with a great mouth feel and a balance of coriander and citrus elements.”
Plymouth Gin, $44.95/750mL at LCBO in Ontario.
2. Guerra Dry Vermouth
“This has just the right amount of herbaceousness and is dry, rooty and floral.”
Guerra Dry Vermouth, $17.95/750mL at Azureau Wines.
3. Bittered Sling orange bitters
“These orange and juniper bitters are local [to Toronto], and they accentuate the flavours of the gin so perfectly.”
Bittered Sling orange and juniper bitters, $26.95 at Cocktail Emporium.
4. Martini glass
“The curvature of the glass makes for the aromatics to shine through no matter what garnish you choose to use. Make sure to chill this first – cold drinks in cold vessels!”
Ralph Lauren Broughton martini glass, $150 at Hopson Grace.
“I like to use large navel oranges because the rind gives the most oil and flavour.”
Navel oranges, $2.99/lb. at Pusateri’s Fine Foods.
6. Mixing spoon
“A teardrop mixing spoon is easy to grip and it won’t poke you in the eye.”
Stainless Steel bar spoon, $18 at at Cocktail Emporium.
7. Julep cocktail strainer
“This is a perfect tool to hold the ice back without aerating the drink, which allows for a smoother martini.”
Stainless steel julep strainer, $16 at Cocktail Emporium.
8. Pitted Manzanilla olives
“For those who like a bit of salt and brine to complement their drinks instead of sweetness.”
Unico pitted Manzanilla olives, $2.29 at Loblaws.
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