I recently met some girlfriends at West Restaurant for cocktails, canapes and a catch up. Have you been to West? It’s awesome!
The force behind their impeccable “contemporary regional cuisine” is executive chef and culinary wunderkind Quang Dang, who’s artistry in the kitchen (check out the decadent platter we nibbled on, pictured below) is second only to his passion for using seasonal and sustainable ingredients.
Turning our attention to the bar, led by bar manager David Wolowidnyk (2012 World’s Most Imaginative Bartender), we perused their seasonal cocktail lineup (pictured below), with clever twists on tasty classics and original, creative concoctions.
I like a spirit-forward cocktail so I started with the Harvest Cocktail (pictured at top left), created by Wolowidnyk. It was delicious and totally up my alley with its mix of rich apple Calvados, an aperitif-style cider from Vancouver Island’s Sea Cider, and peaty, smoky single malt whiskey.
I also tried the Old Man Winter cocktail (pictured at top right), created by bartender Sabrine Dedden, who was working behind the bar that night. Equally up my alley, this cocktail is a seasonal twist on my usual drink of choice, the Negroni, and features spiced whiskey, Campari, vermouth and bitters from the awesome local company Bittered Sling.
Dedden and Wolowidnyk were kind enough to share their recipes with us! Happy holidays!
And if you don’t feel like making your own cocktails, get yourself to West – they’re located at 2881 Granville Street, Vancouver.
- 1 oz Calvados
- 1 oz Sea Cider Pommeau
- 1/4 oz Giffard caramel liqueur
- 2 dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashion Bitters
- 1 rinse Ardbeg 10 Years Old
- Rinse a chilled coupe cocktail glass with Ardbeg single malt whiskey.
- Combine the Calvados, Pommeau, caramel liqueur and bitters, and stir with ice.
- Strain into cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a slice of fresh apple (West serves theirs with delicate apple slices cut into stars!).
Old Man Winter
- 1 oz Spicebox Genuine Canadian Whiskey (infused with vanilla, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg)
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth
- 1/4 oz Baking spice and chili syrup (see recipe below)
- 1 dash Bittered Sling Moondog Bitters
- Chill an Old Fashioned glass.
- Combine the whisky, Campari, Vermouth, syrup and bitters, and stir with ice.
- Strain over new ice into glass.
- Garnish with orange zest.
Baking spice and chili syrup
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- 9 green cardamom pods
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 12 whole cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed cayenne pepper flakes
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- Slice vanilla pod in half and scrape out the inside.
- Muddle green cardamom slightly just to open up the pods.
- Place the vanilla scrapings, pod and all other ingredients into saucepan with 2 cups of water.
- Bring to a simmer and allow to reduce to 1 cup of liquid.
- Strain off all spices and reserve flavoured water.
- Combine flavoured water with sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Once cooled to room temperature, refrigerate in an airtight container.