drink recipes

Recipes: Holiday Cocktails from West Restaurant

Holiday Cocktail Recipes | West Restaurant | The Life Delicious The Harvest Cocktail, left, and Old Man Winter, two of the seasonal cocktails currently available at Vancouver's West Restaurant.

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.

West Restaurant Canapes | The Life Delicious

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.

West Restaurant Seasonal Cocktail Menu | The Life Delicious

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.

Harvest Cocktail



  1. Rinse a chilled coupe cocktail glass with Ardbeg single malt whiskey.
  2. Combine the Calvados, Pommeau, caramel liqueur and bitters, and stir with ice.
  3. Strain into cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a slice of fresh apple (West serves theirs with delicate apple slices cut into stars!).

Old Man Winter



  1. Chill an Old Fashioned glass.
  2. Combine the whisky, Campari, Vermouth, syrup and bitters, and stir with ice.
  3. Strain over new ice into glass.
  4. 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


  1. Slice vanilla pod in half and scrape out the inside.
  2. Muddle green cardamom slightly just to open up the pods.
  3. Place the vanilla scrapings, pod and all other ingredients into saucepan with 2 cups of water.
  4. Bring to a simmer and allow to reduce to 1 cup of liquid.
  5. Strain off all spices and reserve flavoured water.
  6. Combine flavoured water with sugar and stir until dissolved.
  7. Once cooled to room temperature, refrigerate in an airtight container.


Recipes: See Ya Later Hunny Punch and Juicy Soda Can Chicken

See Ya Later Hunny Punch Being outside in the sun, celebrating life with good food, good drinks and great company is my version of heaven.

Last weekend we had some wonderful friends over for a BBQ and tried some summery recipes that the amazing folks at YEW Restaurant + Bar shared with me [check out my recent post on this fabulous, sustainable restaurant here].

The food and drinks were a hit, I hope you’ll enjoy them too!

Justin Taylor's See Ya Later Hunny Punch

This cocktail recipe (pictured above) comes from YEW’s super talented bartender Justin Taylor, and features See Ya Later Ranch’s 2011 Hunny Late Harvest Riesling, which was named Best Dessert Wine at last year’s BC Wine Awards.

Add some gin, Campari and ruby red grapefruit juice to the mix and you’ve got yourself a seriously refreshing drink!

Serves 10


  • 2 cups See Ya Later Hunny
  • 2 cups gin
  • 1 cup Campari
  • 4 cups freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice


  1. Mix ingredients together in a pitcher or bowl and serve in your favourite patio glassware over ice.

Ned Bell’s Juicy Soda Can Chicken

Ned Bell's juicy soda can chicken

I’m terrible at multitasking when it comes to preparing food and chatting with my guests, so I’m usually running around in a panic at the last minute trying to get everything ready before they arrive.

In my haste, I forgot a few key ingredients for the following chicken recipe, which is care of YEW’s brilliant and wonderful executive chef Ned Bell. His juicy soda can chicken calls for a can of soda water to set the upright chicken over top of. I forgot to buy that. His accompanying BBQ vinaigrette calls for molasses and malt vinegar. I forgot to buy those too.

Fortunately there were still plenty of ingredients that I did have on hand, and the chicken still turned out juicy and flavourful, with deliciously crunchy skin.

Instead of sitting the birds on a can and baking them, I split them along the frontal plane (so both breasts and wings were on one piece, and the legs, thighs and backbone were on the other – pictured above) and barbecued them for 80 minutes on low, flipping each piece over every 20 minutes (I’m paranoid about undercooking chicken so I err on the side of overdone, especially when feeding guests).


  • 1 whole organic chicken
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 can soda water
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed in the skin
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 3 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Stuff the chicken cavity with the cut lemon, herbs and garlic, and then with the open can of soda water.
  3. Stand the chicken up in a deep casserole dish and bake for 1 hour.
  4. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, to prepare the BBQ vinaigrette, remove the soda can from the chicken cavity and combine the contents with the pan juices, molasses, and vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced and syrupy.
  7. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and squeeze in the lemon halves from the chicken cavity.

Bell suggests serving the chicken with asparagus, golden spuds and yams tossed in olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper, grilled on the BBQ – as well as grilled bread to soak up all the juices.


*For my panicked version of this recipe, I just smeared the birds with a mixture of thyme, rosemary, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper and lemon juice.