Most cities have one—a signature cocktail that sings of a place. Calgary has the Caesar. Quebec City, the Habitant. And Vancouver—well, it has just that; the Vancouver. While recently lounging on slouchy cushions in Vancouver’s Market Bar in the Shangri-La Hotel, I had my first Vancouver. Little did I know this citrusy pink wonder has roots back to 1954 when the Sylvia Hotel opened the city’s first cocktail lounge. In fact, legend has it that the Vancouver was the last drink imbibed by actor Errol Flynn before he died in this West Coast city.
“There’s certainly a bit of history to this drink,” says Jay Jones, recent winner of the 2012 Grey Goose PourMaster’s Vancouver Competition and head barman at the Market, while adding a twist of orange zest to the chilled cocktail glass. “Its design is akin to the late1800s cocktail scene—it’s elegant, cool and chic. I like to use locally crafted Bittered Sling Orange & Juniper Bitters that add some homegrown integrity and pride to it. The original ingredients do not speak literally of Vancouver but I think to its style and subtle complexity—spiked with a bit of an Asian influence that now matches the city.
The Vancouver Recipe
1-1/2 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
3/4 oz Punt Mes
1/4 oz Benedictine liqueur
2 dashes Bittered Sling Orange & Juniper Bitters
Zested orange peel
Add all ingredients except orange peel to a mixing glass with ice, and stir until cold. Strain into chilled coupe cocktail glass. Zest the drink surface, wipe glass rim, place in glass.
Meet head barman Jay Jones at the Market most evenings where he’s happy to mix and muddle a Vancouver, a Sazerac, an Old-Fashioned or any of the 30-odd other drinks he’s created since he joined the Shangri-La 20 months ago. If you’re in Vancouver at the end of July, try to nab a ticket to Tales of the Cocktail—five days of seminars, competitions and tastings. You’ll find Jones behind some bar, creating inventive concoctions.