Five of Canada’s Best New Cocktails

After having tackled Canada’s Best New Restaurants for nearly two decades, Air Canada enRoute decided to track down the nation’s best new bars. We asked this year’s winners to share with us some of their top cocktail recipes.

Life of Calendula

Developed by Guy Stowell, co-owner of Tocador, Vancouver

“With a base of homemade limoncello, this refreshing cocktail is the perfect palate cleanser before a meal. We infuse calendula flower into a simple syrup, and we make a chamomile essence that we spray over our cocktail just before serving. It’s like aromatherapy in a glass.” – Guy Stowell

1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 oz egg white
0.75 oz calendula syrup
0.5 oz El Jimador Tequila Reposado
0.5 oz homemade limoncello
Chamomile spray
Calendula flowers
Mango chip

Directions: Dry shake all the ingredients until frothy. Add ice and shake again to cool. Finely strain the mixture into a tumbler filled with ice. Spray with chamomile essence. Garnish with dried calendula flowers and a dehydrated mango chip.

Immortal Holding a Peach

Developed by Shaun Hicks, former bartender of Little Hong Kong, Edmonton

“Named after a Chinese painting, this cocktail was inspired by the Ramos Gin Fizz, a labour-intensive New Orleans classic that required a 15-minute shake. Our version is creamy, silky, peachy and a little sour, with deep notes of bourbon and just a touch of rosewater. It also packs an umami punch thanks to our homemade miso caramel. It’s the ideal nightcap.” – Andre Bober, bar manager

1 whole egg
1.5 oz Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1.5 oz peach liqueur
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz heavy cream
1 tsp miso caramel
2 drops of rosewater
Topped with soda

Directions: Shake all the ingredients (except soda) with a single ice cube for a few seconds to whip up the egg. Add a second cube and shake vigorously for two minutes until the ice has almost completely dissolved. Strain into a tall glass. Add soda to the shaker and top up the glass until the foam forms a meniscus. Serve without garnish.

Something Like Paradise

Developed by Richard Pope, Mulberry Bar, Toronto

“This woodsy Canadian drink is a riff on a gin martini. Pine liqueur has a tendency to overpower everything, but the juniper in Dillon’s Dry Gin from Ontario balances it well.” – Richard Pope, owner

1 oz Dillon’s Dry Gin
0.5 oz Briottet fir liqueur
0.5 oz Cocchi Americano
0.25 oz Ciane or Suze
0.25 oz verjus
Lemon zest

Directions: Combine the ingredients in a coupe glass and stir with a bar spoon. Zest a lemon and twist the peel over the coupe. Garnish with the twisted lemon peel.

The Big Lift

Developed by Riley Maggs, former bartender at The Watch That Ends the Night, Dartmouth

“I came up with this recipe when the McDonald Bridge in Halifax was closed as part of a project called the Big Lift, hence the name. It’s a refreshing and complex drink prepared with products I love, like Plantation Stiggins’ pineapple rum and the prickly pear eau-de-vie from Eau Claire Distillery, just outside of Calgary. The glass is rinsed with Cruzan blackstrap molasses rum for a maple touch that ties everything together.” – Riley Maggs

1.5 oz Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum
0.75 oz Nova Scotia honey syrup (2 parts Nova Scotia honey, 1 part hot water)
0.75 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
0.5 oz Eau Claire Distillery Prickly Pear EquineOx
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Cruzan Black Strap Rum rinse
Dehydrated lemon wheel

Directions: Combine all the ingredients (except Cruzan) into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Rinse a cocktail glass with a small amount of Cruzan Black Strap Rum. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass and garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel.

Five Alive

Developed by Tao Zrafi, beverage director of Nhậu Bar, Montreal

“This bright and slightly spicy cocktail is an interpretation of how Canadian ingredients mix with Asian flavours. The togarashi tincture is made by infusing alcohol with togarashi – a mix of red pepper flakes, dried mandarin peels, black pepper and sesame seeds. We hit the Canadian note with a sea buckthorn syrup made by Montreal’s Les Charlatans.” – Tao Zrafi

2 oz soju
2 oz five-citrus mix (2 parts lemon juice, 2 parts blood orange juice, 2 parts mandarin juice, 1 part lime juice and ½ part kalamansi juice)
1 oz Les Charlatans Sea Buckthorn Syrup
5 drops togarashi tincture
Dehydrated citrus wheels
Thai basil

Directions: Combine the ingredients in a shaker or a pitcher (you can make a big batch ahead of time for your next party). Mix the ingredients together with pebble ice. Serve in a Collins glass over crushed ice for a snow-cone effect. Garnish with dehydrated citrus wheels and Thai basil.

Canada's Best New Bars 2018