Inside Vancouver’s Sixth Annual Christmas Cocktail Crawl Goes Global

Words by Sonu Purhar | Photos edited by Nicole Havers

Manhattan. The Toronto. French 75. The Vancouver (natch). Wherever your imbibing pleasures take you, we guarantee you’ve bumped into a global cocktail.

But the world is a big place. And that’s why, for this year’s Christmas Cocktail Crawl, we’ve travelled from Vancouver to Peru, London, Paris, New York and Toronto – all without leaving our glasses. From newly crafted originals to lesser-known standbys, here are five global cocktails guaranteed to satisfy your wanderlust.

photo: Janis Nicolay

London Calling | Cascade Room

Setting the scene  Bedecked with dazzling Christmas lights and warmed by digital fireplaces – as well as the cozy warmth of happy revellers – Cascade Room evokes all the boozy Christmas cheer of the UK’s best pubs. Inspired by the unrivalled class and complexity of London, Bar Manager Yonah Sweetapple concocted this clean and citrusy gin-based drink that would fit nicely into the hands of a 21st century James Bond. Apricot brandy, noilly pratt, cherry bitters and a lemon-sugar rim sweeten the deal, as will the six holiday cocktails now featured on Cascade Room’s cascading cocktail menu.

Holiday intel  General Manager and bartender extraordinaire Justin Taylor has crafted a simple yet decadent Hot Buttered Rum mix that makes for the perfect stocking stuffer (you can purchase it directly from the restaurant). The best part? All proceeds go to the Fawkes Academy, which offers programs for children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities.

photo: Tiffany Sloan

Side Road in Lima 14 | Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio

Setting the scene  This cocktail comes with an intricately woven story best relayed by the Ancora bar team once you’ve taken the first, utterly satisfying sip. Suffice it to say, you’ll listen rapt as you’re taken along for a harrowing ride down the Northern Andes (the region that produces pisco, which builds this drink’s base); then back to Vancouver and over two bridges to North Vancouver (home to Sons of Vancouver Distillery, which crafts the drink’s honey-and-fruit flavoured amaretto); and finally along a dusty road in which lurks a bushel of fiery peppers (lending its spicy notes to the ancho-cayenne sugared rim).

Holiday intel  Ancora is hosting the ultimate New Year’s Eve bash featuring a special Champagne and Caviar menu, as well as live music and additional festive fun.

The Six | Royal Dinette

Setting the scene  Though Vancouver and Toronto share an infamous rivalry, it’s (mostly) a friendly one – and this cocktail by Bar Manager Kaitlyn Stewart expertly bridges the gap between the 604 and Toronto’s six boroughs. The drink hits all the right patriotic tasting notes with Lot 40 Canadian rye, Okanagan Spirits blueberry liqueur and locally grown citrus. Equally appealing to aficionados and cocktail newbies alike, The Six is a testament to Canada’s killer cocktail scene.

Holiday intel  Royal Dinette turns the calendar to 2017 with six- and nine-course dinner seatings featuring the restaurant’s trademark farm-to-table fare, including beach angel oysters, sake kasu marinated sablefish and dry-aged beef rib.

New York Sour | Gotham

Setting the scene  When one is at Gotham, one asks Head Bartender Barry Jackson for his spot-on New York Sour – the sultry, multi-hued drink pairs perfectly with this sleek, sexy and delightfully dark space. During Christmas season, the crimson and black main room sparkles with red lights and a crackling digital fireplace presiding over the lounge. Take a sip, feel the rich flavours of red wine, whisky and lemon cascade around your mouth, and close your eyes – this is the moment of escape.

Holiday intel  Take refuge from the holiday madness at Gotham’s ultra-chill “Social Hour” – a deejay spins old-school R&B, funk and jazz daily between 3.30pm and 6.30pm.

The Rose | L’Abattoir

Setting the scene  In Prohibition-era Paris, partiers gravitated toward The Rose, a cheerful pink cocktail made with vermouth, cherry bitters and berry-infused simple syrup. Inspired by her own travels to La Ville Lumière, L’Abattoir Head Bartender Katie Ingram has updated the classic with local maraschino liqueur, vermouth, cherry eau de vie and raspberries. Light and refreshing, this cocktail dances on the palate like a troupe of French ballerinas. Ah, la belle vie!

Holiday intel  Decadence is timeless, and that’s why L’Abattoir’s Bubbles at Brunch is a must over the holidays. Because bubbles go with everything – especially smoked pork belly, ricotta crepes and the restaurant’s infamous Breakfast Burger. Happy holidays!

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