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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Winter Cocktails: "Bear Skin" from The Refinery in Vancouver

Today's cocktail comes from Vancouver's downtown Granville Street. Hidden amongst the nightclubs is the delicious tapas menu from chef Kirk Morrison and the cuisine-inspired bar program of Graham Racich and Joel Virginillo. The cocktails here focus on local and house-made ingredients, including a wide array of bitters, vermouths, and even fermented sodas.
(You can see an old review of The Refinery here,
as well as "The Lucky Lady" from Fernet February,
"Primer Beso" from Maraschino March,
and "The Fellini" along with an interview with Joel).

This month, Graham has contributed a recipe for a winter cocktail employing one of the aforementioned house-made vermouths, an infused simple syrup, and some of The Refinery's coffee bitters. Should you be adventurous enough to experiment at home, the idea behind both making your own vermouth and bitters is steeping herbs in an alcoholic base. In the case of vermouth, start with a wine or fortified wine (Darcy O'Neil offers some good advice here on his site), and in the case of bitters start with a high-proof spirit and be sure not to skimp on the bittering agents (like gentian, wormwood, cinchona, etc). I won't get into the specifics yet, but I am planning a series on home-made bitters in the future.

Should you choose to take an easier route, coffee bitters are available from some brands commercially, such as Cocktail Kingdom and Masters of Malt. Steeping a store-bought dry vermouth in both chocolate (perhaps cocoa nibs) and roasted nutmeg is an approximation of The Refinery's vermouth, as those are the two main flavours Graham has mentioned to me. For the syrup, as with any, steeping orange peel and cinnamon sticks in your simple syrup solution as it's simmering will extract the flavours you want.

All that is fine and dandy, but perhaps the best and easiest way to try this drink is to head down to The Refinery and try one the way it's meant to be made.

Bear Skin
1.5oz 15-year aged rum
0.5oz homemade chocolate vermouth
0.5oz Punt e Mes
0.25oz orange-cinnamon simple syrup
Dash of coffee bitters

Stir ingredients with ice, strain into a coupe.  


More Holiday Drinks!
[["Yukon Cornelius" from Veneto in Victoria ]]
[[ "The Rockefeller" from Veneto in Victoria ]]
[[ The Hot Toddy ]]
[[ Winter drinks from Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco ]]
[[ "Bear Skin" from The Refinery in Vancouver ]]
[[ "Cold & Delicious" from The Violet Hour in Chicago ]]
[[ The history of Eggnog ]]
[[ "Gold," "Frankincense," and "Myrrh" from Trevor Kallies in Vancouver ]]
[[ "Old Saint Juan" from Shea Hogan in Vancouver ]]
[[ "Hot Buttered Rhum Cider" from Slanted Door in San Francisco ]]
[[ The history of mulled wine ]]
[[ The history of The Flip ]]
[[ Hot Buttered Rum ]]

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