Ingredient Obsessed: Unique Ingredients in Vancouver Cocktails


Unique Ingredients in Vancouver Cocktails

With creative bartenders concocting their own bitters and tinctures — and even growing their own herbs — more and more innovative ingredients have found their way into Vancouver’s cocktails. From maple syrup-laced drinks to tea-infused martinis, here is a list of some of our favourite unique cocktails.


Apparently, teatime has turned into cocktail hour, as tea-inspired beverages have been debuting on bar menus around town. Sip A Spot of Tea at L’Abattoir, where mixology master Shaun Layton blends English breakfast tea with gin, orange marmalade, bitters and lemon. At The Refinery, the bartenders use everything from Coconut Black tea to Hawaiian rooibos tea syrup in their creative drinks. You can even try a flight of The Refinery’s tea-infused tinctures and bitters, made in-house by top bartender Lauren Mote. For something a bit more straightforward, head to Thierry for their Madagascar: honey bush vanilla tea spiked with Frangelico.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is often a go-to item when visitors are looking for Vancouver souvenirs, but this saccharine Canadian product is also a great addition to drinks. Lending a rich sweetness and depth that simple syrups just can’t pull off, maple syrup has made its way into full-flavored cocktails like the Maple Mark at Cinema Public House and the Maple Lift at Lift Bar and Grill.


Watermelon has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a favourite picnic fruit — at least when it comes to Vancouver cocktails. Down some watermelon in the Curious George shot at The Keefer Bar, where they mix it with Don Julio Blanco, lemon, tamarind syrup and wasabi for a power punch of intense flavors. At L’Abattoir, watermelon adds a mouthwatering juiciness to the El Camino drink, which uses watermelon-infused tequila alongside lime juice, grapefruit soda and agave nectar.

Egg Whites

Some people might be surprised to find raw egg whites in their drink, but when swiftly shaken in a cocktail, this flavorless ingredient creates a light, frothy texture found in elegant classics like the Ramos Gin Fizz and Pisco Sour. Head to Hell’s Kitchen, a Kitsilano neighborhood bar that serves up a Chatham Square: a mix of vodka, lychee liqueur, lime juice, orgeat (sweet almond syrup), lime leaves and egg white.

Nut Milk

Cream often seems to find its way into dessert drinks, but Vancouver bartenders are finding creative ways to integrate nut milk, which adds a delicate flavor and creaminess, minus the heavy texture. The Keefer Bar uses almond milk in their Milk & Honey #8, and Wild Rice adds coconut milk to their Wun Hing martini.


With their sweet and earthy flavors, figs lend an exotic richness to cocktails that few fruits can accomplish. Try the Galleon at Boneta, which touts flavors of fig, orange oils and Goslings Black Seal rum. At Chambar, the bartenders test the limit with The Blue Fig cocktail, using oven roasted figs that are steeped in gin, frozen and then brazenly paired with a side of Danish blue cheese.

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