Summer Favorites

September 4th, 2009

Summer is almost over….NOOOOOOOOOOO.

Wait a minute. I happen to Love Fall!  Yay Fall!

I can feel it in the air, the nights are crisper than they have been.  I’ve had a busy two months and really cannot believe it has gone by so fast.

The highlighted drinks of my summer being:

Cherry Julep

2 oz Cherry Infused Bourbon

1/2 oz Mint Syrup

4 Mint Leaves

Muddle Mint, Syrup & Bourbon together lightly in a mixing glass.  Shake on ice for 10 seconds.  Strain over crushed ice into a highball glass or if you have it a julep cup.  Garnish with “disciplined” mint sprig (smack it between your palms to release the oils and aroma) and a house brandied maraschino cherry.

This drink inspired me to create the Mountain Julep:

Mountain Julep

As quoted from Andrew Morrison of Scout Magazine here’s the recipe:

Danielle Tatarin made her wonderfully complex “Mountain Julep” using 1.5oz of tart cherry-infused bourbon, 1/4oz hand-blended Moroccan mint syrup, 1/4oz of house made maraschino cherry jus, and 4oz of Honey Lager in crushed ice. One of my favourites…

Oh so strong but smooth and cooling… Watch out they sneak up on you :)

My next favorite drink comes from the 1930’s, Walter Bergeron the head bartender of the Hotel Monteleone.  The name is from the old French term for the French Quarter, la Vieux Carre translated to the Old Square.  The Vieux Carre is a classic New Orleans cocktail and although it was one of my favorite drinks this summer it will stay on my list for fall.

Vieux Carre

1 oz Rye Whiskey

1 oz Cognac

1 oz Italian Vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula if you have it)

1/4 oz Benedictine

Dash of each Peychauds and Angostura

Stir all ingredients on ice and strain over ice into highball glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist, releasing the oils over the drink and around the rim.

One more drink I’ve been enjoying, its a twist on the Last Word (Gin, Green Chartruese, Maraschino Liqueur, Lime).  I am kicking myself for not entering it into the Victoria Gin Competition on September 2nd… The drink I entered was more of an experiment with some bitters and infusions that I am working on.

The Second Last Word

1 oz Gin

1 oz Yellow Chartruese

1 oz Lemon Juice

1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur

1/2 oz Cherry Heering

Shake all ingredients on ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with House brandied cherry.

The drink is a little sweeter than the last word but using the Cherry Heering gives it a wonderful crimson color.  Delish.  You can try this one at DB Bistro.  Come down to see me and ask for it.



I Like To Drink Martini’s…

June 16th, 2009

If you’ve taken part in one of my cocktail classes you’ll remember one of my favorite cocktail quotes from one of my favorite cocktaillians, Dorothy Parker:

“I like to drink martini’s, two at very most, three I’m under the table… Four I’m under the host.”

Touché, touché… She is of course talking about an actual Martini: Gin, vermouth & orange bitters served with an olive or a lemon twist. Proper proportions for this classic cocktail:

2 1/2 oz Gin

1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Vermouth is an aromatized wine - so keep refrigerated and remember it has a shelf life of approx 2 months…if yours has been on your bar forever its probably gone off)

Dash Orange bitters (if you have them - if not Angostura Bitters will do)

I’ve spent the last few weeks enjoying the wonderful Vancouver weather, but I’ve also been quite busy creating summer drinks. I had the pleasure of mixing in the Maker’s Mark competition, unfortunately I didn’t win :( but it was a fun competition and I tip my hat to Lauren Mote of the Refinery for her creative winning drink! Check out the link for pictures & write up :

One of the Highlights of my year… I cocktailled with Bridget Albert while she was in town to promote her book: Market Fresh Mixology

Bridget is awesome and I now have the privalege of calling her my friend! On our night out in Vancouver, I made a list of all my favorite places to imbibe, we didn’t get to all of them, I had a list of 10, we only crossed a handful off the list… I think I can die a happy girl knowing that I was able to make her favorite cocktail while we stopped at my studio for a drink :)

What is Bridget’s favorite cocktail? The Brown Derby

This cocktail was created at the Vendome Club circa 1930 to honor its Hollywood neighbor, the famed Brown Derby restaurant. The restaurant is gone, and its hat-shaped building has been demolished, but the Brown Derby Cocktail lives on.

2 oz Bourbon

1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice

½ oz Honey Syrup (mix equal parts honey - hot water)

Shake all ingredients on ice for 10-15 seconds. Strain over ice in a highball glass.

In my small studio, I poured four shots of tequila and asked what cocktail everyone would like giving them two choices: The Last Word or a Brown Derby… This was before I knew Bridget’s favorite cocktail was the Brown Derby. I used my best antique glasses to serve a sample size drink for the four of us. From left to right: Shawn Soole (, Bridget Albert, Me & David W.

Our second stop at West to visit David W

Our second stop at West to visit David W

If you would like to visit me and sample some of my newest Summer Cocktails you can find me behind the stick at db Bistro (2551 West Broadway -; I’ll be at the 39th & Cambie St. Signature BC Liquor Store on Sunday, June 28th for mixology sessions between 1pm-4pm.  If you would like to book a private cocktail class I’m the resident Mixologist at Eden West in Port Moody (  Tracey has just expanded her store and has a wonderful space that accomodates up to 16 people.

One more drink… since Fathers day is coming up here is my drink from the Maker’s Mark Cometition:

Marjorie’s Flip (aka Fathers Day Flip)

2 oz Makers Mark Bourbon
3/4 oz Jasmine & Apricot Honey Syrup*
3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Ginger of the Indies Liqueur
1 egg
3 drops Angostura Bitters
Lemon Zest Soaked in Chartreuse
Combine first five ingredients in a mixing glass; dry shake without ice for 10 seconds.
Add ice & shake for 30 seconds.
Fine strain into a highball glass.
Top the drink by carefully dropping 3 separate drops of Angostura bitters in a triangle on the top of the foam.  Use a skewer and drag it through the drops of bitters to form bleeding heart shape. Optional: Finish the drink by flaming the lemon zest over the drink and rubbing the zest around the rim, then discard.

*To Make Syrup:
Steep 1 heaping tablespoon of dried jasmine flowers or loose leaf jasmine tea in 1 cup of hot water for 15 minutes.  Strain the flowers out and add 3/4 cup of apricot honey creme (substitute regular or other flavoured honey) to the hot water.  Stir the mixture dissolve the honey.  Store in a glass bottle.
Specialty Honey’s and Dried Jasmine Flowers can be found at Granville Island Public Market.

This drink was inspired by Fathers Day, meant to be a drink best enjoyed at brunch (it has all the nutrients you need to start your day!).  Flips are a classic type of mixed drink which generally contains, spirits, egg, sugar & spice.  The jasmine flowers add a slight dryness to the sweet apricot honey and blend beautifully together as the modifier with the Makers Mark.  Traditionally spice was added to a Flip so I use Ginger Liqueur to give the drink another element of complexity.  The egg rounds the drink out and gives it a full bodied creamy texture.  I named the drink after Marjorie Samuels who as history states was a creative force in marketing Makers Mark.  I imagined a drink that she might serve Bill Samuels Sr. on Fathers Day and gave it a modern twist.


Happy Mixing :)

Celebrating the Cocktail’s Birthday!

May 14th, 2009

The earliest known printed use of the word “cocktail” was from The Farmer’s Cabinet, April 28, 1803: Drank a glass of cocktail — excellent for the head … Call’d at the Doct’s. found Burnham — he looked very wise — drank another glass of cocktail.”

As per the above link from the Museum of the American Cocktail:

The earliest definition of “cocktail” was in the May 13, 1806 edition of the Balance and Columbian Repository, in which an answer was provided to the question, “What is a cocktail?”. The editor responded and defined for all time what exactly the newly born cocktail was.

Since the Cocktail has become a dear friend of mine I am celebrating World Cocktail Week by imbibing in some classic cocktails. Yesterday I had the pleasure of sipping on one of the BEST Sazeracs EVER at RTL ( from Matt Martin the one of Vancouvers newest imports from New York.

I spied the bottle of Rittenhouse 23year on the top shelf and asked if I would be so lucky to have a Sazerac to celebrate… Matt pulled out a special bottle of absinthe for the occasion: Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe Française Supérieure 65°… my mouth watering. watching intently as he carefully concocted the drink before me.

1/4 oz Rye

1 bar spoon superfine sugar

Stir at the bottom of the mixing glass to dissolve the sugar.

When you are dissolving the sugar in the rye; start the preparation of the cocktail glass that you will be drinking this fine cocktail from. Fill the glass with crushed ice to chill. Some people; ie. me, like to add the Absinthe to the ice at this point. Not Matt he just chilled the glass.

Add 4 dashes Peychauds bitters and 1 3/4 oz Rye to the dissolved sugar mixture. Fill mixing glass with ice and stir for 30 seconds.

Discard the crushed ice from the cocktail glass that you are chilling. Wipe down the glass of any extra water. Add 1/4 oz Absinthe to the glass and roll the liquor to coat the inside of the glass. Discard the excess Absinthe into a shot glass and hand it to the patron on the bar who is salivating…

Using a Julep Stainer, pour the ice cold cocktail into the chilled & seasoned cocktail glass. Finish with Lemon Zest that is squeezed over the drink to release the oils, then rub the rind around the rim. At this point Matt asked if I would like the zest in or out. I like the zest in so he tossed it in and passed me the long awaited celebratory cocktail, and it was GOOD. Like the Elixir of Life had just touched my lips!

Tonite my twist on this I substituted 1 bar spoon of Honey Syrup for the super fine sugar, because I had the pleasure of receiving some excellent honey from Honey Ridge Farms ( To make Honey Syrup mix equal parts of your favorite Honey and Hot water. Store in a squeeze bottle or glass jar; refrigerate. This is the best way to use Honey in cocktails otherwise it is too thick and will just freeze when shaken into a drink. Diluting it with water gives it just the right viscosity for mixing.

Happy Birthday to The Cocktail!

Happy Mixing :)

Party with a Purpose

May 10th, 2009

Saturday May 9th I was at 39th & Cambie Signature Liquor Store to help raise funds and collect donations for Dress for Success.  The event was sponsored by Diageo Canada so needless to say I was helping by providing refreshing drinks!  The drinks were being paired with a delicious appetizer prepared by Chef Marcus of Mava Foods (

At the popular request of imbibers here is the recipe for the cocktail I was mixing up:

DFS Cocktail

2 oz Smirnoff Vodka
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Cilantro Syrup
6 x 1″ Watermelon Cubes
2 Saffron Sugar Dipped Grapefruit segments (cut the grapefruit into quarters)

Squeeze dipped grapefruit segments into mixing glass then add all ingredients together and shake on ice vigorously for 20 seconds.
Fine strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with shaped grapefruit zest.

To Make Cilantro Syrup:
3 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 cup cilantro
Mix the sugar and water together and heat until sugar dissolves.  Add cilantro to hot syrup and let sit for 15 minutes.
Strain out the cilantro and store syrup in glass bottle.  Refrigerate.

Saffron Sugar:
1 g Saffron
2 cups Maple Sugar (reduce maple syrup and let crystalize; crush with mortar & pestal) - subsitute, demerara or brown sugar if you don’t want to be so geeky)
Muddle together saffron & sugar then use to dip grapefruit segments into.  Let the dipped segments sit for 5 minutes before squeezing into the drink.  If you wanted to add another twist to this drink you can try grilling the dipped grapefruits.

For mor information on Dress for Success and how to host your own Party with a Purpose:

Visit to learn more.
Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that promotes
the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing
professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to
help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997,
Dress for Success has expanded to more than 90 cities in the U.S., Canada,
Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, the UK and the West Indies.
To date, Dress for Success has helped more than 500,000 women work towards

And the Winner is… Espilego Fizz

May 7th, 2009

What a crazy few weeks it has been. The life of making cocktails, often involves drinking cocktails… Every day there is something to celebrate, why not create a new drink? Here are my favorite drinks from the past few weeks celebrations:

I recently turned the Big 2-9 and celebrated my Champagne birthday at Voya! Custom cocktails, great food and a performance from Sweet Soul Burlesque dancers! It was a party indeed and I woke up the next day with a killer headache, laying on the most comfortable bed at The Loden Hotel ( I Rolled over and moved the garbage can closer to the side of the bed, then thought to myself, “One too many Champagne Manhattans, ahhhh.” I closed my eyes and fell back to sleep and started dreaming of swimming in champagne and drinking it at the same time… mmm champagne.

Champagne Manhattan

1 oz Maker’s Mark

1/2 oz Giffard Guignolet D’Angers

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

4 oz Champagne

Stir Maker’s and Guiglolet together on ice with bitters. Strain into champagne flute. Top with chilled Champagne. Garnish with an Orange Zest.

On Tuesday night I competed in the First Annual Cabo Wabo Cinco de Mayo Cocktail Competition at the Granville Room. It was a great competition, the city’s best bartenders in a great room mixing amazing drinks. I got to the bartenders dinner a little past 5pm, just after I tested my drink for the last time at my apartment. A little bit of a nip to kill the nerves. After all I was up against some of the city’s best. There to greet me at the table, Lori Poppe of Voya, David Wolowidnyk of West, Justin Tisdall of Market, Simon Kaulbeck of Boneta. I promtly ordered a Mint Julep; for the sole purpose of calming my nerves and butterflies in my stomach. Besides all the drinks concocted I’d have to say the Mint Julep is my drink of choice right now… There are so many fun ways to twist it. By the time I got half way through my second julep, Nick Devine of Cascade arrived, Justin from 1181 and Wendy McGuinness from Chambar.

Granville Room Classic: Mint Julep - circa 1803, Virginia
Maker’s Mark bourbon, mint syrup,
fresh mint leaves, crushed ice, dusted
with vanilla sugar

Dani’s Apartment Version:

2 oz Woodford Reserve

2 barspoons Maple Sugar

2 chocolate mint leaves (I’m growing them in my little balcony area)

Mix all ingredients together in mixing glass to dissolve sugar and bruise mint. Add ice and shake for 20 seconds. Strain over crushed ice garnish with chocolate mint leaf.

I took my last sip of my julep as the Canucks game ended…and the mixing began.

And The Winner Is! After close to three hours of 8 bartenders mixing drinks in 15 minute intervals the judges had deliberated and tallied up the points.

Wow! Couldn’t believe my ears when I heard my name called! It was some very stiff competition…

Here’s my winning drink; its a twist on a recently created cocktail that I mix and love, Marie Antoinette.
Espilego Fizz aka The Lavender Project

2 oz Cabo Wabo Reposado
3/4 oz Handcrafted Lavender Syrup
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Free Range Egg White
Top with Champagne
4 dashes Handblended Pink Peppercorn Tincture
Garnish with Pink Peppercorn Flakes
Shake first four ingredients on ice for 30 seconds. Strain into champagne flute & top with champagne. Finish with Pink peppercorn tincture and flakes.

The drink is inspired by celebration and independence, wanted something to be refreshing and unique that could focus on flavors local to production area.

Lavender in mexico is known as Espilego…
In the state of Guanajuato west of Jalisco where Cabo is produced; a small village is harvesting Lavender as a sustainable crop to provide independence to the people living in the area.

The Lavender blends exquisitely with the peppery fruit flavors of Cabo Wabo. With Lavender as the flavor modifier, lemon and egg whites lengthen the drink and give it a velvety mouth feel. The drink is topped with Champagne to create an effervescent and light charachter. Finished with pink peppercorn flakes and tincture blended to compliment and finish the cocktail with light spicy floral aroma and beautiful pink color.

Lets just say after I jumped on the bar to receive my $500, literally huge check (3′ x 2′), I drank a few more to celebrate. This morning I was moving slow but happy to have won. I think I deserved a prize for wearing a corset all day. It was part of my new school bar maid outfit that matched my drink.


Happy Mixing :)

Mixing the Espilego Fizz

Mixing the Espilego Fizz

Hello world!

April 6th, 2009

A beautiful spring day, its been three weeks of re-organizing into my new diggs for Designer Cocktail Company. Finally I feel some progress happening and things are getting back to normal, business as usual. I’m heading out to celebrate this beautiful day, my new website and great drink photo’s to add to the collection. On my night off work mixing drinks at db Bistro I’m meeting my wonderful webdesigner Mario Vaira ( and Alfonso Arnold my talented photographer (, myself along with their significant others, Robyn Hardy ( and Lynne Stasko ( also my stylist! at db Bistro ( Should be a great time!

I already know what I’m having!

Marie Antoinette

2 oz Gin

3/4 oz Organic Lavender Syrup *

3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

1 egg white

3 drops Pink Peppercorn Tincture **

Shake first four ingredients on ice and strain into champagne flute. Top with 3 drops pink peppercorn tincture. Garnish with Pink peppercorn flakes.

*To make Lavender Syrup bring 1 cup of sugar & 1 cup water to boil & remove from heat. Add 20g of dried organic lavender to the hot syrup. Let sit for 30 minutes then strain out the lavender and store in glass bottle.

**To make pink peppercorn Tincture: Fill 1/2 cup of pink peppercorns with Tanqueray 10. Let sit for 24 hours then strain out peppercorns and store tincture in glass bottle.


Happy Mixing