To celebrate our launch issue, BCLiving asked local hospitality group The Cascade Company to create original drinks for our readers. The results are instead DIY crowd-pleasers
Credit: Janis Nicolay

To celebrate our launch issue, BCLiving asked local hospitality group The Cascade Company to create original drinks for our readers. The results are instead DIY crowd-pleasers

This time of year The Cascade Company’s partner and bartender Nick Devine shelves lighter tequilas and gins and turns to richer offerings – from darker spirits to craft beers.

And you’re sure to find a batch of mulled wine on the stove at Devine’s Main Street neighbourhood pub The Cascade Room. The aromatic drink, mixed with spices, stewed fruits and brandy, permeates the restaurant and marks the start of the winter season.

“You can smell it as soon as you walk in the door,” says Devine, who co-owns a group of restaurants located along the Main Street corridor and downtown. “I like to add unusual ingredients such as ginger, Earl Grey tea bags or cherry brandies. You serve it steaming hot in a glass mug and it reminds me of Christmas in Europe.”

When it comes to holiday entertaining, The Cascade Company chef Lisa Henderson recommends pairing your favourite winter cocktails with spicy Latin-inspired appies like boleripitas with guasacaca. A diminutive version of the popular Venezuelan and Colombian corncakes known as arepas, boleripitas are crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. Spear them with toothpicks and arrange on a festive serving platter. Guasacaca, also originally from Venezuela, is a lighter and more flavourful alternative to traditional Mexican guacamole.

“Boleripitas are a great canapé and mingler party appetizer. People love anything on a stick,” says Henderson. “It has a fun, retro feel.”

Devine has created the following original cocktails for BCLiving, which combine retro liquors with edgy additives such as unusual syrups and cardamom pods. Dig out your martini shaker and unwind with a festive holiday cocktail. And your new favourite magazine, of course!

Whisky Galore
Credit: Janis Nicolay

Whisky Galore

Maple syrup and black walnut bitters elevate this old standby.

1 blood orange
60 ml (2 oz) Canadian rye whisky
15 ml (½ oz) maple syrup
7 ml (¼ oz) fresh lemon juice
dash black walnut bitters*
maple pecans for garnish

Peel, quarter and muddle the blood orange in a rocks glass. Add remaining ingredients and stir over ice. Garnish with maple pecans.

*Don't have black walnut bitters on hand? Find them at The Modern Bartender (28 East Pender St., Vancouver) 

Panabas
Credit: Janis Nicolay

Panabas

Falernum syrup is a tropical sweetner flavoured with almond, ginger and lime.

60 ml (2 oz) Olmeca Gold Tequila
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters*
2 bar spoons Falernum (West Indian aromatic syrup)*
1 bar spoon agave syrup

Stir ingredients in a mixing glass, strain, garnish with lemon peel.

*The Modern Bartender (28 East Pender St., Vancouver) stocks Falernum syrup and Peychaud's bitters

The Snow Blower
Credit: Janis Nicolay

The Snow Blower

A retro tiki cocktail.
Umbrella optional.

60 ml (20 oz) gold rum
30 ml (1 oz) grapefruit juice
30 ml (1 oz) pineapple juice
7 ml (1/4 oz) fresh lime juice
2 green cardamom pods***
7 ml (1/4 oz) orgeat syrup**
60 ml (2 oz) spicy Jamaican ginger beer* (we recommend Grace Bros.)
15 ml (1/2 oz) 151 dark rum

Muddle cardamom in a mixxing glass. Add all ingredients except ginger beer and 151 rum. Shake and fine strain into a tall hurricane glass filled with fresh ice and top with ginger beer. Float the 151 rum. Garnish with a pinapple wedge and an umbrella.


**Cardamom pods can be found at most Whole Foods markets

**Orgeat syrup is available at the the Modern Bartender (28 East Pender St., Vancouver) or at the Gourmet Warehouse

*Fentimans brand ginger beer can be found at the Modern Bartender, and other brands can be found at Whole Foods

Guasacaca, El Scorchio and Boleripitas
Credit: Janis Nicolay

Guasacaca, El Scorchio and Boleripitas

Guasacaca (left)

This Venezuelan avocado sauce is lighter and more flavourful than its cousin, Mexican guacamole.

½ small onion, roughly chopped
2 green peppers, roughly chopped
3 avocados
3 garlic cloves
½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped
½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
76 ml (5 tbsp) red wine vinegar
15 g (1 tbsp) salt, or more to taste
4 g (1 tsp) freshly ground black pepper
227 ml (1 cup) olive oil

El Scorchio (center)

A perfect accompaniment to your favourite Latin meal.

160 ml (2 oz) jalapeno-infused Reposado Tequila (Put one sliced jalapeno in the bottle for 24 hours.)
large nugget fresh ginger
1 whole pressed lime
7 ml (½ oz) blue agave syrup
candied ginger for garnish

Smash the ginger in a mixing glass. Add the remaining ingredients with ice. Shake and fine-strain over fresh ice. Garnish with candied ginger.

Boleripitas (right)

Boleripitas are an appetizer version of the popular Venezuelan and Colombian corncakes called arepas. They are crispy on the outside and soft and creamy inside.

500 g (2 cups) Harina P.A.N. arepa flour (corn flour or maize flour)
30 g (2 tbsp) kosher salt
177 g ¾ cup) feta cheese, crumbled
177 g ¾ cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
118 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted
568 ml (2 ½ cups) hot water

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add cheese. Stir in butter and then add hot water until mixture comes together. Roll into balls. Deep-fry in canola oil at 176 C (350 F). Makes 20.

Bartender Nick Devine reveals his top tips for the ultimate cocktail
Credit: Janis Nicolay

Bartender Nick Devine reveals his top tips for the ultimate cocktail

1. A PERFECT MIX

Devine's go-to is a Boston shaker (a two-piece cocktail shaker) with a metal bottom and tempered glass top that enables you to see exactly what you are mixing.

2. CRYSTAL CLEAR

Translucent ice cubes turn a homemade cocktail into something restaurant-worthy. Fill ice cube trays with distilled or filtered water to keep your cubes in the clear.

3. SHAKEN, BUT SOMETIMES STIRRED

Shaking drinks works well for cocktails like margaritas, but resist the temptation to channel your inner James Bond and don't over agitate your drink. Shorter, stronger drinks like Manhattans and martinis are better stirred.

4. TEMPERATURE DROP

The best cocktails are ice cold, says Devine. That means your glassware should also be chilly. Fill a glass with ice and one-third cold water to expedite the process or leave a glass of ice in the freezer until reader to use.

5. A PRESSING MATTER

Use fresh ingredients whenever you can, particularly when it comes to fruit. Buy a citrus press for made-to-order leon, lime, orange and grapefruit juices.