Vancouver’s Best Summer Cocktails for 2012

The complex flavour profiles of these carefully crafted cocktails will keep you refreshed all summer long

Capture summer in a glass with this lineup of fruity, boozy and super creative summer sippers

There’s no better way to enjoy the fleeting summer months than to sit back and drink it all in with a cool beverage in hand. And if you want something a little more refined than a bottle of brew, look no further than this list of creative cocktails.

The craft of cocktail making has been elevated to artistic heights and some of these summer sippers have flavours as complex as any fine wine. But unlike vino, these bevvies come in an extensive range of colours and flavour profiles. So pick your a drink, grab a lounge chair, and soak it all in.

Signature Red Tea Sangria

This summer classic ($11) from The Urban Tea Merchant is infused with TWG Jade of Africa tea, a full-bodied rooibos tea that imparts this libation with ruby red colour and the tea’s signature fruity profile.

This sangria also includes the traditional red wine, pomegranate syrup and loads of fresh fruit. Between the antioxidant-rich tea and the fruit, this is practically a health drink.

Sunset Soda

This bubbly tipple is part of the Cactus Club‘s exclusive line up of cocktails during its “98 Days of Summer.”

Made simply with vodka, soda and a splash of Bellini, this peachy delight will have you sipping well into the sunset. It’s just about nearly perfect… just make it a double.

Globe Trotter

Created by the talented JS Dupuis, lead bartender at Tableau Bistro, the Globe Trotter ($11) is about as manly as a summer cocktail can get.

With two types of bitters (Cynar, made from artichokes, and another made from black walnuts), this is a complex cocktail that is rich, boozey and just a little bit tart. Bourbon is the star in this drink, sweetened with Demerara syrup for added depth. This is a cocktail for thinkers.

The Matcha Sour

The Matcha Sour ($11) takes a twist on the Bourbon-based classic with the addition of TWG Matcha Tea. Mixologist, Ben Lambie, from Ensemble Restaurant, helped develop this and all the other tea cocktails at The Urban Tea Merchant, infusing not just tea but his expertise into every tasty glassful.

The Matcha definitely imparts an earthiness to this cocktail, making it the perfect unique summer sipper.

Moroccan Mint Mojito

The TWG Moroccan Mint Tea that infuses this Moroccan Mint Mojito ($9) elevates it to refreshing new heights.

This cocktail, from The Urban Tea Merchant, tastes like a summer herb garden – in the very best sense. Nothing cloyingly sweet or artificially minty here. Just bright, clean and deliciously rum-my. Goes down dangerously quickly.

Le Tropical

JS Dupuis from Tableau Bistro has created a series of four delicious craft cocktails using his impressive knowledge of the subtle notes and blends in every bottle behind the bar. His house cocktails are not to be missed.

Le Tropical ($11) is liquid sunshine. Starting off with white Havana rum that’s been aged one year, Dupuis adds elements of mango, passionfruit and citrus along with other liquid assets to create a sophisticated tropical drink that is perfectly balanced and deliciously refreshing.

Watermelon Margarita

Can you say, “summer in a glass?” This refreshing version of the margarita is made with just-pressed watermelon juice, Cuero Gold Tequila and plenty of lemon juice. And during the Cactus Club‘spromotional “98 Days of Summer,” this pretty little cocktail starts at a recession-friendly $6.50 on promo nights.

So have a few on its English Bay patio and enjoy summer at the beach in style.

Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule ($12) at Reflections Lounge (4th floor inner courtyard in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia) may just become your new summer cocktail. Not only does Reflections adhere to tradition and serve it in a gleaming copper mug, but it tastes absolutely divine. Made with two full ounces of vodka, spicy ginger beer, lime and a few other tasty ingredients, this cocktail is best enjoyed while lounging in one of Reflections’ cabanas.

Folklore has it that the Moscow Mule is credited with popularizing vodka throughout post-Prohibition America. It’s believed to have originated in Los Angeles, during the summer when the combination of ice-cold vodka and biting ginger beer in a crisp copper cup became an instant hit, quickly spreading across the country.


If you only knew what went into the making of this cocktail, you’d first spend a good five minutes just holding it, inhaling it and contemplating the exotic, nuanced flavours about to hit your palate.

Beldi ($13) is the award-winning cocktail from David Wolowidnyk, bar manager from West, who was just named the World’s Most Imaginative Bartender. Which makes this the most imaginative cocktail in the world.

And it doesn’t disappoint: It starts with Bombay Sapphire infused with Moroccan saffron and ginseng, adding Martini Bianco that’s been cold-steeped with both fresh mint and Moroccan Mint Tea, a generous amount of fragrant cinnamon syrup and finally, a few dashes of Lem-Marakesh bitters. And before the entire elixir is poured, the glass is first misted with a tincture of toasted Moroccan coriander.

Gin & Juice

Who said summer cocktails all had to be frou-frou? Not all cocktails were created with mini umbrellas in mind. This elegantly simple cocktail from the Cactus Club combines two of the best things in the world: gin and fresh grapefruit juice.

Tart and fragrant, this is definitely a nice alternative for those looking for something a little less sweet. And also for those looking for a bargain; a mere $6.50 during its summer cocktails promotion, ending September 3rd.

Mexican Fix

The Mexican Fix ($12) was created by Robyn Gray, head bartender at Reflections Lounge in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.

This refreshingly dry cocktail combines the sunny, brightness of pineapple with an oaky reposado tequila. A touch of Chartreuse adds a herbal complexity to this cocktail while fresh lime juice and Maraschino liqueur round out the fruity profile. A lot of thought went into balancing the nuanced flavours of this cocktail, but all you need to know is that it’s mighty delicious.

Yo Nashi

Yo Nashi ($13) is a new summer hit at the Blue Water Cafe, developed by resident bar manager Keith Trusler. Featuring plum wine, Grey Goose, yuzu juice and giffard ginger.

This exotic cocktail with delicate Asian notes is perfectly balanced in sweetness, with just a hint of spice, elevating the citrus notes.


Cucumbers in a cocktail are heavenly, being both subtle and distinct in flavour. The Trapolla at CinCin was created by bar manager Colin Turner, and features both muddled cucumber and a good amount of cucumber juice.

With gin and St. Germain in the mix, it develops lovely floral, herbal notes, and with just enough Aperol to keep everything grounded. The elixir’s shaken to perfection and after your first sip, you’ll wonder why it’s not served by the pitcher.

Twentieth Century

This classic, dating back to 1937, is surprisingly bright and refreshing. Chocolate’s not normally something associated with warm-weather cocktails, but the Twentieth Century ($10) from Tableau Bistro is definitely made for the summer patio.

Lead bartender JS Dupuis, starts off by making his own chocolate syrup (from real chocolate) to pull out the full-bodied essence that’s key to this cocktail. Then, just enough lemon juice is added (along with gin and Lillet) to give this is a spectacularly well-balanced flavour profile. Then the whole thing is topped off with frothy egg white, giving it just enough nutrients to be considered a protein drink.

Jim Green

In a tribute to the former Vancouver city councillor, philanthropist and long-time housing activist who passed away earlier this year, UVA Wine Bar has created a cocktail named the “Jim Green.” He was a beloved patron of UVA and they’ve created this summery cocktail featuring Jim’s favourite tipple – bourbon mixed with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, lemon, bitters and apricots. In ongoing support of Jim’s efforts to make Vancouver a better place, UVA will donate a portion of the proceeds of every Jim Green cocktail to the Jim Green Fund that benefits the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.