Whether it’s a gathering of friends, a family get-together, or simply a kick-off to the weekend, brunch is more than just a meal — it’s practically a national pastime.
No brunch is complete without a good cocktail, and luckily for us, Vancouver’s restaurants are knocking their brunch-time libations out of the park. Below are six of the city’s top cocktail destinations to get your brunch on, and lucky for us they shared their recipes for you to try at home.
While this renowned Gastown establishment is primarily known as a nighttime destination, it’s beginning to develop a reputation for its stellar brunch menu and cocktail offerings. The restaurant’s Avocado Gimlet has become a bit of a legend in this city, with over five thousand of these tasty concoctions sold last year alone. Why not see what all the buzz is about and let Bar Manager William Johnson shake one up for you in their unbelievably romantic and sophisticated room. There’s no better (or healthier) way to imbibe while brunching.
Address: 217 Carrall Street
Recently opened in the former Raincity Grill location, Beach Bay Cafe and Patio boasts one of the best ocean views in the city. There aren’t many other places I’d rather enjoy a high-quality cocktail on a Saturday afternoon than on their stunning patio. Try Bar Manager Adrian Lindner’s “Rum Melon D’Eau”, a perfectly balanced, light and refreshing cocktail. Be warned — you won’t be able to stop at just one.
Address: 1193 Denman Street
No brunch is complete without Canada’s national drink, the Caesar. This spicy standard was invented by Walter Schell in 1969 at the Calgary Inn, and is rarely found in other parts of the world. The not-so-secret ingredient used in my “Creole Caesar” at Boulevard is Walter Ceasar Mix, which is made with 100% natural clam and tomato juice, and with no added MSG or high-glucose corn syrup typically found in store-bought Clamato juice varieties. Try your hand at my signature recipe below, or come and say hello at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar and enjoy one over a leisurely weekend brunch.
Combine in a spice grinder and pulverize.
Address: 845 Burrard Street (at the Sutton Place Hotel)
If you haven’t yet been to Café Medina, get up and go there immediately. They offer the best brunch in the city in my opinion, and they do it seven days a week. I recently paid them a visit and was completely blown away by Bar Manager Trixie Blümel’s new cocktail menu. She’s put together a comprehensive selection of brunch cocktails, including her tantalizing and refreshing “Moroccan Mary,” and her creative and well-executed take on a Mimosa called “The Mimouna #1.” But it was Trixie’s variation on a Raddler (a beer and grapefruit combination), titled the ‘Al Maghrib’, that particularly perked my tastebuds.
Green Tea Syrup*
*Bring 1 cup of turbinado sugar, 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of green tea to a boil. Stir until sugar dissolves and remove from heat. Let cool and bottle syrup. Keep refrigerated for up to 30 days.
Address: 780 Richards Street
Tucked away up on Main and 16th, this Latin-inspired eatery is one of a handful of establishments owned and operated by barman extraordinaire Nick Devine. Nick’s bartenders execute his simplistic approach to cocktails with great pride, and many are flocking to El Camino’s for a taste. Be sure to try the Michelada, a somewhat under-the-radar cocktail that’s best described as a South American Caesar. This spicy tomato and beer mixture also doubles as an unbeatable “Hair of the Dog” after a Friday night on the town.
Address: 3250 Main Street
The team at Mamie Taylor’s are well-known for their American-style cuisine, with a menu that includes traditional favourites like chicken and waffles, cheddar cheese grits and my personal favourite fried green tomatoes. But next time you’re in, be sure to check out co-owner and long-serving Vancouver barman Ron Oliver’s incredible cocktail menu. Throughout the summer he’s featuring the delicious “Ducati Thief” — a sparkling wine aperitif that will undoubtedly whet your brunch-time appetite.
Address: 251 East Georgia Street