By Henry Allan
Menus that try to include a little bit of everything can often leave you with only one or two options that suit your tastes. Themed menus, on the other hand (assuming you’ve chosen a theme you like), can offer options galore to a limited palate.
Many, if not most, restaurants focus their food menus — but for some reason, few extend the same courtesy to cocktails.
Luckily for Vancouverites who only like one genre, one spirit, or even one cocktail, a handful of local bars have crafted drinks lists that cater to niche needs.
Here are seven themed cocktail lists you can find in Vancouver:
Juniper: Gin and Tonics
Following through on the name, Juniper offers a gin-heavy drinks list with seven takes on the G&T. Each rendition comes with a unique mixture of gins, fresh botanicals, and different tonics (yep, there’s more than one kind) — with a few boasting extra booze and bitters too. Martini fans should try the Jardin G&T, which mixes Spanish gin with dry vermouth, olives, rosemary and Mediterranean tonic. Bonus: look under “Juniper Classics” for their G& T Sour.
Address: 185 Keefer Street, Vancouver
The Shameful Tiki Room: Tropical Rum Cocktails
To complement their Polynesian decor, The Shameful Tiki Room offers a list of 19 tropical rum cocktails. Amongst well-known classics like the Hurricane and Mai Tai, you’ll find forgotten gems and house originals containing multiple rums, multiple juices, “secret spices,” and syrups. For a booze-loaded tipple, try their Tiki Puka Puka made of 3 different rums, orange, lemon, and allspice.
Address: 4362 Main Street, Vancouver
Fet’s Whisky Kitchen: Whisky
Along with the 750 whiskies on offer at Fet’s, patrons can choose from 17 mixed-drinks covering five genres of whisk(e)y. The list includes booze-forward favourites like the Boulevardier, Sazerac, and two different Rob Roys (a Manhattan made with scotch); as well as two Whiskey Sours; two Whisky Caesars; and a couple of carbonated options.
Address: 1230 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
The Cascade Room: Golden Age Classics
Under the care of renowned mixologist Justin Taylor, The Cascade Room focuses on classics from the Golden Age of Cocktails (think roaring 20’s and thereabouts). To best imitate the era, the list heavily favours vintage gin and whisky mixtures. But with a range of over 60 choices — covering brandy, champagne, and rum drinks too — whatever your tastes, you’ll have plenty of elegant cocktails to choose from.
Address: 2616 Main St, Vancouver
Tacofino: Tequila (and Mezcal)
Pretty much every Mexican restaurant has a tequila-themed drinks list, but Tacofino’s craft selections deserve particular note. At their Gastown location, Tacofino serves nine agave-based cocktails, covering house originals like the Abuelito Sour (a whisky sour with tequila and coffee-liqueur), the Mula Borracha (Mezcal with mixed citrus, ginger, and bell-peppers), two riffs on the Caesar, and of course, the classic Margarita.
Address: 15 West Cordova Street, Vancouver
Chicha pairs their Peruvian tapas with a drinks list centered around the country’s national spirit: pisco (a fruity, unaged brandy). Topping the list is the frothy national drink of Peru – the Pisco Sour – followed by seven other concoctions including an Earl Grey-infused Sour, a spicy Pisco Margarita, and the juicy-sweet Rum Morada (a mix of pisco, rum, orgeat, and sweet-corn juice).
Address: 136 East Broadway, Vancouver
The Eatery: Flavoured Mojitos
Best known for its funky decor and creative sushi, The Eatery in Kits also boasts a lively cocktail list highlighted by 8 flavoured mojitos. Take your pick of classic lime, Peach, Mango, Lychee, Raspberry, Sake, or Coconut-Pineapple (all come with the option of a 3oz serving). These drinks are also available at The Eatery’s sister restaurant: The General Public on Main St.
Address: 3431 West Broadway, Vancouver
Henry Allan is a freelance journalist/copywriter based in Vancouver. Formerly a local bartender and bar-school instructor, he now writes about booze on his easy-to-make cocktails blog Craftable Cocktails. Twitter: @craftacocktails.