With the holidays just around the corner, visions of spiked eggnog and hot toddies are beginning to dance in our heads. While the well-poured traditions of the season are certainly cherished, the bar team at one of our favourite city restaurants, Market by Jean-Georges at the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver, has created an innovative roster that, in our quenched opinion, is set to steal the "Christmas spirits" spotlight.
Under the direction of a fresh bar manager, Gianluigi Bosco, Market’s new menu presents experiential cocktails and spirit-free creations (trust us, these are no Shirley Temples), botanical waters and aromatic wines, all infused with the transformative powers of hydrosols.
Hydro-what? Hydrosols: non-alcoholic concentrations produced by distilling water infused with fresh herbs, fruits and spices like peppermint, cloves, cinnamon, rose and lavender. Market works with Canadian distillers who produce a variety of hydrosols, which Bosco and his team use to create their own signature blends that are incorporated into in all aspect of the drink menu, including aromatic wines.
Market’s line of fortified wines are prepared and bottled in-house and come in three delicious blends: Spiced is red wine, Calvados and ginger syrup with a spiced hydrosols blend; Botanical is white and Juniper-infused vodka, fennel syrup and a botanical hydrosols blend; and Citrus is rosé and Pinot Noir Marc, which is infused for up to a month with oranges, lemons, grapefruits and vanilla.
The final, mouthwatering result? Beverages that bring aroma and presentation back to the forefront, whether alcohol is involved or not. (Personally, we're positively jolly for the option; no longer does being the designated driver mean sticking to cran-and-sodas.)
Speaking of which, a standout spirit-free cocktail we're dying to try is The Bering Tea, which uses a rich blend of carbonated oolong tea—from Vancouver-based O5 Rare Tea Bar—yuzu juice, and birch syrup (rattling with hand-carved and branded ice cubes, to boot). As for a tipple that could make you tipsy: the Hops & Beets, made with Sheringham Aquavit, Calvados, fresh beets, apples, ginger, egg whites and a spiced hydrosol blend. To finish, it’s charged with an east coast style IPA from Backcountry Brewing in Squamish, which changes the cocktail on the palate.
Finally, taking the title for most Instagrammable cocktail is the Butterfly Effect made with Sons of Vancouver vodka, Okanagan Spirit’s Maraschino and O5 Rare Tea’s Dream blend. The drink magically changes colours from a deep blue to rich violet when poured into a delicate coupe glass spritzed with citrus. Get your camera out—this is definitely a drink to be documented! —Vita Daily
Market by Jean-Georges, 1115 Alberni St., Vancouver, 604-695-1115, marketkitchen.com