Drinking Advice From Calgary’s Pros

We asked five Calgary bartenders their best advice for getting the hang of this cocktail thing.

Matt LaRocque

Parc Caf and Brasserie

“Go to flea markets and antique stores to get cocktail glassware. If you find a really cool vintage glass, it adds to the overall aesthetic of your bar.”

818 16 Ave. S.W., 403-454-2700, parccalgary.com


Jeff Savage


“Don’t get bogged down with all the weird things. Start with a really good gin, rye, rum, Campari, vermouth. Then, start with the classic [cocktails]; things you may have had before, like a manhattan.”

1302 1 St. S.W., 403-246-2414, proofyyc.com


Christina Mah

Raw Bar

“Make sure that you have a good set-up to build all your drinks, a place that’s organized. Make sure you have all the right tools: strainers, obviously a shaker, some bar spoons and tongs or a scoop for ice. And a shot glass or jigger – you want to make sure drinks are consistent and balanced every time.”

119 12 Ave. S.W., 403-206-9565, rawbaryyc.ca


David Bain


“Home bartenders don’t make simple syrup often, so make a rich one that will last longer. Use a 2:1 sugar-to-water ratio and you can use it for months. Also, keep your vermouth in the fridge. It’s a wine product, so it will spoil. Finally, good ice. Buy a mould for larger cubes, and use filtered water to fill it.”

306 17 Ave. S.W., 403-452-4694, pigeonholeyyc.ca


Madeleine MacDonald

Model Milk

“I usually think about cocktails as four major ingredients: booze, bitters, water and sugar. That’s how you find a balance. You don’t want it to be too sweet or too sour or too bitter. Look to classic cocktail recipes and then tweak them by switching out the spirit or liqueur. For smoother drinking, go the sour route and use an egg white.”

308 17 Ave. S.W., 403-265-7343, modelmilk.ca

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