3 Questions with 3 Calgary Cocktail Pros

We asked these local experts to share their picks for underrated spirits, what they love about cocktail culture right now and more.

Rhiannon Lewis – Bartender, Comery Block

Photograph by Jared Sych.

Perfect pairing

“A margarita in my backyard with my best friend.”

 

What I love about cocktail culture right now

“How community-focused it has been after COVID-19. Bartenders are doing pop-ups, there’s support and camaraderie.”

 

Ingredient to obsess over

“Aperol. It’s so bright and citrusy and a little bitter — it can spruce up any cocktail.”

 

Jimmy Nguyen – Beverage Director, Artist Lounge

Photograph by Jared Sych.

Perfect pairing

“A daiquiri at Ocho in Seattle with Anthony Bourdain.”

 

What I love about cocktail culture right now

“It’s nice to see each other’s ideas. A bartender’s personality comes out through drinks.”

 

Underrated spirit

“Rum. There are no rules to making rum, unlike Scotch or tequila.”

 

Makina Labrecque – Beverage Consultant/Owner, Here and There Consulting

Photograph by Jared Sych.

Perfect pairing

“The world’s greatest martini (bartender’s choice) at Proof with Brad Royale.”

 

What I love about cocktail culture right now

“We’re getting back to a more simplistic style that focuses on using ingredients in different ways that create less work on the back end when it comes to prep.”

 

Underrated spirit

“Cognac. Everyone thinks it’s just for sipping, but I love adding a quarter-ounce to my Old Fashioneds or Manhattans. It adds brightness.”

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This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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