Art of the Cocktail in Ottawa, Canada?
August 5, 2010 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Mixology in Ottawa, Canada: where to go for classic cocktails prepared by a skilled bartender?

I don't expect to find the equivalent of the Pegu Club, but I'm looking for someplace with a bartender who knows and appreciates the art of the cocktail, ie. can prepare classics like a White Lady/French 75/Pimm's Cup without looking up the recipe, puts some care and flourish into the preparation and uses fresh squeezed juices and egg whites when called for. Does this sound like any place you've been to in Ottawa, Canada?

Closest I experienced was when I was at the Chateau Laurier, the lounge called Zoe's, they used fresh ingredients but the bartenders were only trained in the dozen or so cocktails on the lounge menu. I checked out another venue called Trio in the west end of town, but the bartender just mixed from a box of recipes which how it's done in 99.9% of the places I've visited in Ottawa and Toronto.

Bonus points if the venue has a great cocktail atmosphere but we're happy to travel to wherever a dedicated "mixologist" is tending bar... ;)
posted by braemar to Food & Drink (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My little sister used to work at Absinthe, but I admit I've never been there for drinks nor am I any kind of expert on cocktails, I just know they have their own "signature cocktails" so it might be worth a shot. Or maybe Chez Lucien on Murray. If I had to guess, I'd say the higher-end restaurants and wine bars likely have bartenders that can do slightly more than pull a tap and pour a shot--maybe Farb's Kitchen & Wine Bar in New Edinburgh? Or Luxe in the market?

Again, I'm not an expert here. I was always more for the quart of Labatt 50 at the Dominion Tavern when I went out for drinks in Ottawa.
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:42 PM on August 5, 2010

I've only ordered wine, but the drinks at Murray Street Restaurant always look amazing. Last time I was there the bartender was making a Tequila Sunrise (which he mentioned was an odd request). Pimm's Cup was also on their specials board as I recall.
posted by betsybetsy at 6:16 PM on August 5, 2010

In Ottawa my feeling is that you'd have the best luck at a posh hotel that would actually get enough customers who appreciate such a skill. I don't know if there are boutique hotels in Ottawa, but the lounge at Chateau Laurier has a pretty interesting drink menu. Perhaps it's worth a shot? From the menu: "The bar is an extension of our kitchen, a philosophy that ensures your cocktail is made with the world’s finest spirits, the freshest local ingredients, juices squeezed daily on premise, and that are precisely executed by a handful of the region’s sturdiest barkeeps."
posted by bread-eater at 9:31 PM on August 5, 2010

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