As thermometers around Vancouver begin to creep into double digits and sunsets creep towards 8pm, patios around the city are starting to earn their keep by hosting patrons excited about the change of season. The style of drinks sliding across the wood at The Keefer Bar are unmistakably making a shift towards Spring. The Bar Team has been hard at work coming up with a selection of cocktails designed to help us shed the callus of Winter and slip into something a little more comfortable, ie. sunshine.
This seasons menu plays host to a tonne of new tantalizing flavour combinations such as pineapple and pink peppercorn, kalamansi and chili, hibiscus-rose honey and licorice root spearmint to name a few. While pollen in the air and blooming flowers are causing chaos for those suffering from allergies, we have been hard at work turning the culprits into classics.
The Winter saw Bar Manager Dani Tatarin spending a few weeks honing her skills in traditional Mexican drinks while on tour in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Oaxaxa. Our spring menu is reflective of her trip, incorporating Mezcals from Los Siete Misterios and Findencio in fresh creations. The Mezcal revolution is only set to continue at the Keefer Bar as 3 of our team head to Oaxaca next month to take part in a Canadian invasion of the Mezcal producing regions in the areas… look out!
Dani’s take on the Mexican staple, Agua Loca, blends Findencio Joven (young) Mezcal with a heavy lick of Chinese fruit water, crusted with the intriguing rim of Sal de Gusano y chili; A traditional accompaniment of Mezcal, it consists of roasted worms from the maguey plant, dried, crushed and blended with salt and chili. This drink is as destined to turn heads as it is to have patrons begging for a second. Her other new Mezcal creation is the classically driven, booze heavy ‘Non Stop’ , featuring Los Siete Misterios Espadin Mezcal, Lillet Rouge, Calvados, Hennesy VS, Maraschino liqueur and orange bitters. This cocktail is perfect for those fans of the Vieux Carre or the Martinez that aren’t afraid of a little smoke.
The Winter also saw our boys Keenan Hood and Gez McAlpine head up to Big White ski resort to compete in the first annual Absolut Big White Bartending competition. Keenan placed fourth with the Keefer winter menu favorite ‘Fantasy Island’ and Gez came in second with his new spring menu debut – ‘The Green Run’, utilizing Absolut Elyx, Martini Bianco, Lime, Coconut gomme and a Kaffir lime and vanilla bitters. Both drinks will no doubt be going out like hot cakes as the city prepares for summer!
There is no shortage of Keefer Classic reworks, the Whiskey Sour and nouveau New York classic by Audrey Saunders, ‘The Old Cuban’ falling victim this spring. Wild Turkey Bourbon, kalamansi juice and birds eye chili take the sour on a new adventure, while the Old Cuban learns some new tricks with spearmint tea and licorice root spagyric tincture. An ancient approach to medicine, spagyric tinctures are made following the moon cycles and involve the re-introduction of the burnt ash of plant matter after the infusion has taken place.
Free Lee and the team in the kitchen have been experimenting ith new and exciting sharing dishes to accompany the perfect drink. New additions to our tapas selection include a Chinese anitpasto plate with home-made diakon pickles, chilled blanched green beans with a sweet sesame sauce, marinated button mushrooms and house cured quail eggs. Then there’s the delicious Keefer twist on shrimp tacos, smothered in black bean sauce and Keefer slaw. This Spring we are launching our “2 for 1” Tapas special from 5pm to 8pm Sunday to Thursday, so if you haven’t tried our Chinese inspired tapas menu now is the time. A large portion of the menu now boasts gluten free options with some incredible flavours so there is no missing out for our friends with specific diet requirements!
There is only so much we can cram into a blog post as the spring menu really is bursting with great new drinks we are excited to share! Drop by and see which remedy is for you…