by Andrew Morrison | What’s the longest you’ve ever waited for a drink in a bar? Ten minutes? Twenty? Yesterday afternoon I learned that Shaun Layton, the 2010 Van Mag Bartender of the Year and Lord of the Wood at Gastown’s L’Abattoir, was about to start making a drink that could take as short as six weeks and as long as four months to adequately construct. In a first for Vancouver, a barman will age a cocktail in a whiskey barrel. It’s been done elsewhere (Montgomery Place in London, as Layton points out, and at Clive’s in Victoria, as reader MR reveals in the comments), and the results have proven especially interesting for drink wonks. For my part, I find the idea of a couple bottles of sweetened gin mutating unpredictably with hardly inert bitters for months on end inside a 3 gallon whiskey barrel to be straight up fascinating. As a fan of both drinks in sum (and of all their delightful parts), I can’t help but be freaky curious as to what they will taste like. Layton will be checking as time goes by, waiting for the perfect time to stop the woody infusion and load the mix into a few carefully considered bottles. Cooler still, he’s secured two barrels from Tuthilltown distillery in New York’s Hudson Valley: a bourbon cask and one that, until recently, contained a Yankee single malt.
And so, to soak in the bourbon barrel will go a Negroni, the ultimate aperitif of gin, vermouth and campari, whilst the single malt staves will impart mystery unto a Martinez, that maraschino-licked classic of gin, sweet vermouth and bitters (the original Martini, if the lore is to be believed). The experiment begins Wednesday, and we’ve invited Mr. Layton to keep us abreast of how things develop as the drink evolves.
PS. I’ve already called shotgun on the second sip.
The Charles Bar, brand new to Gastown, is now a proud member supporter of Scout. We will be publishing their news and press releases on our front page and hosting a page for them in our list of recommended places to check out. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support of our little website. Click ahead to read on or jump directly to their Scout page… Read more
A new liquor primary establishment called Guilt & Co. has opened in the refinished dungeon underneath Chill Winston on Gassy Jack Square. It’s basically an 89 seat extension of Chill Winston with the same owners and operators, a low ceilinged haunt for several strata of scenester. There’s a cold side and hot place kitchen plating what appears to be at the very least an amusing menu (those $5 pepperoni sticks better be good), a stage for live shows, and a cave that will play host to either private functions or little deuces upon which guests can request to play games like Boggle, Scrabble, and Cranium. Word is they’ll soon have two ancient Nintendo sets going as well, so we can shoot ducks while nursing Tsing Tao. GM Dani Vachon tells me that there will be unorthodox comedic improv on Wednesdays from 9pm until 11pm, and then live sets of genre-bending jams Thursday through Saturday from 10pm until midnight (on weekends they’re staying open until 2am). The space has got some vivid character and there plenty of things to look at in the interactive sense, like one of a kind menu covers and little “icebreakers” coasters (basically just pieces of paper with arbitrary questions like “Where is the next place that you will go traveling?”). The drinks list looks alright, too. They have plenty of beer, and very little of it is boring. The bar is the centerpiece, and tender Jonathan James (who helped to launch Mis Trucos) is at the wood in what I heard was a mandatory uniform of hat and suspenders. The name reminds me mightily of New York’s Death & Co., but what beats being an accessory to theft in the pursuit of a good time? It looks worth peeking your head in for sure, if only for a pint and some Scattergories. Your move.
Hours Of Operation
Monday – 11:00AM – 1:00AM
Tuesday – 11:00AM – 1:00AM
Wednesday – 11:00AM – 1:00AM
Thursday – 11:00AM – 1:00AM
Friday – 11:00AM – 2:00AM
Saturday – 10:00AM – 2:00AM
Sunday – 10:00AM – 1:00AM
Who We Are
General Manager: Chris Hannan
Bar Manager: Mike Bailey
An icon and a landmark location in Vancouver, Woodward’s gave us nearly a century of authentic yet forward-thinking style. The concept was built around the welcoming of newcomers into a thriving new neighbourhood; a city on the rise where art and commerce would merge to create a social hub of unique personalities. A consummate business professional and politician, Mr. Woodward never tolerated improprieties, yet he remained approachable and as always ready to shake one’s hand. Attention to detail and creativity were some of his trademarks, becoming infamous for his “25 cent days” and his mail order catalogues. Today that entrepreneurial spirit continues in the burgeoning renaissance of Gastown, the beating heart and architectural soul of Vancouver. Enjoy craft brews, classic cocktails and contemporary casual fare in a truly original West coast atmosphere: industrial wood, iron and brick. This structural foundation inspired us to design a space where a new generation of vanguards could explore ideas and push the envelope. We like to think of this as the type of fine establishment that Mr. Woodward would frequent and truly get to be himself; a place where he could meet friends and business colleagues alike, and be comfortable being called by his first name. Welcome to The Charles Bar.