“Ten years ago, I knew nothing about the right way to make cocktails—I’d even use my teeth to open a beer,” says mixologist Steve Da Cruz. Today, Da Cruz is a star of Vancouver’s phenomenal cocktail scene.
For the drinks at the new Corner Suite Bistro de Luxe, he resurrects cocktails from 19th-century books, though some of his best drinks have a slightly more modern provenance. One is the Vancouver, a combination of gin, sweet vermouth and Benedictine created at the city’s Sylvia Hotel in the 1950s. “I learned how to make it from a customer with a thick Scottish brogue, who came in dressed like he was one of The Dirty Dozen,” Da Cruz says.
Da Cruz became obsessed with cocktails while hanging out in seminal Manhattan bars like Milk & Honey, but he’s happier in Vancouver. “In New York, you had to twist someone’s arm to lend you an unusual spirit,” he says. “Here, we share what we can.”
The snippet doesn’t say why it’s the “best”, but what’s glossy journalism without those declarative, wholly subjective and hyperbolic headlines? It goes without saying that barman/co-owner Steve Da Cruz can make a drink with the best of them (boy, does he ever), but is CSBDL really the Best New Bar in Vancouver? Maybe, but if we think of all the other places that have opened in the past year (if a year is what Snowden allowed), it’s a pretty tight field. Tannis and her crew at Bao Bei are solid. Jay Jones at Pourhouse is no slouch. And what about the The Diamond, which has amassed enough raw bartending talent to slay all for blocks around?
Your thoughts after the jump…