You Need To Try This Delicious Riff on the Classic ‘Cuba Libre’ Cocktail at Vij’s

You Need To Try This is a running archive of all the awesome drinks and dishes we’ve come across over the course of our professional and private lives (or at least the ones we had the presence of mind and patience to photograph before they got in our bellies).

When Vij’s bartender Olivia Povarchook set out to create a new cocktail for the recent Bacardi Legacy competition in Vancouver, she came to think it’s all been done before. Every cocktail, every flavour combination, every trusted spirits ratio is based on the work of the bartending foremothers and forefathers that came before us. The classics are classic for a reason, so why try and reinvent the wheel?

Instead, Povarchook decided to build upon the work of others and pay homage to one of the most ubiquitous highballs of all time: the Cuba Libre. As the name suggests, the simple combination of rum and coke was created in Cuba in the early 1900’s. Inspired by the flavours of the original, Povarchook set out to make a stirred version that would elevate the classic to new heights using simple ingredients.

I was skeptical at first that a stirred, non-carbonated cocktail could mimic the flavours of the original but Povarchook very much proved me wrong. There’s no mistaking this combination of Bacardi 8 Year Old Rum, Amaro Averna, Amaretto, Angostura Bitters and lime peel for anything other than a great riff on a rum and coke. The flavour profile is spot on and yet this updated incarnation has been imbued with an elegance that elevates it up and away from its comparably basic predecessor. The award-winning drink is sending Olivia to represent Vancouver at the Bacardi Legacy national finals next month, and can currently be found on the legendary restaurant’s cocktail menu.


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  1. Has anyone noticed how Son of Vancouver’s Amaretto has been in every one of the recent winning comp drinks?!

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