By RACHAEL FREY
Calgary is notorious for its cold, blustery winters. While you might set out for the night in the mood for a cocktail, by the time you arrive at your destination a cold drink is the last thing on your mind. Luckily, Calgary’s savvy mixologists are on the case, creating delicious cocktails that are served warm enough to defrost your fingers and heat you from the inside out. And, if you get snowed in, they’ve kindly provided the recipes so you can re-create their inventions at home.
Nouvella Picante at Candela Lounge
The bar dominates the centre of the room at the elegant and exotic Candela Lounge. The menu reflects its global flair with a focus on small plates with a Latin twist, such as bison chorizo with caramelized onions, tomato and melted cheese curds or “Russian roulette”—six oyster shots, one of which is extra hot. That playful sense of flavour extends to the cocktail menu as well. Created by mixologist Darren Fabian on a frosty December night, the Nouvella Picante is a warm, sweet, rich drink that can be paired with dessert or just replace it entirely. As an added bonus, the espresso component will keep you dancing all night.
• 2 parts Amaretto
• 1 part Frangelico
• 1 part Zanin pepperocino
• 2 parts hot espresso in room temperature martini glass
Shake 1 oz vanilla syrup and 4 parts whipping cream over ice and double strain on top of liquid in glass to float. Garnish with coffee beans.
♦ 1919 – 4 St SW, 403-719-0049, candelalounge.com
Apple Hot Butter Rum at
Raw Bar by Duncan Ly
Raw Bar by Duncan Ly is well known for the inventive cuisine of its eponymous Executive Chef Ly. The bar has a cool, spacey vibe, with massive blue pillars that morph into the ceiling off-set by clusters of twinkling glass spheres and neutral gray décor. The food is described as “Vietmodern” with creative plates that draw inspiration from Vietnamese recipes, such as a half duck roasted in lemongrass and served with crepes and tamarind hoisin jam. Mixologist extraordinaire and General Manager Christina Mah matches the creativity of the food with her cocktail inventions, mixing up drinks like her warm and spicy take on a classic, Apple Hot Butter Rum. Fortified with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, it blends hot apple cider and hot buttered rum into a cloudy, spiced cocktail that tastes just like winters past.
• 1.5 oz rum
• 1 oz of cloudy apple juice
• 0.5 oz of hot water
• Pinch of cinnamon
• Pinch of clove
• Pinch of cardamom
• Dollop of butter
Stir together in a sauce pan over medium heat. Simmer. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
♦ 119 – 12 Ave SW, 403-206-9565, www.rawbaryyc.ca
Heated Conversation at
Ming Asian Bistro and Bar
A cool and kitschy throwback to the days of themed lounges, Ming was designed with a tongue-in-cheek communist theme that pays homage to Chairman Mao and friends. The main part of the bar is a few steps below street level which, combined with a roaring fire, makes for a cozy retreat from the hustle of 17th Avenue. The menu is focused on Asian-inspired dishes, but the real star is the cocktail menu, full of drinks with creative recipes. It’s home to a warm, chocolate-y smooth drink, mixed up by bartender Liza Semenova for a customer who had tasted something amazing in Belgium and wanted her to recreate it. After a little experimentation, she hit upon the recipe for Heated Conversation. Semenova says the cocktail combined with Ming’s éclairs is “like chocolate heaven!”
• 2 tbsp cocoa powder
• 250 ml whole milk
• 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
Heat milk in saucepan over medium heat; stir in cocoa powder until it dissolves.
• 1/3 oz Pisco
• 2/3 oz Grand Marnier
Top up with whipped cream as desired and sprinkle chocolate shavings on top.
♦ 520 – 17 Ave SW, 403-229-1986, www.mingeatdrink.com
Hurricane Nancy at
CHARCUT Roast House
The vibe at CHARCUT Roast House is undeniably charming and rustic, from the Mason jar chandeliers to the reclaimed barn wood panelling. While the menu changes daily according to what’s fresh—and the whims of the chefs—it’s guaranteed to feature decadent, meaty dishes like hunter’s pie with bone marrow or a sausage burger topped with cheese curds and a fried egg. The seasonal ingredients are carefully plucked from small, local artisan farms and ranches and combined into flavourful meals. Another item you’re guaranteed to find on the menu is the Hurricane Nancy cocktail, created by mixologist Bryon King to keep patrons warm when they blow in off the street this winter. Deceptively simple in its ingredients, the drink is gently warmed by being swirled in its own heated snifter.
• 1 oz Calvados
• 1 oz Amaro Nonino
• 0.5 oz Fernet Branca
• 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir ingredients together without ice. Swirl fresh hot water in a snifter glass to get the glass at a high temperature. Throw out the hot water, then add the liquor into the heated snifter. Swirl to reach heated temperature. Serve with an orange swath for garnish.
♦ 899 Centre St SW, 403-984-2180, www.charcut.com
Vino Caliente at Ox and Angela
Ox and Angela is a celebrated restaurant and tapas bar that strives to offer an authentic and traditional Spanish tapas experience. It’s divided in two, with one half serving as a bustling restaurant that’s always filled with the sound of laughter and clinking glasses while patrons linger over small plates such as pan-fried mushrooms on toasted bread with soft egg and truffle, or za’atar fried chicken with harrisa dip and housemade potato chips. Not to be outdone, lead bartender Neila MacIntyre presides over the second half of the space, a dark, sexy cocktail bar decked out in wood and leather. She’s the creator of the Vino Caliente cocktail, which, as it’s name suggests, is a hot, spiced sangria. Inspired by the sangrias of Spain and the flavours of autumn, the mix of cloves, cinnamon and ginger give it an irresistible Christmas aroma.
• 4 oz red wine (a Sangiovese is recommended)
• 1 oz spiced syrup (2 cups sugar, 2 cups red wine. Bring to a simmer until sugar is dissolved.)
• 1 tbsp cloves
• 2 tbsp cinnamon
• 5 pieces of star anise
• 1/8 cup grated ginger
Stew and enjoy!
♦ 528 – 17 Ave SW, 403-457-1432, oxandangela.com