Satiate Summer’s Heat with Craft Cocktails
Eating & Drinking

Satiate Summer’s Heat with Craft Cocktails

You walk around the house to the back. From the other side of the gate, you hear a scream. Then a mammoth splash — the kind a body makes when it hits the water. Then a little breathless screech. These, the sounds of a pool party, beckon one through the gate. Sunlight shimmers off the ripples of the water. “It’s more than a hundred degrees,” one would say, pre-Celsius, on such hot summer days. At the party, a woman you think you know, in a polka-dot sundress, is taking off her yellow flip-flops. A man in tight striped trunks heaves himself out of the deep end. Others lounging poolside sip on straws plunged deep into drinks of varying hues. A woman you do know, wearing a grenadine swimsuit, approaches. She whispers into your ear, “A cocktail’s what I need.” Her eyes narrow as she growls, “And how.”

(Illustration above: David Merritt)


“The Angostura Bitters’ herbaceous tone gets your palate ready for the Chartreuse,” says Atari owner Mark McLachlan of his #B.A.E. tequila cocktail. Despite the orange-flavoured triple sec and black-cherry syrup, smacks of pineapple and lime predominate (we like). Whipped egg whites enrich the velvety concoction. Before. Anyone. Else. Indeed! $14.
Atari, 297 Dalhousie St., 613-422-8877

Classic Martini

Way back when, Zoé’s Lounge at Fairmont Château Laurier offered a dry or a sweet martini. Before the installation of the piano by the door, you could quietly chat with the bartender. Now, Zoé’s premium martini is made from your choice of six different gins, including No. 3 and Hendrick’s. The Botanist is sweet and floral, with a plethora of Scottish botanicals. Angelica, gorse, and apple mint anyone? $15.
Zoé’s Lounge, Fairmont Château Laurier, 1 Rideau St., 613-241-1414

Gin and Juice #2

Snoop Dogg rapped about sipping gin and juice (smoking indo too) in ’94. Presumably the Hooch Bourbon House version — the result of a collaborative effort among the bartenders — is nothing like you’d find in Compton. The not-too-sweet drink is made with cherry gin from Dillon’s, a small-batch distillery. Grapefruit, lime, and Campari-like Aperol subdue the cherry. A jalapeno slice bites. Who needs the bubonic chronic? $14.
Hooch Bourbon House, 180 Rideau St., 613-789-1821

Gin and Juice #2

  • 1.5 oz Cherry Infused Gin
  • 0.5 oz Aperol
  • 0.5 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1.0 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Muddled Jalapeno wheel (remove seeds for less spicy)

Margarita Mexicana Tradicional

Forget the slushie — Navarra is down with the time-honoured margarita. Ice dropped in, then strained. The lime concoction is shot through with tequila and triple sec. Only at Navarra, though, is your glass rimmed with lime, then dipped in espelette chili and fleur de sel. Agave syrup may provide caramel sweetness, but this baby zips through you sour. $14.
Navarra Restaurant, 93 Murray St., 613-241-5500

Margarita Mexicana Tradicional

  • 1.5 oz jimador tequila reposado
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1 tsp Amber agave syrup
  • Juice of 1 fresh lime (about 1 oz )

Chill glasses 2 hours in fridge prior to serving (chill glasses with ice cubes)
In a shaker combine all ingredients above and shake well
Discard ice from chilled glasses and rim with mixture below
Fill each glass 1/3 way with some ice cubes and pour the shaker mix into glass and serve with lime wedge.

Rim recipe (makes enough for 10 margaritas)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup finely ground fleur de sel
1 tablespoon espelette chil powder or ancho chile powder
Finely grated zest of 1 lime

Desert Rose

In the springtime, Café My House chef/owner Briana Kim forages for pine tips. She’s distilling rosehip pine syrup for her Desert Rose cocktail. “We wanted to make something romantic,” she explains. You can smell the roses (Dillon’s rose gin is in there too). Also in it: Muscat wine and lime and some zing from a ginger liqueur; diaphanous froth on top. So delicate. $14. Café My House, 1015 Wellington St. W., 613-733-0707


Look for Ottawa Magazine‘s summer issue on newsstands June 20, 2016. Plus, taste the cocktails! The pages of our summer issue come alive for one night only, June 21, 2016, for The Lure of Water: A Summer Cocktail Party hosted by Ottawa Magazine. Tickets are just $25. Get them early!

Eventbrite - Ottawa Magazine Presents: The Lure of Water, A Summer Cocktail Party