Creative cocktails in Calgary can be found in innovative bars and restaurants where the clientele is always up for trying something new. The demand is growing, and bartenders have turned mixing into an art—and a trend. Below, Where recommends the six most creative cocktails in Calgary, from hard-to-find classics to house originals.
RAMOS GIN FIZZ
Where in Calgary: 80th and Ivy
Creative cocktail contents: gin, elderflower liquer, cream, lemon, egg whites
80th and Ivy’s version of a gin fizz combines Hendricks gin, St. Germain elderflower liquer, cream, fresh lemon and lime juice and egg whites. The traditional cream, egg whites and fresh lemon and lime juice have a significant affect on the flavour and texture of the drink, but when paired with a light spray of orange and flower water on the glass the cocktail is accented nicely and takes on a light, citrus and floral flavour.
80th and Ivy, 1127 17 Avenue SW, 403-452-6905, 80thandivy.com, map and reviews
Where in Calgary: Ox and Angela
Creative cocktail contents: bourbon, bitters, brown sugar, grapes, green apple slices
The Spanish restaurant’s eponymous drink is a take on an Old Fashioned. This version substitutes rum for bourbon to create a sweet, punchy elixir. Dark rum is mixed with bitters, brown sugar, muddled white grapes and Fee Brothers peach bitters, and then served with ice and a garnish of green apple slices (substituting the orange in an Old Fashioned) which pair nicely with the rum and can be used to stir the drink. Leave one slice to linger, it’ll soak up the rum and is a delicious treat at the end of the drink. For rum connoisseurs, upgrade the drink with Zacapa 23-year-old Guatemalan rum.
Ox and Angela, 528 17 Avenue SW, 403-457-1432, oxandangela.com, map and reviews
Where in Calgary: Milk Tiger Lounge
Creative cocktail contents: rye, cognac, Cinzano, Benedictine DOM, bitters
This New Orleans classic is not often seen outside of Louisiana due to the rarity of a key ingredient—Peychaud’s bitters. The drink is a stiff one and, as owner and general manager Nathan Head describes, “definitely not one for the faint of heart as it is all booze, but for those that do brave it, they will be rewarded with a velvety smooth loveliness cradled with a hint of bitter and topped off with a kiss of herbal sweetness.” How could you pass it up? To rank as one of Calgary’s most creative cocktails, the vieux carre combines Alberta premium rye whiskey, Courvoisier VS cognac, Cinzano Rosso, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters and Benedictine DOM.
Milk Tiger Lounge, 1410 4 Street SW, 403-261-5009, milktigerlounge.ca, map and reviews
Where in Calgary: Raw Bar
Creative cocktail contents: vodka, pear nectar, lemongrass, lychee
Raw Bar, situated amongst the mod décor of downtown Calgary’s Hotel Arts, is known for its creative cocktails and cuisine. One staple is The Derelict. With a base of Skyy vodka, the cocktail incorporates a unique blend of pear and lemongrass nectar with tropical pineapple and lychee liqueur for a sweet, Asian-inspired drink. The mixologists at Raw Bar are always eager to tailor any personal libations.
Raw Bar, Hotel Arts, 119 12 Ave. SW, 403-206-9565, hotelarts.ca/raw-bar, map and reviews
Where in Calgary: Model Milk
Creative cocktail contents: whiskey, Averna Amaro, chocolate bitters
Soon to be a Calgary classic, this creative cocktail is already being replicated at some of the city’s best lounges. The drink is a strong one, served over a single huge ice cube, and containing 40 Creek Whiskey, Averna Amaro and Fee Brothers Aztec chocolate bitters. The herbal qualities of the Averna mix splendidly with the chocolate bitters. The drink is capped off with a flamed orange peel, rubbed around the lip of the glass and added to the drink to stir.
Model Milk, 308 17 Avenue SW, 403-265-7343, modelmilk.ca, map and reviews
Where in Calgary: Anejo
Creative cocktail contents: Tequila, lemon juice, lime juice, agave, ginger
This recently opened restaurant is a modern twist on rustic Mexicana, serving up a strictly tequila-based drinks menu that pairs nicely with the authentic cuisine. The ginger margarita blends Cazadores tequila with freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice, muddled together with agave syrup and ginger. One of Calgary’s most creative cocktails, it manages to balance sweet, sour and spicy notes to deliver a unique combination of flavours.
Anejo, #2 2116 4 Street SW, 587-353-2656, anejo.ca, map and reviews