Brown Sugar Bourbon is an award-winning oak barrel-aged bourbon with brown sugar and cinnamon flavors. To make WareHouse ’23’s version of this curative concoction, bourbon is added to hot water, sweetened with honey simple syrup, topped with slice of lemon and spiced with a cinnamon stick, all resting in an Irish coffee glass. This relieving cold-chaser has just the right amount of sweetness and citrus to balance out the luscious, intoxicating cinnamon and Brown Sugar Bourbon.
On my visit, as I caught up with a friend, this toasty beverage cloaked me like a cashmere blanket and the liquor muffled the sound of the singing piano player belting out songs just a couple of feet away from me.
Not Your Mama’s Moroccan at Amaro’s Table
Amaro’s Table’s beverage director Sara Newton created the recipe for this hot, alcohol-forward coffee drink. As with every drink at this cocktail lover’s Shangri-la, the mixture of spirits is impressive. Not Your Mama’s Moroccan contains a blend of Brown Jug Spirits’ Bourbon Cream, Cynar 70 (high alcohol content artichoke-based amaro), Stroh (Australian spiced rum) and Portland Roasters coffee. On my visit, bartender Preston Groves set the booze on fire and then topped the drink with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg.
Sipping this drink felt like warming up at a swanky European ski chalet after a long day on the slopes. To complete this splashy ski bunny fantasy, I ordered the Bavarian cheese fondue — a bowl of sauce made from Swiss cheese and white wine served with a large, warm pretzel. The bowl of creamy fondue had just the right amount of sauce for dipping pieces of this monster pretzel, with a bit left over to lick the bowl.
I’ve never been to a European ski chalet. I can’t even ski. But this elegant coffee drink, combined with the buzzy guitar music (like My Bloody Valentine) and Amaro’s excellent happy hour menu, was the perfect way to while away a lazy wintery Sunday afternoon.
Nana’s Lovin’ at The Grocery Cocktail & Social
This inventive libation created by newbie bartender Juliana (Jules) Chau made me wonder why there aren’t more foods or drinks that combine chocolate and apple. Chau explained her inspiration: “The holidays are coming up, and I wanted people to feel love.” She added that she strived to put the taste of Grandma’s warm house in a glass.
Chau started with apple brandy but felt the drink needed more apple; so, she added apple cider. The result of her experimentation was Nana’s Lovin’ — Bellewood Acres apple brandy, Meletti Cioccolato (a rich chocolatey spirit), Combier (triple sec), hot apple cider and Drambuie (Scotch whisky liqueur infused with heather honey).
To prepare this comfy sweater of spirits, Chau filled the glass with a hot mix of the apple cider and liquor, carved an orange peel into a heart shape and heated the peel to release its oils. She dusted the drink with powdered cinnamon. It tasted like a mash-up of hot chocolate and apple cider. Brilliant. Why isn’t this served everywhere?
If You Go
What: Smokehouse Provisions.
Where: 8058 E. Mill Plain Blvd. (The Mill), Vancouver.
Contact: 360-768-5140 or www.smokehouseprovisions.com
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
What: WareHouse ’23.
Where: 100 Columbia Street #102, Vancouver.
Contact: 360-726-7256 or www.warehouse1923.com
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to “whenever you leave,” Monday to Saturday (21 and older after 9 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.
What: Amaro’s Table.
Where: 1220 Main St., Suite 100, Vancouver.
Contact: 360-718-2942 or www.amarostable.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
Happy Hour: bar, 2 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close; dining room, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
What: The Grocery Cocktail & Social.
Where: 115 W. Seventh Street, Vancouver.
Contact: 360-258-1324 or www.thegrocerycocktailsocial.com
Hours: 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, minors welcome until 7:30 p.m.