Crafting the perfect cocktail entails more than just a basic knowledge of how to mix a drink. It’s a blend of art and science that, done properly, satisfies all four taste senses (salty, sweet, bitter and sour). At the award-winning Raw Bar in Calgary, mixologists draw from an array of fresh, seasonal ingredients as well as their own experiences to create their highly innovative cocktails. Bar manager Christina Mah’s artful libations employ such delectable elements as lemon honey, fresh herbs and lavender. Her holiday suggestions (one with spirits; one without) “were inspired by reminiscences of childhood Christmases.”
Apple Lavender Cider
1 ounce Calvados apple brandy
4 to 5 ounces of fresh apple juice
dash of lemon juice
1 ounce apple-lavender honey syrup (made by bringing ½ a cup of sugar, ½ cup of water, 1 sliced apple and a pinch of lavender to a boil, then simmering for 10 minutes on low heat before running the mixture through a fine strainer.)
Method: Combine all ingredients in a small teapot and heat on the stovetop. (For a frothier option, use a steam wand.) Pour into small espresso cups and serve with a side of apple chips.
Spice Berry Crush
6 cranberries (2 for garnish)
4 blackberries (1 for garnish)
Method: Muddle 4 cranberries, 4 blackberries and cinnamon sugar in the bottom of a mixing glass. Shake vigorously with ice and fine strain into a Collins glass over ice. Top with ginger ale and remaining berries.