Steve da Cruz, Mixologist
"Ten years ago, I knew nothing about the right way to make cocktailsI'd even use my teeth to open a beer," says mixologist Steve Da Cruz. Today, Da Cruz is a star of Vancouver's phenomenal cocktail scene.
For the drinks at the new Corner Suite Bistro de Luxe, he resurrects cocktails from 19th-century books, though some of his best drinks have a slightly more modern provenance. One is the Vancouver, a combination of gin, sweet vermouth and Benedictine created at the city's Sylvia Hotel in the 1950s. "I learned how to make it from a customer with a thick Scottish brogue, who came in dressed like he was one of The Dirty Dozen," Da Cruz says.
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Da Cruz became obsessed with cocktails while hanging out in seminal Manhattan bars like Milk & Honey, but he's happier in Vancouver. "In New York, you had to twist someone's arm to lend you an unusual spirit," he says. "Here, we share what we can."
(Update: Corner Suite Bistro de Luxe closed in January 2011.)
Top New Spirits
One of Steve Da Cruz's favorite new distillers is Victoria Spirits, which hand-makes small batches in a wood-fired copper still. Here are three of its standouts:
Victoria Gin: Victoria bottles only the best part of the distilling run, known as "the heart."
Twisted & Bitter: The distillery makes these bitters with organic oranges and double-infused gin.
Craigdarroch Whisky: Victoria's tasting room will soon offer barrel samplings of this much-anticipated single malt.