Micky Valens is a Bartender at Wildebeest in Gastown.
I asked Micky to make a selection of his unique cocktails at Wildebeest.
Up first is the Tijuana
Inspiration: This cocktail is made to represent Tequila the way a Manhattan and a Brooklyn represent Rye. Tequila is really making a name for itself in the world of craft drink – this libation is a small symphony of flavors that call out to the delicate yet assertive nature of the agave spirit. I start by complimenting the tequila with bitter grapefruit aperitif and lengthening it with Cocchi Americano Bianco, a viscous, complex vermouth that boasts both fruity and bitter notes. Rounded off with vanilla, I finish this drink with a dash of Rhubarb bitters by Fee Brothers – the sour, vegetal kick helps brighten up the cocktail and brings the pallet to life.
45ml Premium Blanco Tequila
15ml Cocchi Americano
10ml Bittermens Citron Sauvage
5ml 1:1 Vanilla syrup
1 dash Rhubarb Bitters
Combine all 5 ingredients into a mixing glass. Stir until well diluted and well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a grapefruit twist with the oils expressed.
The next cocktail he made was the Gold Sparrow
Inspiration: This is one of those drinks that warm you up despite being served ice cold. Celebrating the flavors of our holiday season, we have a split spirit base of Calvados (a French apple brandy), Aged Cuban Rum, and Becherovka (a seasonally spiced Czech liqueur). It takes on the format of the classic Between the Sheets cocktail (cognac, rum, curaçao, lemon in equal parts) and delivers the flavors of apple, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg in a refreshing fashion. You ever look down Water street between Abbott and Carrall during the winter when the Christmas lights and decorations are up? This is what that drink tastes like to me.
20ml Aged Cuban Rum
20ml Fresh Lemon
10ml 1:1 honey water
Combine all 5 ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake (vigorously). Fine strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
The last cocktail he made was the El Kartel
Inspiration: I Named this after my favorite clothing store and the wide array of Mexican cuisine that surrounds our neighborhood (Gastown). We start with Pisco and Mezcal as our base. A Raw, fruity Pisco like Gobernador works the best for this drink, as does a clean, sharp and moderately smokey Mezcal such as Zacotepa. Fresh (and I mean fresh) Pineapple juice and Cilantro gives us the tropical Mexican flavor. Accompanied with the powerful flavors of ginger and Mezcal, the abrasive flavor of the cilantro stays fairly tame in this drink. Having never been a fan of the herb myself, I kind of starting making this cocktail to challenge my palette to enjoy it.
40ml Chilean Pisco
30ml Freah Pineapple
20ml Fresh Lime
20ml Ginger syrup*
7 leaves of cilantro (stem out)
Combine all 6 ingredients in a shaker. Shake briefly and fine strain into a Colin’s glass partially filled with ice. Top off with crushed ice, a lime wheel, and a long obnoxious pineapple leaf if you’ve got one on hand.
Combine 750ml of simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water) and as much ginger as you can handle (I usually add about a cup of chopped ginger) into a blender and blend until consistent. Fine strain. Makes ~750ml.
Wildebeest is located at 120 West Hastings Street in Vancouver and you can follow Micky on Instagram @mickyvalens
By: Richard Wolak