Friday 4 May 2012

Veneto Unveils Their New Menu!

This weekend Veneto Tapa Lounge in Victoria, B.C., will be busting out a new cocktail and wine menu featuring some really awesome-looking originals, one or two old favourites, and even some new flights. According to Simon, the new menu is "quite reflective of what we do at Veneto; playful and fun with a backbone of classicist bartending technique."

I found the "flight" idea very exciting when I was there. At the time they had an "evolution of..." flight you could try, for example, the evolution of "The Brandy Cocktail," from its oldest incarnation to the most modern. This time around, they've gotten even more creative, doing "The Hemingway Trio," with the Death In The Afternoon, Papa Doble, and Death In The Gulfstream. There's also a Wondrich-inspired Manhattan flight, and one I think is simple but particularly clever, "The Sour Trio," going from bourbon in the south, to Tequila in Mexico, to pisco in South America.

Still remaining are Veneto classics like Rosemary's Baby and Wax Poetic, but for the most part the menu is totally new.

I'm excited to try every single one, but I should try to narrow myself to mentioning just a few I suppose. Oh screw that, I'm going to talk about the ones I want to try. Here are the first ones the popped out to me:

From Katie McDonald comes a few lighter drinks like "The Fluffer," with gin, Aperol, Orancio, and orange flower water, and "Jenkins!," with gin, honey, lychee, lemon, rose water, and a rosebud garnish, but she balances out her selection with "The Stranger," using Maker's 46 and sarsaparilla bitters complete with a Big Lebowski quote.

A few from Josh Boudreau really have me salivating, like "The Red Dress," which combines grappa, Campari, orange, and violette ("perfect for a night of playful conversation and intimate confessions"), and throws a little fire in the mix with "The Chestnut Cabinet" via flames Angostura and rum, chestnut, French vermouth, coffee bitters, and Jamaican rum.

Then there's the man himself, Simon Ogden, with a handful of new concoctions. The most noteworthy for me is one he created for Jay Jones of Market in the Shangri-La Hotel in Vancouver - "Passionate modern bartending on the West Coast has its pioneers. Vancouver's Jay Jones is one of the greatest. This is for him, with gratitude." Simon has graciously sent me the recipe, which uses the deliciously spicy Bittermens Tiki bitters in honour of Jay's island heritage, a recipe I will share below. Simon also a diverse mix inluding "Satchmo" (Mr. Louis Armstrong), which blends Highland and Islay whiskies with cinnamon apple bitters, honey, and lemon, the refreshing "Gin Micki" using gin, cucumber, pear, and celery bitters, and "Jasper Newton," (an ode to Jack Daniel's) with JD, fig compote, barrel-aged bitters, a red wine float, and a fig newton "on the side for good measure."

Lastly, there are a few new sparkling options, two of which I must try as well -
"Kentucky Waterfall" from Josh, with bourbon, peach, Campari, and prosecco,
and "A Modest Proposal," from Katie, with juiced celery, pistachio, cacha├ža, and prosecco.

Thirsty yet? Today is another day I'm sad I almost never make it over to Victoria. The new menu is probably reason enough.

So, the Barjonesing (which is both the name of Jay's twitter and consulting company). Simon has called Cynar his "all time, number one fave" amaro. "Beautiful, syrupy, and just the right amount of bitter" (you can see more info in my Amaro April series introduction). All these ingredients are readily available in B.C., thankfully (head to Legacy), and the Bittermens can be picked up at Gourmet Warehouse for just $17 per bottle (and they're all worth it). Simon tells me "Elemakule" means "old man" in Hawaiian. You learn something new every day.

I tip my hat and glass to Simon and the Veneto team, and to Jay as well. Now, get to Veneto and try some new drinks!


2 oz. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1/2 oz Amaro Cynar
1/2 oz Giffard Abricot de Rousillan
3 dashes Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters

Lightly and briefly stir all ingredients together in ice just to cool them, then strain over large ice in an Old Fashioned Glass.
Garnish with a flamed Orange zest.

If you are unfamiliar with Veneto, please
check out my review here
check out The Pandemonium cocktail here
check out The Cherry Bob-omb cocktail here

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