Vancouver Cocktail Recipe

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Vancouver Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The Vancouver cocktail is a classic drink with a rich heritage. It's a variation of the Martini, with a Canadian twist, hailing from the city it's named after.

  • Origins
    • The Vancouver cocktail is believed to have originated in the early 1950s.
    • It was first served in the Sylvia Hotel, a historic establishment overlooking English Bay in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Popularity
    • This cocktail is a favorite among gin enthusiasts and those who appreciate herbal and aromatic flavors.
  • Cultural Significance
    • The inclusion of Benedictine, a French herbal liqueur, adds a touch of international flair to this Canadian classic.

How Vancouver Tastes?

The Vancouver cocktail offers a complex and refined taste. It's a harmonious blend of the botanicals in gin with the sweet and herbal notes from the vermouth and Benedictine. The orange bitters add a subtle citrus zing, creating a balanced, smooth, and slightly sweet sip with a warm, aromatic finish.

Interesting facts about Vancouver

  • The Vancouver cocktail is sometimes compared to the Martinez, another gin-based classic, due to its use of sweet vermouth.
  • Benedictine, an ingredient in this cocktail, is made with a secret recipe of 27 herbs and spices and has been produced since the 19th century.
  • The Sylvia Hotel, where the cocktail originated, is a designated heritage building and has been in operation since 1912.


  • Gin: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Sweet vermouth: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Benedictine: 1tsp
  • Orange bitters: 1-2dashes
  • Lemon peel: 1strip

A few good options for Vancouver are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


A gin lover's foundation, this 2oz pour is the backbone of our Vancouver concoction. Its botanicals are the lead singers in this chorus of flavors. Skimp on it, and you'll be left with a flat melody; too much, and you drown the harmony.

Mary Mitkina

Sweet Vermouth:

This 0.5oz touch sweetens the deal, rounding off gin's sharp edges. It's like that friend who softens a blunt truth with a kind word. Dodge it, and you’ll miss the mellow twist; overdo, and the cocktail turns syrupy.

Alex Green


Just a tsp, but don't underestimate it. It adds a herbal hug that's warm and complex. Forget it, and you'll skip the cocktail's soul; overindulge, and the drink becomes a medicinal potion.

Emma Rose

Orange Bitters:

1-2 dashes are the spice of life here, giving a subtle wink of citrus and depth that'll make your taste buds tango. Without them, you lose the zest; too much, and it's a zesty mess.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Peel:

This strip isn't just for show; it's the zesty bow that ties everything together. Omit this, and the cocktail loses its aromatic whisper; an overzealous twist, and it's like a lemon drop invaded your drink.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Vancouver Drink

  1. Chill the Glass
    • Place a cocktail glass in the freezer to chill.
  2. Mix Ingredients
    • In a mixing glass, combine 2 ounces of gin, 1/2 ounce of sweet vermouth, 1 teaspoon of Benedictine, and 1-2 dashes of orange bitters.
  3. Stir
    • Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir the mixture well for about 30 seconds.
  4. Strain
    • Strain the cocktail into the chilled glass.
  5. Garnish
    • Twist a thin strip of lemon peel over the drink to release its oils and then use it as a garnish.

Pro Tips

  • Stir, Don't Shake: Stirring gently is key to maintaining the clarity and smooth texture of the cocktail.
  • Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality gin and vermouth as they are the primary flavors in this cocktail.
  • Lemon Peel: Make sure to twist the lemon peel over the drink to get the essential oils into the cocktail, enhancing its aroma.

Perfect Pairings


  • Olives: A classic cocktail companion, their briny saltiness contrasts beautifully with the botanicals in the gin.
  • Prosciutto-wrapped Melon: The sweetness of the melon and the savory umami of the prosciutto complements the herbal notes of the cocktail.

Main Courses:

  • Grilled Salmon: Its rich, oily texture and delicate flavor pair well with the herbaceous and slightly sweet notes of the Vancouver.
  • Roast Chicken: A simple roast chicken with a hint of lemon harmonizes with the citrus notes from the cocktail's lemon peel garnish.


  • Aged Gouda: The nuttiness and slight sweetness of aged Gouda match the warm notes of Benedictine.
  • Blue Cheese: Its strong flavor stands up to the complexity of the cocktail.


  • Lemon Tart: Echoing the citrus garnish, a lemon tart would be a refreshing end to a meal alongside this cocktail.

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What you could change in Vancouver

  • Gin: If you don't have a classic London dry gin, try using an American-style gin for a different twist.
  • Sweet Vermouth: A good quality red vermouth can be substituted if needed.
  • Benedictine: While there's no true substitute for its unique flavor, you could experiment with a dash of Chartreuse for a different herbal note.

Explore all drinks starting with V here

And of course - twists🍹

Vancouver by the Beach

  • Swap gin for coconut-infused rum.
  • Add 0.25 oz of pineapple juice.
  • Use a lime peel instead of lemon. This version transports you to sandy shores, giving you a tropical twist while sipping under the sun.

Maple Vancouver

  • Add 1/2 tsp of maple syrup.
  • Use apple bitters instead of orange. This Canadian homage is richer and has a woodsy touch that’ll remind you of autumn in the great north.

Green Vancouver

  • Replace Benedictine with Green Chartreuse.
  • Add a sprig of fresh thyme as garnish. The herbal intensity is notched up, creating a drink that feels like a walk in a mountain forest.

In case you forgot basics how to make Vancouver

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Vancouver

What are some common tools needed for making a Vancouver cocktail?

To make a Vancouver cocktail, you'll typically need a mixing glass, a bar spoon, a jigger for measuring, a strainer, and a chilled cocktail glass.

Can the Vancouver cocktail be batched for parties?

Yes, the Vancouver cocktail can be made in larger quantities and stored in a pitcher or bottle. Keep the batch in the refrigerator and stir individual servings with ice just before serving.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Vancouver cocktail?

For a non-alcoholic version, you can use non-alcoholic gin and vermouth substitutes, omit the Benedictine (as there is no direct non-alcoholic equivalent), and use a dash of herbal syrup or non-alcoholic bitters for complexity.

How long should I stir the cocktail for the best results?

It is generally recommended to stir the cocktail for about 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink while maintaining a smooth texture.

What is the role of ice in making the Vancouver cocktail?

Ice is used to chill the ingredients as you stir, which also slightly dilutes the cocktail, bringing out the flavors and making it more palatable.

Are there any specific garnishes that enhance the Vancouver cocktail?

While the classic garnish is a strip of lemon peel, some bartenders might add a maraschino cherry or a cocktail onion for a different twist on the presentation.

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