Written By Treve Ring Cocktails / Libations Aug 26, 2010 Veneto at Hotel Rialto The Serenity Cocktail SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest $14 I think it’s pretty fair to generalize that the majority of hospitality industry people move away from Vancouver Island to find work. Vancouver, Toronto and beyond – many f&b pros at the top of their game, or well on their way, pack up and head out in search of brighter lights, bigger names and buzzier scenes and better cheques. Which is why I was surprised to hear that longtime and highly respected Vancouver bartender Simon Ogden was moving to Victoria. What? A young, popular, professional bartender was coming here? To live and WORK in Victoria? Turns out Simon and his wife have long loved the lifestyle and – like many non-Islanders – dreamed about putting down offshore roots. So when Hotel Rialto made Simon an offer he couldn’t refuse to come and run the bar at downtown’s newest cocktail hotspot Veneto, they jumped. Point Victoria. Vancouver’s loss is absolutely our gain. Simon is modest and humble, a classicist gentleman so expertly versed in cocktail culture and history that he is mentoring two young bartending Jedi at the Veneto. At once inherently old school (dress shirt, vest, sleeve garters) and new wave (Japanese ice molds, local gin), Simon’s deft hand with the bottle is echoed by his skilled way with the customer. He eschews the ‘scene’ and the snobs that fuel it, focusing his energy on taking care of the customer throughout their entire experience. A Playwright in his spare (?) time, he likens the bar to the stage – from the entrance to the exit and all the lines within, it’s the barkeep’s role to direct, produce and run the show for the guest. So put yourself in good hands and take in the show. Simon made me an original cocktail, inspired by his short time in Victoria. The Serenity features Silk Road Tea, elderflower, Cognac and fresh mint, all seamlessly melded together in a tall, slender slip of a glass. Cool and subtle lemongrass, citrus, delicate mint, with a lifted, effervescent finish, this mature and elegant cocktail evolved over our discussion. Floral notes, orange wood, minerality. Each sip lulls one deeper into serenity – even sitting at the bar amongst the post-work Friday night crowd. Well played Mr. Ogden – welcome to Victoria. THE SERENITY COCKTAIL – courtesy of Simon Ogden Photo courtesy of Simon Ogden, Veneto You’ll need 4 leaves fresh Spearmint, lightly pressed in a highball glass to express the oils. 2 oz Hennessy VS Cognac 2 oz Chilled Philosopher’s Brew from Silk Road Tea 1/2 oz Elderflower Syrup Flash chill and strain into glass over 3 whiskey cubes and mint, top with Champagne. Rating: (click here to see what our wine ratings mean) -Treve Ring, Online DRINK Editor August 12, 2010 Cocktails SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Written By: Treve Ring Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade. In addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for WineAlign, ... Read More You may also like Cocktails January 14, 2015 Pierre Picaud Cocktail This time of year, I really enjoy the flavors of mezcal with the warm spices of the season. Mezcal can be very underrated and misunderstood, but with ... Read More Cocktails / Victoria December 24, 2014 Holiday Cocktails Good spirits and holiday celebrations are in the air. Festive get-togethers are popping up everywhere and nothing says “tis the season” better ... Read More Cocktails December 23, 2014 Mull it Over Glögg, Glühwein, whatever you call it and in whatever country you tried it for the first time – should be a staple for this time of year. The ... Read More Cocktails / Drink People / Victoria November 24, 2014 Scott Lansdowne Shows Off His “Bitters Lab” at the Back of Cenote There’s a modest little place, and it’s easy to miss, downstairs on Yates below a record store and the Odeon, and most people don’t know how to ... Read More Cocktails November 13, 2014 Hot Toddy: The Little Cure-All That Could As the days grow colder and shorter, there’s nothing quite like a hot toddy to warm you up. Nothing soothes a case of the sniffles, it seems, ... Read More Cocktails / Drink People / Victoria October 1, 2014 The Art of the Cocktail Comes to Victoria This Weekend Tickets are on sale for Canada’s Premier Cocktail Event! From October 4‐6, Art of the Cocktail returns for its sixth spirited season to celebrate ... Read More Comments are closed.