Written By Treve Ring Cocktails / Libations Aug 26, 2010 Veneto at Hotel Rialto The Serenity Cocktail $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 December 27, 2013 The Bacon Caesar Finds a Home in BC Canada’s “national” cocktail, the Bloody Caesar was invented in 1969 by bartender Walter Chell to commemorate the opening of Marco’s Italian ... Read More Cocktails / First Look / Victoria November 19, 2013 Little Jumbo Down the Hall, 506 Fort St. Victoria | (778) 433-5535 | www.littlejumbo.ca There’s a new elephant in town, and its presence can’t be ignored. ... Read More Cocktails / Victoria October 30, 2013 Art of the Cocktail 2013 Words: Colin Hynes Photos: Mitch Thacker The Art of the Cocktail is similar to a cocktail party, only much bigger. Instead of having one host serving ... Read More Cocktails / Spirits / Victoria October 18, 2013 Countdown to the Art of the Cocktail. Who’s Thirsty? How does sipping aperitif wines while eating imported chocolates sound? What about rediscovering the glory of forgotten concoctions with the creator ... Read More Cocktails February 26, 2013 Showdown at 5,700 feet: A Cocktail Challenge. OKANAGAN Wine Country, Vintner’s Valley, Napa of the North…all phrases used to describe the Okanagan Valley. Not a surprise when ... Read More Cocktails February 1, 2013 Valentines Day Cocktails: Five Bartenders COCKTAILS Valentines Day, often contested as a “hallmark holiday”, sees the prices of chocolate, candy and tiny little stuffed bears rise, like ... Read More Comments are closed.