By Julia Diakow
Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio
Wander down the waterfront in Vancouver en route to Granville Island, and just try to not stop in for a cocktail at the exceptionally beautiful and polished Ancora. This ultra chic restaurant offers exceptional cocktails and dishes, putting a twist on West Coast, to Latin to Japanese. With some of the best patio views in the city, it would be hard to dissuade one from sitting down at a table. Although, the element that shines even brighter than the vibrant interior is the team behind the bar. At Ancora, the name of the game is building a beautiful cocktail program through team work and the appreciation of each other. The already stunning room at Ancora is only made all the more warm and welcoming from the lovely efforts and comradery of this team of bartenders. Each member brings a very different, complex and exciting approach to spirits and bartending; each one exhibiting their strongest suits when it comes to spirit and flavor profiles. In fact, while sitting down to plan a menu tweak or an entire new rollout, it’s not out of the ordinary for one of the bartenders to call “dibs” on a certain spirit or bitter.
They take many of their new inspirations from the changing seasons, locally available produce and thanks to a tight link between the kitchen and bar, they are able to serve up many different styles of cocktails. With such a delicate and seafood driven menu, their goal is to pair a drink that will not overpower any of the dishes. They work hand in hand with their exceptional kitchen, crafting homemade shrubs, made to order garnishes, tinctures, and even working with the pastry department to temper chocolate for a delicious cocktail pairing.
Miriam Willmer, one of the stars behind the bar, started her bartending career much like this entire city of cocktail slingers, at Donnelly Group.
She went on to hone her skills at Beach Bay Café and has now found a home at Ancora. She is a self proclaimed Akvavit lover, taking a large interest in Viking and Norse culture. Her appreciation of this delicious spirit helped create The Viking’s Glory, a cocktail off the previous list blending Akvavit, Saint Germain, Amaro and Pear Bitters.
From the upcoming list, Miriam has taken inspiration once again from the nomadic style of Vikings, by mixing in Scandinavian elements with adventure and travel. Her cocktail features 45 ml Akvavit, 10 ml Kalamansi puree, 15 ml Lemon Grass syrup, 20 ml Dry Vermouth, Shaken over ice and fine strained into a Coupe. The result is a well balanced, sweet and tart refreshing cocktail. Paired with seafood in mind, this drink could be enjoyed from brunch to dinner, preferably under the sun on their beautiful patio.
Italian Stallion, Nicolo Tognon, has a self proclaimed “Peckish” style, which focuses heavily on excessive garnishes and molecular mixology. Known as quite the traveler, Nico has bartended from Venice, to London to Sydney, while making Vancouver his current home, and residence at Ancora for the past nine months.
Taking inspiration from Italian Futurists, he enjoys mixing whimsical ingredients and pairing spirits to mixers one would normally not associate with the other.
Nicolo has crafted a delicious cocktail that packs a punch, with the Peche d’enfer, meaning full of energy, and ready to take on the day. It features 45 ml Bourbon, 20 ml Sons of Vancouver Amaretto, 2 bar spoons of charred peach puree and 2 dashes of Orange Cream Bitters, Combine all and stir over ice, add crushed ice and garnish with a brûléed peach. This delicious sipper will most certainly have your thirst quenched on not only Derby Day but any warm Spring or Summer afternoon.
Philipp Karatsyupa, Bar Manager at Ancora has become quite the figure in Vancouver’s bar scene, being no stranger to competitions and bartending events. He, much like Nicolo enjoys pushing the boundaries of cocktails, by combining unconventional ingredients with an art deco style; the end result is both wildly creative and delicious. Keep an eye out for homemade flavor caviars and house smoked sweeteners.
As a lover of Pisco Sours, we recommend trying any one of the THREE tasty varieties that they offer behind the bar. One can enjoy the classic style which features both lemon and lime juice with Campo de Encanto Grand and Noble. For a refreshing and fragrant twist, try their Moscatel version with Lemon juice, Rose Syrup and grated cinnamon. Lastly, for a very different take, enjoy the more savory version which uses Campo de Encanto Quebranta, a non aromatic varietal of Pisco, paired expertly with a heavy hand of lime, and both Black Walnut and Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters.
In the words of Philipp on the new menu: “Its dropping April 1, and it’ll be NO JOKE.” We entirely agree!
Ancora Pisco Sour
60 ml Campo de Encanto Moscatel Pisco
30 ml Lemon juice
15 ml Rose syrup
7 ml Simple Syrup
1 Egg White
Combine all ingredients, Dry Shake, Shake once again over ice, Fine Strain, Garnish with grated cinnamon