How to happy hour – nimmo style
“I really don’t think there’s any better place in the world to sit and enjoy a cocktail or glass of champagne than on the fire dock at Nimmo Bay, with the Broughton Archipelago as your backdrop. The setting is the reason we aim to create drinks that speak to place, smells, and the general terroir of this wild natural area.”– Nimmo Bay sommelier and service director, Kyle Gartlan-Close
At Nimmo Bay, we aim to weave the story of our land and sea into all our culinary creations. A deep respect for our wild, natural environment is what lends a unique sense of place to everything we create. We tend to believe that the delicate flavours of nature cannot be duplicated, and that they are best straight from the source. This is why we focus on using expertly and sustainably foraged and locally-grown or sourced ingredients as much as possible.
Of course, our approach to cocktail hour is much the same. Although ever changing, due to the nature of working with very fresh, hyper-local ingredients, our house cocktails always revolve around at least one key component, whether that is an infused syrup (like the recipe shared below), a seasonal shrub, or flower. There is no limit to the creativity Mother Nature provides those wishing to enhance their happy hour experience.
ask an expert: secrets from a happy hour master
A Q&A With nimmo bay sommelier and service director, Kyle Gartlan-Close
What qualities do you think make a perfect summer drink?
Balance and acidity. Something that can be both complex and challenging to the palate while retaining the acidity needed to be refreshing! The environment you enjoy your happy hour is equally as important – fresh air and a stunning view are an invaluable ingredient.
What makes happy hour at Nimmo Bay unlike any other?
For me, the magic of every Nimmo experience really comes down to the story of place – it’s the wild setting that sets the stage for people like me to create in. The personalized service and attention to detail is what makes the experience we provide extra special. We are all adept at tuning into our guests’ respective energies, wishes and desires.
What are the top three things that a novice cocktail artist should have on hand?
A copy of Gary Regan’s ‘The Joy of Mixology’, a Yarrai mixing glass, and a tin shaker –plus an understanding of when to shake versus when to stir a cocktail. Oh, and you will definitely need a citrus zester. Lastly, and most importantly, a sense of playfulness and an open mind for experimentation. Remember, happy hour was designed to be fun!
What is something exciting that’s in the works for the Nimmo beverage program at the moment?
We have been developing our own version of a nightly champagne service, but elevated to have that special Nimmo touch. Although a nightly champagne program is not entirely novel, it stems from this simple idea that bubbles are the perfect way to celebrate and find yourself completely in the moment. Instilling a sense of presence is something we try to create in everything we do at Nimmo. Every evening of your stay, the idea is that there there would be a different champagne or sparkling wine being poured, taking into consideration food pairings with the nightly menu from the chefs at Little River. Ideally, we would take you on a journey, with champagne and other sparkling wines from around the world. Stay tuned for more details.
A refreshing summer cocktail recipe:
Local gin + lavender-infused tonic
Using gin from local Ampersand Distillery in Duncan, on nearby Vancouver Island, we created this refreshing summer twist on a classic G&T using our own house-made lavender citrus tonic. Ampersand is more of a classic London Dry style, but this recipe would work with any other quality (and preferably local) gin.
- 1 quart of water
- 1 grapefruit
- 1 orange
- 1 lime
- 4 sprigs of lavender
- 3 tablespoons citric acid
- 1/4 cup chinchona bark
- handful of star anise
- handful of fresh juniper
- Bring water to a boil with peels and juices of all the citrus
- Add chinchona bark, citric acid, lavender, star anise, and juniper. Simmer for 30 minutes then allow to cool
- Pour mixture into airtight container and refrigerate for 2 days. Strain with cheesecloth or a coffee filter
- Add 375ml of simple syrup
- This tonic is intended to be mixed with equal parts sparkling water (when it’s time to mix a drink)
- 1.5 oz gin
- 2 oz of the lavender tonic syrup
- Top with sparkling water
- Garnish with a sprig of lavender and a lemon wheel
Whenever I make gin and tonics, I serve them in a brandy snifter filled with ice and botanicals. And if you prefer the taste of tonic to sparkling water, as this recipe calls for, I would recommend topping with a quality bottled tonic such as Fentimans or Fever Tree.