International travel is slowly starting to resume—but there’s still plenty to see and experience close to home. Canada’s remaining Grand Railway Hotels, for example, offer a look into the luxury of days gone while still brimming with modern convenience and appeal.
Case in point: the abundance of fine restaurants and bars tucked within the hotel walls, like the Q Bar at Fairmont Empress in British Columbia or the Nacarat at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal.
Whether you’re looking to savor a taste of the Rocky Mountains or you’re ready to transport yourself to the elegance of Downtown Montreal, here are some of the best Grand Railway Hotel-inspired cocktail recipes from British Columbia to Quebec and everywhere in between.
Q1908, from Q Bar at Fairmont Empress
A favorite at Q Bar, this smooth, balanced and beautiful cocktail was created in collaboration with Victoria Distillers to celebrate the centennial of the Fairmont Empress in 2008. The royal purple spirit uses botanicals like rose, grapefruit peel, ginger and cinnamon, as well as the hotel’s signature Empress blended black tea that has been offered to guests for decades. Garnish with a butterfly pea flower for the perfect final touch.
- 2 oz 1908 Gin
- 0.75 oz lemon juice
- 0.75 oz simple syrup
- 0.75 oz egg white
- Garnish: butterfly pea flower
Instructions: Add ingredients into cocktail shaker and dry shake. Add ice and re shake. Double strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with two butterfly pea blossom flowers.
Love Note, from Emerald Lounge at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Inspired by the hotel’s sustainability practices, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge made a syrup out of overripe peaches, dried rosemary, and cinnamon. With opulent oak, toffee, and peachy notes, and a fragrant rosemary sprig garnish, this authentic cocktail is delightfully balanced.
- 1.5 oz Suntory Toki
- 1.5 oz peach cinnamon syrup
- 0.5 oz lemon juice
- 0.5 oz cranberry juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Garnish: rosemary sprig
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a pint glass. Fill with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Use a torch to smoke the rosemary sprig for garnish.
Glorious Fairview, from Fairview Bar & Restaurant at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
An exquisite concoction for any occasion, this cocktail features a clear and unique combination of botanicals like Alberta Juniper, Labrador Tea, Orris Root and fresh citrus peels found in the Chateau’s own Fairview Gin, which pair with a rosemary-infused dry vermouth and an elevated champagne topping.
- 1.oz Fairview Gin
- 0.25 oz lemon juice
- 0.25 oz rosemary vermouth
- 0.25 oz simple syrup
- Dash salt
- Champagne to top
- Lemon zest
Instructions: Add the Fairview Gin lemon juice, rosemary vermouth, simple syrup & dash of salt to a boston shaker and shake vigorously over ice. Double strain and pour into a coupe glass and garnish with lemon zest.
Wildfire, from The Confederation Lounge at Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
This cocktail is inspired by the very sight, smell and nature of Alberta’s outdoors. The pine needle tea brings a distinctive, astringent taste, which compliments the umami flavors of the porcini mushrooms and blackberry coulis. Forest aromas are created tableside for a truly mesmerizing cocktail experience.
- 1 oz Hennessy VS
- 0.5 oz Hendricks Gin
- 1 oz oxidized port
- 1 oz blackberry & mushroom coulis
- 2 oz pine needle tea
- Garnish: edible flower
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin and shake with ice. Serve in a Collins glass, which is placed in a wooden bowl surrounded with pine leaves and cones. Carefully add a few nuggets of dry ice in the base. Pour in the bowl some warm forest aromas (lapsang tea, alderwood smoked salt, and pine oil) to activate the dry ice tableside. Garnish with market-available edible flower.
Birdbath Martini, from Library Bar at Fairmont Royal York
The signature cocktail experience of Toronto’s famous Library Bar, the Birdbath Martini features exclusively crafted QUILL Vodka and Gin, and boasts a high 50% ABV with a blend of local grape and rye distillates. In addition to classic botanicals, QUILL Gin features red peppercorn, anise seed, grapefruit peel, and lemongrass.
- 2.5 oz QUILL Vodka or Gin
- 0.5 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
- 2 dashes house orange bitters
- Fleur du Sel
Instructions: Combine ingredients in a bespoke mixing glass and stir with cracked ice, then pour tableside into a frozen coupe with a lemon coin. In a separate dish, showcase accouterments of house-pickled red pearl onion, vermouth brined olives, and Castelvetrano olives.
Twist Eastside, from Nacarat at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth
This fresh and delicate drink is a twist on the classic Eastside cocktail, created by Nacarat mixologist Nabil Ben El Khattab.
- 0.75oz Hendrick’s Gin
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 0.75 oz egg white
- 0.5 oz simple syrup
- 2 drops of orange blossom
- Sliced cucumber
- Mint leaves
- Garsnish: Tagete flowers
Instructions: Using a pestle, gently crush the pieces of cucumber and mint in the lower part of the shaker. Add ingredients and ice, close and shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds. Pour the cocktail into a coupette-style glass and garnish with Tagete flowers.
White Cosmo, from Le Sam Bistro at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
This delicate, subtle, floral and fresh take on the classic Cosmopolitan cocktail knows how to delight all palates from the first sip.
- 1.5 oz Bistro Vodka
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 0.75 oz white cranberry juice
- 0.75 oz elderflower syrup
- Garnish: orchid flower
Instructions: Fill a coupette with ice and cold water to cool the glass. Combine all ingredients and shake vigorously for 5-8 seconds. Strain twice and garnish with an orchid flower.