Cocktails in Vancouver History

The Tales of the Cocktail tour is back in Vancouver for its second year. We found a few archival images that illustrate Vancouver’s cocktail history.

Cocktails in some form have been served in Vancouver since the very early days. Sam Brighouse, one of the Three Greenhorns, is in the “Stanley Park Hotel” bar below. We can’t tell what they are serving, but the price of “2 bits” is attractive. (This photo was staged as a joke).

Michael Wilkinson Brighouse, Sam Brighouse, William Beech, A. McCallum (serving drinks) and others, circa 1890. Item # St Pk P34.

The Balmoral Bar looks better stocked than the Hollow Tree.

Balmoral Saloon bar, 2 West Cordova Street, circa 1904. Item # CVA 677-166

Perhaps they are serving a pre-mixed Manhattan from Vancouver bottler Nesbit Johnson.

Promotional photograph for Western Canada Liquor Company, circa 1912. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Item # CVA 99-1160.

Or three-star brandy “bottled, labeled and capsuled” by the Gold Seal Liquor Company.

Promotional photograph for Western Canada Liquor Company, circa 1912. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Item # CVA 99-1163.

Or the St Elmo Port, “best of all native wines”, from Niagara Falls, Canada vineyard.

Promotional photograph for Western Canada Liquor Company, circa 1912. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Item # CVA 99-1162.

From the Hamber family fonds, these drink recipes were to be used on Eric Hamber’s ship, Vencedor, at some time between 1932 and 1942. Guests on the Vencedor included everyone from friends and sea cadets to British royalty. Eric W. Hamber was, among many other things, a commodore of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (1931-36) and he held the trophy for having the most hospitable ship. Could these recipes be part of the reason for that honour?

Vencedor cocktail recipes, date unknown, Item # AM1036_s6_i1

Feel inspired to try these recipes? Let us know what you think.

The Waldorf Hotel is the site of several Tales of the Cocktail events this year and it has been influential in Vancouver’s cocktail culture since 1955, when it was remodeled to adopt a tiki theme. We have a small flickr set showing the Waldorf interiors after this transformation.

Hotel lounge, street level. Item # CVA 1444-53.04

Dining room, at street level. Item # CVA 1444-53.06

Banquet room. Item # CVA 1444-53.10.

Check out flickr for more. Cheers!

One response to “Cocktails in Vancouver History

  1. It’s always weird looking at older photos like these because that time in history doesn’t even seem real in relation to images we see on our Facebook feeds. Nice photos though 🙂

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