Vancouver’s best bars for South American inspired cocktails

Things can get chilly above the 49th parallel. Thankfully, Vancouver’s restaurants and bars are heating up with flavourful cocktails inspired by South American tradition: think Cuba libres, pisco sours, caipirinhas and classic margaritas. Here are a few local venues that serve up drinks with Latin liquors and tasty food from below the equator. [Photo courtesy of Cuchillo]

Baru Latino

2535 Alma St, Vancouver, BC V6R 3R8

When it comes to the Latin food scene in Vancouver, Baru Latino is one of the originals. Located on the western edge of Point Grey, this intimate neighbourhood spot serves proper versions of the classics, including two citrusy faves: a Mexican paloma (with tequila and grapefruit), and a Brazilian caipirinha made with muddled lime and cachaça. You’ll also find a handful of original signature cocktails on the menu, such as the Baru Caesar, which gets its smoky flavour from chipotle-infused mezcal.

Los Cuervos Taqueria

603 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3K5

Margaritas rule at Los Cuervos — and really, what pairs better with their exceptional tacos? The margaritas are made with fresh ingredients, quality tequila and organic agave syrup. Lime, cucumber and hibiscus flavour are always on the menu, while an ever-changing specialty margarita features what’s in season, like blackberries at the end of summer.

Chicha Restaurant

136 Broadway E, Vancouver, BC V5T 1V9

Perhaps the best place to grab a seat at Chicha is at the bar, so you can watch the bartenders work their magic with pisco. The popular Peruvian restaurant offers eight different cocktails that use the South American grape brandy. Start with the pisco sour, which is Peru’s national drink, and work your way through Chicha’s creative and delicious libations while you enjoy sharing plates of grilled meat skewers, ceviche, plantain chips, empanadas and more.

Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio

2-1600 Howe St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2L9

More than two centuries ago, Japanese people began immigrating to Peru — originally in search of gold, and later in search of work as farmers. Today, Peru has the second largest Japanese population in the continent. Ancora celebrates this lesser-known diaspora with a unique menu of Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine highlighted by fresh, locally sourced seafood. Their cocktail menu showcases two iconic spirits from both countries: Japanese whiskey and a variety of different piscos from south of the border.

El Camino's

3250 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3M5

Tequila goes down easy at El Camino’s. This lively Mount Pleasant hangout has a deep selection of tequila and mezcal that will impress aficionados. Several Latin American countries are represented on the cantina’s impressive cocktail list, including Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Cuba and Peru. The drinks are expertly prepared and generous: every drink is a double.

Lucky Taco

1685 Yew St, Vancouver, BC V6K 3E6

It’s a fiesta every day at Lucky Taco. Located just up the road from Kits Beach, this tiny taco shop’s menu isn’t necessarily authentic, but the aim is to offer fun and crowd-pleasing food and drinks. The cocktail list includes a number of Latin-inspired libations such as the Oaxaca-style old fashioned, pink sangria, frozen paloma slurpees, and a tequila-based Señor Frog cocktail made with chartreuse, herbs and egg white. Gather a group of amigos and make your margarita into a fishbowl to share.

Cuchillo Restaurant

261 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1G3

Like its food menu, the drink list at Cuchillo is inspired by several Latin American cultures. While their mojitos and margaritas are tried-and-true go-tos, the Estaban Canal (made with thyme and cilantro infused pisco, pear nectar, lime, honey and egg whites) is one example of how Cuchillo’s talented bartenders can take South American flavours and add their own modern spin.

La Mezcaleria

1622 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3Y4

Drinks are bright and fruity at La Mezcal, a popular hangout for locals and visitors on The Drive. The owners are proud of their Mexican heritage and the culinary tradition; that’s why tequila and mezcal are front and centre in all their cocktails. The Coquito is a standout drink that’s made with tequila and mezcal and infused lime and coconut flavours.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which is why it’s key to know where to find toast, bacon and eggs just the way you like them, seven days a week. From diners to dives to fine dining, Vancouver has plenty of weekday breakfast spots where you can start your morning with a satisfied belly. [Photo courtesy of Cafe Medina]
Izakayas first arrived in Vancouver in the early 90s and the lively Japanese-style pubs have been a staple in the city ever since. Some joints stick to tradition, while local chains such as Guu and Hapa Izakaya serve up dishes influenced by the West Coast culinary scene. These Vancouver izakayas will have you shouting “Mou Hitotsu!” (one more!) thanks to their crowd-pleasing food and drinks. [Photo credit: everydayAnalog]
Life is sweet when you’re having a sundae. After all, why have just plain old ice cream when you can top it with sauces, whipped cream and sprinkles? A sundae says you’re going all out in the fun department – and that’s just something you’ve gotta do once in awhile. Try these Vancouver hot spots for cool treats. [Photo credit: Ingelhart]
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