Summer Cocktails Inspired by the Gentrified Trot of Packwood Grand

Summer Cocktails Inspired by the Gentrified Trot of Packwood Grand

In its 4th year, Packwood Grand is synonymous with culture, fashion, and luxury in Calgary. Come July 29 at Century Downs, over 1500 guests are set to sip champagne and finely crafted cocktails, and bask in the sunshine - all while taking in the races under a sea of sky-high fascinators.

With one week left before the big day, we sat down with Packwood Grand and Bridgette Bar lead mixologist, David Bain, to take us through his favourite summer cocktails inspired by the gentrified trot of Packwood Grand. With all the recipes and David’s pro tips and tricks, you can make these Derby-inspired cocktails at home that will have you dreaming about Packwood 2018 all too soon!


“We’re right in time for berry season. We’re getting in some great local strawberries right now. This is something you can easily add to a classic cocktail like a mint julep or Moscow mule to really impress your guests with a new take. “

The mint julep is synonymous with horse racing and derby events like Packwood Grand. They are typically served in a tin cup to keep the drink extra cool in hot weather, but you can use a tall collins glass, as well. David’s Modern Julep includes modern twists with made-at-home early gray tea simple syrup and crushed strawberries.

  • 8-12 mint leaves
  • 2 strawberries
  • 2 oz. Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Black Tea Simple Syrup
  • Orange bitters
  • Crushed ice

  1. In a Julep cup, lightly press one full and cleaned strawberry with 6-10 mint leaves
  2. Add black tea simple syrup (1:1)*, Buffalo Trace bourbon, and bitters
  3. Pack lightly with crushed ice
  4. Garnish with a whole strawberry cored and stuffed with mint leaves


Like the event as a whole, this G&T inspired cocktail is named after George Packwood, a prohibition era Calgarian who lived in Mount Royal and held the largest illegal still of whiskey in Alberta.

"It's a really refreshing take on a classic cocktail," says Bain. "Cucumber water and chamomile simple syrup look really impressive to guests, but it's actually really easy to make at home!"

  • 2oz No. 3 Gin
  • 15ml basil cucumber shrub**
  • 15ml cucumber water***
  • 15ml chamomile tea simple syrup (1:1)
  • 15ml fresh lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Graver Tree tonic

  1. Add No.3 Gin, basil shrub, cucumber water, simple syrup, lemon juice, and ice into a shaker tin
  2. Shake well; strain into collins glass filled with ice
  3. Garnish with cucumber peel and basil leaves

David’s Pro Tip: combine shrub, cucumber water, tea simple, and lemon juice to speed up your service

*Earl Grey/Chamomile simple
5tbls. Earl Grey or Chamomile, depending on which you’re making
1.5L water
1L sugar
Combine tea and water, boil, reduce by 1/3 strain solids, add sugar and bring to a simmer and let cool

**Basil Cucumber Shrub
5-6 sprigs basil
1 whole cucumbers peels (from the juicing stage)
1L apple cider vinegar
1L sugar
Bring vinegar and sugar to boil and pour it over basil and cucumber peels in a mason jar and seal! Beat to leave for days but will be usable overnight

***Cucumber Water
2-3 cucumbers
Peel all the green and juice cucumber; cheese cloth or fine strain the pulp out
Note: This product has a one-day shelf life


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