The Candy Palmater Show

Saskatoon mixologist talks summer spirits and the art of the cocktail

Christopher Cho is an ace mixologist who sometimes goes foraging for ingredients to mix into his cocktails.
Christopher sometimes goes foraging for the ingredients to put in his cocktails. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Cho)

Christopher Cho is one of Canada's top mixologists, and co-owns two restaurants in Saskatoon. His cocktail innovations, with ingredients ranging from foraged rhubarb and Saskatoon berries to barrel-aged cocktails, have put Saskatoon on the foodie map.

Christopher tells us what makes a perfect cocktail, and why you need to trust your bartender.

Christopher gave us a tutorial on how to make The Last Word, a Prohibition-era cocktail. Give it a try this weekend! 

The Last Word:
3/4oz Gin
3/4oz Green Chartreuse
3/4oz Maraschino Liqueur
3/4oz Lime Juice
Glassware: Coupe
Garnish: Lime Peel
Style: Shaken

Try out some of Christopher's original creations:

Saskatoon Cocktail:  Ruibarbo
1.5oz LB Distillers Gambit Gin
3/4oz Sage Infused Dry vermouth
1/2oz Campari
3/4oz Rhubarb Cordial
1/2oz Lemon Juice
Glassware: Rocks
Garnish: Stick of Rhubarb
Style: Shaken

A note from Christopher: "I chose this recipe to represent Saskatoon using a local distillery. Using the Gambit Gin from Lucky Bastard as it's local and it's one of my favorite spirits that they offer. It' s the right amount of juniper that can stand strong in cocktails and pairs well with the ingredients being used., Being able to infuse in Saskatoon I wanted to take advantage of that and infuse sage into some dry vermouth. Using dry vermouth for the dry days we get here in Saskatoon. Using Rhubarb in a cordial as I forage for local Rhubarb when the season is right. I also added some Campari as well. Campari is a bitter liqueur to reflect on the bitter cold winters we can get."

Vancouver Cocktail: Coctel de Vino
1.5oz Junmai Atrisan Sake Maker
3/4oz Pinot Noir Syrup
1/2oz Aperol
3/4oz Lemon Juice
3 Dashes of Bitter Sling Crab Apple Bitters
Top With Sparkling Wine
Glassware: Collins
Garnish: Lemon Wheel
Style: Shaken

A note from Christopher: "I chose this recipe to represent Vancouver using a local Sake distillery. I see Vancouver as a very cultural city with some of the best Japanese restaurants across our nation. So I wanted to take advantage of using Sake and a local distillery as well. Because British Columbia is well known for their wineries I wanted to make a syrup using a Pinot Noir (Blasted Church Winery) I added a local Bitter company called Bitter Sling and used their crab apple bitters for all the orchards they have in Vancouver. This cocktail is a play on a sangria in a cocktail forward direction. Vancouver has so much to offer and a lot of restaurants go towards sustainable and local and this is what i wanted to highlight. The cocktail game is strong in Vancouver and wanted to represent Vancouver with something unique!"

Calgary Cocktail: 
1.5oz Alberta Premium Rye
1/2oz Rose Water Syrup
3/4 Lemon Juice
Top with Wild Rose Brewery's HooDoo Hef ( Hefeweizen )
Glassware: Coupe
Garnish: Edible Flower
Style: Shake

A note from Christopher: "I chose this recipe to represent Calgary using a local Rye, Alberta Premium Rye which is 100% rye whiskey. I've turned this cocktail into a beer cocktail as it reflects on my days bar-tending in Calgary I noticed how heavy of a beer city Calgary really is. With so many local breweries in and around the city how could you not love beer! I used a rose water syrup to represent the provincial flower of Alberta and Rose water pairs quite well with Rye whiskey. Lemon Juice to balance the taste of the Wild Rose Brewery HooDoo Hef witch is a summery seasonal beer from a local brewery. This cocktail shows the movement that the cocktail scene has progressed over the years by taking a great pairing and making it unique and different."