40 Drinks In Exile

When you hear the word ‘martini’, what comes to mind?

a. That time when I ….
b. James Bond. Shaken not stirred.
c. kidney disorders
d. intestinal worms

Most of us are more likely to think of a and b than c or d. But, in the 1600s, gin was used to fight kidney disorders and vermouth took up the battle against intestinal worms.

In 2016, we can leave the smiting of intestinal worms to medical experts. Many people would, however, appreciate the opportunity to drink delicious cocktails that include some healthy ingredients. Enter Vanessa Bourget.

Bourget is a bartender, chartered herbalist and holistic nutritionist. She has served as Creative Beverage Director and Head Bartender at Nuba and Heirloom and is now co-founder of Exile Bistro on Bute Street. Their goal is to be ‘healthy, plant-based, ethical and wild.’


Exile has gin and vermouth, but it comes in the form of the NEOgroni, which is comprised of: Gin, Cynar artichoke spirit, Maidenii sweet botanical vermouth and bitters.

People at our table were going wild for the Ginger Margarita with its Gold Tequila, ‘ginger everything’, ginger salted rim and a bejewelled stirring stick.


The ginger is an anti-inflammatory that helps with digestion, Bourget says. As she elaborated in an interview with The Daily Hive: ‘By giving your body extra nutrients, phytochemicals (plant compounds), and natural wholesome sweeteners (maple, birch syrup, raw honey, evaporated cane vs white sugar), you are helping your system process the alcohol by not having to over-tax your body for essential nutrients that are necessary for all other normal metabolic functions.’

Other special drinks on offer were the Emerald Lake: gin, maple, lime, fresh water blue-green algae, the Root Sour: bourbon, turmeric, yam juice, the Northern Heights: rye whisky, birch syrup, apple cider vinegar and tree mist and the Chaga Sour: 12yr whiskey, mushroom tea and Apothecary bitters.

For those looking to avoid alcohol, Bourget has ‘Zero Proof’ offerings like: E3live Fizz – blue-green algae, lemon, maple, sparkling water or Chaga Cold Brew – Schisandra berry and maple syrup.

There is, of course, an interesting food menu to go with these creative, plant-based cocktails. Might we recommend the Cedar smoked potatoes that have been baked over a bundle of cedar boughs, fork-mashed, mixed with smoked salt, green onions and cedar-leaf infused olive oil then topped with crème fraîche.

Written by Elizabeth Newton




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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton