Vancouver Bartender Wins a Mixology Challenge

August 18th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Below is a press release describing Shaun Layton’s recent victory at a mixology contest. Layton is a bartender at George Ultra Lounge in Yaletown.

I went to George a couple of times and while I must say they do cocktails the right way, they are dead expensive. And the clientele has an unmistakeably douchy aura about them. But besides that, thumbs up. The cocktail (full recipe below) actually sounds very good.

Vancouver Mixologist Wins Canadian Ultimate Mixology Challenge
George Ultra Lounge Head Bartender Shaun Layton
Awarded top honours for a “Cocktail by Design”


August 14, 2008 – Vancouver, BC – Shaun Layton of George Ultra Lounge in Vancouver, BC has been named the Canadian winner of the second annual ultimate mixology challenge, Cocktails by Design. Hundreds of Mixologist’s from across Canada submitted custom-crafted cocktail recipes showcasing the unique flavour profile of Bombay Sapphire Gin and the inspiration behind it.

Shaun’s winning cocktail, “London Vine” will be the signature martini cocktail served at the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass International Competition in London, England this September and the 2008 Awards Gala, as well as a featured cocktail for Bombay Sapphire sponsored events throughout 2008. Layton will also be traveling to Vinopolis in London, England to meet with Mixologist and Bombay Sapphire Global Brand Ambassador Merlin Griffiths.

“London Vine has all the elements we look for in a signature cocktail,” says Griffiths. “It complements the 10 carefully selected botanicals; it’s creative, innovative and pleasing to the eye. Showcasing Bombay Sapphire’s versatility and mixability, the London Vine is complex on the palate and very refreshing.”

(Recipe Below)

About the Mixologist:

Shaun Layton began his career in the corporate world working in hotels and more corporate restaurants – great learning ground for classic bartending skills. He started to take mixology seriously about 7 years ago. Here in Vancouver Shaun opened The Ocean Club, creating an award winning cocktail program, and was part of the opening team at the Mountain Club in Whistler. He continues to attend cocktail seminars around the world learning about new cocktail recipes and ingredients, however classic cocktails are his personal favourite to drink. Shaun says South American spirits such as Cachaca, rum, Pisco, and tequila are the most exciting trend in cocktail culture at the moment.

About Bombay Sapphire:

Unlike most gins, which boil their botanicals directly in the spirit to achieve their taste, Bombay Sapphire is distilled alone and the 10 uniquely-combined botanicals from around the world are infused to achieve a much greater subtlety of taste. Based on a secret recipe from 1761, Bombay Sapphire is produced by passing the spirit vapour through the botanicals, which are held separately from the spirit in a perforated copper basket. This process, known as vapour infusion, allows the gentle absorption of each of the aromatic flavours, resulting in a wonderfully balanced, crisp yet delicate finish; and versatility unmatched by other gins that can be savoured on its own in a classic martini cocktail, or in mixed cocktails.

To find out more about Bombay Sapphire Gin, please visit

About Bombay Sapphire & Design:

In 2001, the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition began challenging designers globally to create cutting-edge glass designs worthy of the ultimate cocktail, the martini cocktail. Each year, glasses at the national and international level are judged on functionality, innovation, aesthetics and embodiment of the Bombay Sapphire brand personality.

Bombay Sapphire has a long-standing history of supporting design and designers-on-the-rise. Over the last decade, many internationally-acclaimed designers have created their interpretation of the ultimate Bombay Sapphire inspired martini cocktail glass. Artists such as Karim Rashid, Milton Glaser, Marcel Wanders, Eva Zeisel and Dakota Jackson have all created fantastic martini cocktail glasses for Bombay Sapphire

”London Vine”

The award winning cocktail by George Ultra Lounge senior Mixologist and Bar Manager Shaun Layton


Bombay Sapphire Gin – 2 oz’s
Lemon Peel – Pith removed – 1 inch piece
Black Plum – 1 fresh, pit removed and quartered
Campari – Dash
Fresh Grapefruit Juice – 1 oz
Vanilla Simple Syrup – 15 ml (1 Tbsp) (recipe below)
BC Pinot Noir – 15 ml (1 Tbsp)


In a “Boston Shaker”, glass portion, muddle lemon peel
Add plum pieces and muddle again
Top half way up with ice and add all liquid ingredients (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Campari, grapefruit juice, vanilla simple syrup, and pinot noir)
Add shaker top and shake vigorously making sure the plums flavours have all been released
Strain through a fine sieve or strainer into a chilled martini glass


“I stumbled upon some nice plums at the market, and when I think of plum, I
think Bombay Sapphire and pinot noir together! I knew that vanilla would go well to sweeten the cocktail and it would complement the pinot noir.The Lemon peel is one of Bombay Sapphires 10 botanicals so it has its place in the cocktail but also gives a fresh citrus aroma and the acid that is needed to punch flavours. The chocolate and lavender notes from the pinot will help complement the grains of paradise (also one of the 10 botanicals) And finally, the bitterness of the Campari will give the drink that final balance of flavour”

Says Shaun, “the name “London Vine” is a tribute to London Dry Gin and the vines from our BC Pinot Noir.”

Vanilla Simple Syrup

White granulated sugar – 1 cup
Water – 1 cup
Whole vanilla beans – 2-3

Put equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan
Bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves
Add 2-3 vanilla beans and turn to simmer at a low heat for 10 minutes
Remove and let cool at room temperature
Keep refrigerated when not using

Tags: News

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Catherine // Aug 19, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Actually as the drinks are all 2 oz they aren’t really that expensive. I had a double gin and tonic at the playhouse theatre last week. Tonic water from the gun, bar gin and slightly aged piece of lime in a plastic glass $14 plus tax! It makes the George cocktails, all between $9 and $12, all doubles, all using great glassware and fresh ingredients seem well priced to me…..

  • 2 Jason // Aug 19, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Sure, but you can always find an outlandish standard that makes the alternative look better.

  • 3 Stevey // Aug 22, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Douchy,lol, takes one to no one i guess. Youre in yaletown what did you expect. Cocktail wise one of the best spots in the city, and definately not too $$, Try paying double the prices at Opus

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