Field Guide, in Halifax’s North End, is not just a place to grab a drink, it’s a cocktail experience, where each ingredient has been carefully thought out, drawing on both the history of bartending and new trends. Owners Ceilidh Sutherland and Dan Vorsterman have created a neighbourhood space where their small, inspired staff can express their love for food and drink through unique, local and sustainable products. Expect to experience dishes and cocktails that not only look good, but have the flavour to match.
Shane Beehan is the centrepiece of Field Guide. He is the face behind the bar, always polite, kind and not showy. He lets the complex cocktails do the talking, but is always happy to offer up a wealth of information about his homemade syrups and fizz.
All recipes and cocktail herbs use tips by Shane Beehan, and Field Guide guest bartender Jeff Van Horne.
An Essential Slap
When using an herb as a garnish, bruise its leaves to release its essential oils which bring out its aroma and flavour. To bruise the leaf, slap the herb between your palms, like a hard clap, to wake up its true flavours.
In a Pinch
Although fresh herbs are recommended for garnish, and are generally preferable for most recipes, some herbs, such as rosemary and thyme, respond well to freezing. Run the herb through a food processor to roughly chop it, or freeze full sprigs layered with paper towel or wax paper to preserve freshness.
The best quality and most aromatic herbs can be sourced from local herb growers.
Herbs can get tired and wither quickly if not stored properly. While mint likes to have its stems in water and kept cold, basil is not meant to be refrigerated and is best if kept in a dry place. If experimenting with a new herb, be sure to research the best storage for the herb in question.
Gin’s New Scent
Like vodka, gin begins as a neutral spirit. It is during the distillation process botanicals are incorporated into the clear spirit, giving it a strong, herbaceous character.
Some gins have very few added botanicals, which makes those aromas more distinct, while other gins can have several dozen. What differentiates one style of gin from another is usually the level of sweetness, the alcohol level and the type of botanicals.