Richard Wolak | April 2012
A thirteen-year veteran in the beverage industry, Arthur Wynne created the cocktail list for The Union Bar and has been bartending there since it opened in January of this year.
Arthur started off as a barista in Sydney, Australia, but I met him years ago when he was a barista in a well-known Westside Vancouver cafe. I asked Arthur if he has been applying anything he learned in the coffee biz to bartending, and he said that the ability to tie flavours together had always proved incredibly useful—that and getting to know and remember his customers’ preferences. He also said that tasting coffee has helped him develop his palate and added that it’s important to ensure that the balance of ingredients is just right. Arthur enjoys getting feedback from his customers because it helps improve his cocktails.
I asked Arthur how long it took him to create his cocktail menu at The Union Bar and how he went about sourcing the ingredients in his Asian-inspired cocktails. He said it took him three months to create the drinks in his home test kitchen, and added that “to source the ingredients I went around Chinatown to see what was available, then I went to the wholesalers.”
When I inquired what had first drawn him to beverages, Arthur said, “I was driven by food and I always wanted to work in hospitality.” He mentioned that “coffee pushed me on to wine, [while] wine pushed me on to food and drinks.”
As for what goes into creating one of his new cocktails, Arthur told me that first it’s the seasonal produce. After that, it’s “inspiration from walking around the streets, the [four] seasons, the flavours and the [cocktail and bar] industry.”
Arthur has provided us with a recipe for one of his most popular cocktails, the Oolong Island Bubble Ice Tea.
Oolong Island Bubble Ice Tea
½ oz calamansi vinegar
2 oz cold, brewed Oolong ice tea
Dash of calamansi
Coconut water bubbles on top
Slices of calamansi
Combine rum, calamansi vinegar, ice tea and Calamansi in a shaker with ice and shake for 20 to 30 seconds.
Finely strain the mixture into a Collins glass over ice.
Garnish with coconut water bubbles and kaffir lime
Arthur Wynne is the Bar Manager at The Union Bar, located at 219 Union Street, Vancouver.