Bartender - Shawn Soole

- interview by Sara Gorelick

Canada is home to many famous cities, a drinking age of 18, the 2010 Olympics, beautiful sights and some really great hockey, to name a few highlights. Another important facet of Canadian life (besides the snow) is its amazing bartenders, and Shawn Soole is definitely on the list. Shawn is the head bartender at Clive's Classic Lounge in the Chateau Victoria, an exquisite luxury hotel located on Vancouver Island. "The thing I love about working at Clive's is the freedom; the management at the hotel have given me free reign on the style of cocktail, beer and spirit selection we have," Shawn said. "It's not very often that managers and owners alike will do that, it is the closest thing to owning my own place."

Shawn has been bartending for the last 13 years and in Canada for the last 3 and 1/2. A world traveler, he has bartended in Australia at Jorge (now Little Jumbo in Brisbane), Hayman Island (in the Whitsundays) and more. Shawn started off his career not looking towards bartending, but rather the profession sought him out. He was working as a handy man in a hotel when asked one night to work a wedding. "I served that night and after that, fell for hospitality," he remembered. "I started bartending a few months later and the rest is history. A couple of years later when I was 21, I won my first ABG (Australian Bartender's Guild) State Titles mixing up a few cocktails."

Shawn loves creating cocktails for his patrons, but also serving all different types of beverages too. "A bartender should know everything about being behind the bar, so with that thinking, every bartender should be a sommelier, a mixologist and a cicerones," he stated. "In essence to be classed as a bartender you need all that…I don't care what you call me as long as you ask for a drink and love it."

While making cocktails, Shawn really loves using bitters, both potable and non potable. He especially likes the effect they have on a drink, that a dash or half an ounce changes everything. Behind the bar, he can't live without his OXO jigger/measurers because they make it easy to measure out ingredients, like 5mL of Violette for his Aviations.

Shawn's favorite cocktails? "I have two, one from back in the day so it is a little kitchier, and one from now which is much more classic style." Both are delicious and will keep those Canucks smiling!

Cool Hand Luke
  • 1 1/2 oz. Bacardi Lemon
  • 1 o.z Giffard Litchi
  • 1 inch cucumber
  • 1 oz. apple juice

Muddle cucumber, add other ingredients. Shake and double strain into a large cocktail glass.

Soole's Special Cocktail #1
  • 2 o.z Beefeater 24
  • 1/2 oz. Punt e Mes
  • Dash of orange bitters

Strain and stir into small cocktail glass with an orange twist.