Commons bartender Geneviéve Turgeon creates cocktails behind the bar at 10 Acres, a stone’s throw from Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Don Descoteau/Monday Magazine

BEHIND BARS: Nothing common about this place

Commons bartender Geneviéve Turgeon makes what’s old fashioned new again

It seems odd to walk into Commons and not see it chock-a-block full of people. Mind you, it’s 4:15 p.m. as Monday publisher Ruby Della Siega and I are walking into this popular downtown watering hole, part of the thriving 10 Acres restaurant complex.

It’ll get plenty busy soon enough, but we’re glad it’s a little quieter for our chat with Geneviéve Turgeon, a two-year veteran bartender at Commons. This native of Quebec City greets us warmly and quickly makes us feel right at home.

At the bar we learn Geneviéve has a diploma in hotel/restaurant management, has tended bars since she was 19, is now a qualified acupuncturist and loves good food and drink. She gets right to work creating her specialty, Oldest of Fashions (see more below) – it’s her take on the typical Old Fashioned and is a smooth, tasty combo of Maker’s Mark bourbon, Grand Marnier, sugar and bitters.

Ruby orders a Kombucha Bliss, a gin-based cocktail with elderflower, lemon and ginger kombucha which she describes as “refreshingly tart, without sweetness.” To balance things off, Geneviéve offers up a Whiskey Royal, a delightful mix of whiskey, Chambord (raspberry liqueur), lemon and ginger kombucha that is perfectly sweet.

The friendly atmosphere, of which our host today is a big part, makes us want to return. But let’s hear more from Geneviéve:

Your claim to fame/best up-the-sleeve trick or technique? I’m not sure about special techniques, I think those come with the job. But I think the thing I’m really good at is remembering people and what they had the one time that they visited me, no matter how long ago. I think I’m really good at making people feel welcome.

What’s hot right now? The tiki bar is coming back. We’re seeing more and more rum punches and blue Hawaiians being ordered.

What traits make a good bartender? I think it’s about making people feel like you are welcoming them to your house. It’s about leaving your ego at the door and making sure that people have an awesome time.

What’s your signature drink? Last year I developed a small obsession with bourbon and Old Fashioneds so I created the The Oldest of Fashion. In it, we wash the glass with vanilla to highlight the vanilla notes in Maker’s Mark, then we add a touch of Grand Marnier for a touch of sweetness and orange, and top it off with Angostura and Orange Bitters. Classic but different – I love that drink.

What are you drinking these days? My drink of choice varies from season to season, but summer is here and I’ve been ordering tequila soda with a dash of pineapple or a crisp white wine. There’s also something to be said about a cold Radler on a hot day!

Best memory from behind the bar? A couple weeks ago, I wrote my last exam for my three-year acupuncture degree. I showed up at work after that exam to a full bar of people that remembered my last day of school and chose to come and celebrate that with me. The vibe that night was amazing and I felt so thankful that the people I’ve been spending my evenings with for the past two years chose to celebrate that day with me. It was such a fun night.

*****

The Commons at 10 Acres

620 Humboldt St. / 10acres.ca/commons

——————————

RELATED IN THIS SERIES:

BEHIND BARS: Get ready to be Empressed

BEHIND BARS: Taking a trip down Mexico way

BEHIND BARS: Creating concoctions on a little corner of Victoria’s downtown

BEHIND BARS: Waterfront bar will Lure you in

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ocie Elliott: Facing the Music

Victoria duo describes effects of COVID crisis

YOUR AUGUST HOROSCOPE: It’s Leo Season!

Georgia Nicols giving us insight on what lies ahead this summer

30 years later, Sue Medley’s hit ‘Dangerous Times’ more relevant than ever

Vancouver Island singer/songwriter reflects on her ’90s national hit

Psychological thriller filmed on northern Vancouver Island debuts on AppleTV

‘Woodland’ is set in Haida Gwaii, but was filmed around Port McNeill

Symphony Splash goes virtual, revisits 2018 performance

Organizers postpone live event until Aug. 1, 2021

Island pub wants people to ‘drop five’ to keep music alive

Royston’s Charlie Aiken thinks his plan can help artists and venues alike

First Arts Alive sculptures of 2020 now installed

Oak Bay’s annual public art exhibition starts anew

Nanaimo fantasy writer co-authoring Old Norse phrase book

Joshua Gillingham partnering with author and professor on ‘Old Norse for Modern Times’

Cowichan’s 39 Days of July deemed a success, despite COVID-19

Musical productions live streamed from the Duncan Showroom this year

Gabriola’s Isle of the Arts Festival goes ‘mini’ on 10th anniversary

Gabriola Arts Council presents scaled-down, workshop-only IOTA Mini festival

Sooke Fine Arts Show reaches new audiences with virtual showcase

Voting for People’s Choice Award open until Aug. 3

Mural artists announced for Nanaimo’s inaugural Hub City Walls festival

Local artists Kara Dee Harrison, Russell Morland and Austin Weflen to paint downtown walls

Nanaimo musician Glen Foster releases new music video

‘Brains Brawn and Beauty’ is the latest single from Foster’s album ‘Not Far Away’

Most Read