Brook Levie, bartender at Zambri’s, offers up a selection of cocktails, including one with the signature Z in the foam. Don Descoteau/Monday Magazine

Brook Levie, bartender at Zambri’s, offers up a selection of cocktails, including one with the signature Z in the foam. Don Descoteau/Monday Magazine

Behind Bars: Tales of the Cocktail unveiled

New Monday bartender/cocktail feature kicks off with Zambri’s staffer

Sitting down at the bar at Zambri’s, I imagine being part of the after-work crowd that treats themselves to a flavourful cocktail, comfortably easing into the evening.

I was already off to a good start having had pleasant hostess/manager Nevada greet me as I came in. She showed me to the beautiful yet comfortable bar, illuminated at this time of day by the late-afternoon sun pouring through the large windows in their section of the Atrium Building.

With no big-screen TVs to distract this sports fan, I was free with converse with bartender Brooke Levie, a relatively new addition to the bar staff at this downtown Italian restaurant.

I’ve long enjoyed the experience of watching a talented mixologist concoct a special drink, especially if it’s one of their own design.

Skilled barman Brooke entertained with his mixing style, but also delighted my taste buds.

First came an unnamed drink with the unlikely combo of Mexican El Jimador tequila, Italian Campari bitter, strawberry and balsamic. That yummy mixture was followed by an even more delicious Amaretto Sour, “kicked up a notch,” according to Brooke.

Those flavours were nicely complimented by a plate of Zambri’s Palotte Abruzzese dumplings on tomato sauce.

But we’re here to launch a new feature on bartenders, so without further delay, let’s hear from Brooke:

Claim to fame/best up-the-sleeve trick?

No one single thing. With every new project or event, I’ve aways pushed myself to do something I haven’t done before. Keeps it fresh, interesting and challenging. I haven’t done a lot of fat washing, at Zambri’s I’ve just nailed a very nice little olive oil washed gin martini.

What’s hot right now?

Low waste and sustainability. Zambri’s just celebrated 5 years of being carbon neutral! Re-thinking straws. Eliminating unnecessary garnish. Local spirits, liqueurs and vermouths have come a long way and now the pricing is quite competitive.

What traits make a good bartender?

Service, service, service. I’m thrilled to have joined one of the most hospitality focused teams in town. We are in the business of hospitality, if we can’t give that, everything else is irrelevant. Beards and tattoos help too.

What’s your signature drink?

Sherry cocktails, specifically fino. Fino negroni, fino martini, fino/gin caesar. And how about the sprutz or spritz? Vermouth and/or amaro with a splash of soda and/or Prosecco. So easy with endless options.

What are you drinking these days?

Dry hopped pilsners/lagers, quaffable low tannin Italian reds, rose all day.

Best memory from behind the bar?

Competing (not my thing) in the rigorous Scout Magazine bar comp which is now Barate Kid at The Keefer Bar, the most fun and entertaining competition out there. I was at the top until I was demolished in the head to head round. However, tying the karate kid headband and channeling my inner Daniel-san with a room full of rowdy industry was a killer time!

Zambri’s is at 820 Yates St.

(250) 360-1171 www.zambris.ca

Cocktails

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

Just Posted

The COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on film production on central and north Vancouver Island, says Vancouver Island North Film Commission. Pictured here, production of TV series Resident Alien in Ladysmith earlier this year. (Black Press file)
Film commissioner says COVID-19 cost central Island $6 million in economic activity

Jurassic World: Dominion, Chesapeake Shores among productions halted due to pandemic, says INFilm

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Vancouver Island actress finds success in a virtual world

Black Creek’s Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Next month Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases his solo debut album, ‘Wildlife.’ (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases solo debut album

New record ‘Wildlife’ about taking chances and going through changes

Dover Bay Secondary School student Victoria Hathfield’s poem <em>Dear Santa</em> appears in<em> Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas is in the Air</em>. (Photo courtesy Darren Lee)
Nanaimo high schooler has first poem published in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

Victoria Hathfield’s ‘Dear Santa’ appears in new Christmas-themed edition of anthology series

Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, <em>G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo graphic designer releases first children’s book

Amy Pye teaches the Canadian alphabet in ‘G is for Grizzly Bear’

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

A sample of some of Lou-ann Neel’s jewelry.
Lou-ann Neel wins the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

Originally from Alert Bay, Neel’s family is steeped in renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artists

Most Read