The grand opening of Lizard Creek Lodge’s ice bar was on Dec. 19, making Cirque’s vodka bar the third ice bar in Canada. Sixty people attended the opening of the vodka bar in what has been a year-long concept and build. A gentleman in Calgary crafted the ice bar remotely and once he finished making each brick he brought the ice to Lizard Creek’s new restaurant, Cirque, and built the bar in a few days.
“It’s cool, he did production in his shop in Calgary and then he sent a frozen truck here,” said Aleen Shipley, Cirque’s restaurant manager to The Free Press. “The ice came in a bunch of little packaged bricks. It only took him about two days to install the ice but a ton of time to produce it from his shop in Calgary.”
Cirque’s new addition is a vodka tasting room and features many vodkas from around the world. A vodka expert who helps guests decide which vodkas they would like to try hosts the 15-minute tour. Each legal drinking aged participant gets three ounces of vodka through the tour. There are two experiences, the Standard at $20 per person and the Elite, which costs $40.
“It is a vodka tasting room – a tour of the world of vodka. There are two ‘flights’ that people can do. One is $20, you get three ounces of premium vodkas, the guest gets to choose which vodkas they get and a host is there to help them make their decisions,” said Shipley. “We have about 20 different vodkas at this time and will be adding more. Our host helps them make choices on which types of vodkas they will be interested in.
Our Elite experience is $40 for three ounces. It features our highest end vodkas.”
While there are around 20 vodkas being offered, currently Shipley’s favourite vodka location that they offer is Canada.
“I find the most interesting vodka distiller is Canada. I didn’t know that we made such good vodka. We have Vodka On The Lake from Naramata B.C., which is excellent and of course we have Polish and Russian vodkas as well,” said Shipley..
“It is a 15 minute experience, so people usually join us for dinner and then before the main course will do the guided vodka room. They put on the big puffy coats and we give them the safety talk and they meet our ‘Executive vice president of vodka’, Andy Ward. He comes from Whistler’s Bearfoot Bistro Ice Bar so we are thrilled to have him. The only other ice bar in Canada is in Montreal,” said Shipley.
The safety talk is more to do with ice floors than anything.
“Some of the ladies wear high heels. While the floors are not made of ice, if vodka spills there can be a little bit of ice. We have not had any incidents, we just want to make sure,” said Shipley.
While guests do not necessarily need to make a reservation over the phone there may be people already booked for the time, especially for peak hours. It is recommended that participants go early and talk to the staff about being put into the next tour.
“People can come for a drink and we can talk about the tour then we will get you in there as quick as we can. When we are really busy there may be other diners that are already booked in for the experience,” said Shipley. “You do not need to call for a reservation, but just come in and talk to us about it and we can get people in as soon as we can.”