Holiday Cheer - Cambiar by Chantelle Gabino

The holidays are in full swing with parties and gatherings galore. And whether it’s a work function or family fête, chances are there are gonna be cocktails.

Sadly, they all won’t be good ones. Not everyone is a pro mixologist, after all. But that doesn’t mean yours have to be lame.

This season, your bar cart is going to be THE place to be, as I went in search of holiday cocktail recipes that are guaranteed to rock, by some of the top bartenders in the city country.


You may know Chantelle Gabino - winner of Bombay Sapphire’s 2016 ‘Most Imaginative Bartender’ in Canada - from one of her previous gigs about town at Parts & LabourMildred’s Temple KitchenL’ouvrier, or Weslodge. Currently, she can be found behind the bar on Queen West at The Drake Hotel and as Brand Ambassador for Bittered Sling.

Her latest cocktail Cambiar, won the Bacardi Legacy Regional Finals. Next month, she’s taking it the Nationals to battle for top spot.

Cambiar means “change” in Spanish, and is the premise of the drink. Take the ingredients, for instance.  

Gambino says, “It’s a tale of a grape from infancy to maturity (verjus + sherry), an ode to Don Facundo moving from Spain to Cuba (grapes + simple syrup), and being resourceful by turning an excess ingredient into (liquid) gold, a reference to one of my favourite books The Alchemist and The Philosopher's Stone (fruit – a.k.a. Clingstone Peach Bitters + Bacardi Ocho).”

The story is meant to instigate change as well, whether that means making simple positive changes in your life such as “limiting single use plastics, hitting the gym, or even instigating change in your community, maybe even possibly raising awareness for issues such as climate change,” says Gabino. A fundraising event she’s doing at The Drake on Monday, January 7, 2019 for the Dandelion Initiative, an organization led by survivors of sexual violence for survivors? Proof she walks the walk.

Cambiar is neither shaken nor stirred but thrown, a spellbinding technique to watch or execute. 

“One would normally see a thrown drink with the use of fortified wine, as it releases aromatics and introduces aeration, oxygen (think: decanting wine),” Gabino says. “But a cocktail can benefit from being thrown, as sometimes to stir (too soft or linear on a cocktail) or shake it (too harsh and overly diluted for a cocktail) just doesn't do the trick.” 

Cambiar - A Cocktail for Change


1.5 oz - 45 ml Barcardi Ocho

1/2 oz - 15 ml Amontillado Sherry

1/2 oz - 15 ml Verjus

1/2 oz - 15 ml Simple Syrup

Dash  Peach Bitters

Light   Lemon



“Throw” or “roll” liquid between two tins over ice to create aeration, dilution and achieve cold temp. Serve up.


To a year full of change for the better. Cheers.