I’ll “Wine Down” with Jay Jones Any Day

MARKET's head barman Jay Jones with Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Degan did a great job sharing her recent experiences and picks from the 2011 edition of Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, but she forgot to mention the “Wine Down” event at MARKET by Jean-Georges we attended. And what it treat it was!

I was intrigued by the email from Shangri-La inviting us to meet Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the über famous chef behind their upscale restaurant MARKET. I have one of Jean-Georges’ cookbooks (written with Mark Bittman) and thus my curiosity was piqued, but I’m a busy guy and not easily impressed by celebrity chefs (anymore).

But then I kept reading and saw that MARKET’s new man behind the bar, Jay Jones—famous in his own right—would be serving up special cocktails not only paired with their new Spring menu, but featuring Spanish wines from the festival, Telmo Rodriguez “Basa” Rueda and Alvaro Palacios “La Vendimia” Rioja.

Wait, what? One of my very favourite mixologists will be pouring drinks? FREE DRINKS AT MARKET?!? I’m in!

I will avoid a long rambling diatribe about how Vancouver’s “who who” in the food & beverage industry attended, but will admit that I felt humbled to be included. Here are some pictures from the night. I won’t bore you with yet another description of how great the food tasted—I mean really, Jean-Georges himself was there in person (he was shorter than I expected) overseeing the kitchen that night, and if you’ve ever eaten at MARKET, you know how talented their Chef de Cuisine, Karen Gin, and her crew are. What I will do is tell you about Jay Jones’ drinks and then tell you how you can make them yourself at home.

My wife Andrea (also a contributor to these pages) is crazy for a drink Jones concocted for her recently when she asked him to create something gin-based, clear with a little “zing”. The drink he came up with was a magical blend of gin, an elderflower liqueur called St. Germain, a splash of sauvignon blanc, and orange bitters. It was right up her power alley and when prodded by Jay for a name, she christened it “Clarity”. The next day she was at Legacy Liquor Store (best specialty liquor store in Vancouver in my opinion) picking up supplies to make her own at home.

For the “Wine Down” event, Mr. Jones (when he wears his fancy suit, it feels right to call him Mister) adjusted the recipe and added freshly squeezed lemon juice and a Sauvignon Blanc from Spain called Telmo Rodriguez Basa Rueda. The result was a crisp, semi-clear cocktail with sweet floral front and a crisp tart finish. A perfect pair to any kind of seafood or for just sipping in the sunshine on a patio this summer.

As though he was making the drink specials for us alone (and he may actually…), Jones’s second wine-inspired cocktail was a twist on the whisky sour—a favourite of mine. Hell, any time Jay offers to make me something with that delicate balance of sweet, sour and tart that only a barman with his mad skills can do consistently, I’m all over it.

To add a red wine element to this cocktail, Jones floated another Spanish wine, this time a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha called La Vendimia Rioja from Alvaro Palacios. Oh my god, the classic whisky sour was elevated by the addition of both plum and chocolate bitters and made magical by rubbing a brandied cherry on the rim. The combination made for a ruby red twist to a classic that I could drink this all night (I almost did).

Now, normally this is where articles like these end, leaving you the reader wishing you were there or wondering how you too could try the dish or drink in question. Well, this time I shall not leave you hanging dear readers! Below are the recipes for the very drinks I just described, a gift from Jay Jones himself, so that you too can enjoy these cocktails this Spring. Hopefully they’ll remind you of the kind folks at MARKET and inspire you to pay them a visit in person. When you’re there, say hello to Mr. Jones (look for the handlebar mustache) and ask if Jean-Georges will also be sending us some recipes for his dishes that we can share. I doubt it.


  • .75 oz Telmo Rodriguez “Basa” Rueda (sauvignon blanc)
  • .5 oz Victoria Gin
  • .5 oz St.Germain
  • .25 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters
  • combine ingredients and shake with ice
  • double strain into a coupe (a shallow, broad-bowled, stemmed glass)
  • garnish with zested lemon peel


  • .5 oz Alvaro Palacios “La Vendimia” Rioja (tempranillo garnacha blend)
  • 1.5 oz Centennial Rye Whisky
  • .75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • .25 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • .75 oz Sugar Syrup
  • 2 dashes Fee Brother Plum Bitters
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • combine Rye, citrus juice, sugar and bitters and shake with ice
  • double strain into an old fashioned glass
  • top with ice
  • float wine on drink surface
  • garnish with brandied cherry on rim

Do you have any Spring or Summer cocktail recipes you’ve discovered and would like to share? Please add them to the comments below or email me at [email protected] and let’s give them a try!


2 Responses to “I’ll “Wine Down” with Jay Jones Any Day”

  1. Posted on April 7th, 2011

    such a fantastic event!

  2. Posted on April 26th, 2020

    I really like to drink wine with experts as they can tell you fun facts about the bottle that you are drinking. I have heard so much about his expertise in food and wine pairing.

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