Behind the counter: Charles Manceau

Behind the counter: Charles Manceau

No matter what time of year it is, it’s always summer at Venice restaurant. Owner Charles Manceau’s cocktails are as fresh and colourful as can be.

Venice restaurant in Old Montreal is a great spot to enjoy a cocktail. It has an away-from-it-all feel to it: wall-mounted surfboards, wicker light fixtures, plants in the ceiling, and a stark white decor with yellow touches reminiscent of California sunshine.

“I wanted to mix cocktails that are funky, colourful and different,” explains owner Charles Manceau. He’s been in the restaurant business for 17 years, learning his trade behind the bars of such Montreal institutions as Time Supper Club, Rosalie, and Buonanotte. “I opened my own restaurant so I could offer simple, affordable cocktails that customers can reproduce at home.”

Here, the restaurateur shares the recipe for his signature cocktail, Electric. It’s his own version of a mojito, prepared with bourbon and peaches.

Photography: Julien Faugère

1 drink


22 mL (¾ oz) American whiskey, or bourbon
22 mL (¾ oz) citrus liqueur (like Grand Marnier)
Juice of ½ lime
4 peach wedges
5 fresh mint leaves (plus one for garnish)
60 mL (2 oz) chilled tonic water
Ice cubes

1. Fill a shaker with ice cubes. 2. Add whiskey, citrus liqueur, lime juice, peach wedges and mint leaves. 3. Shake vigorously, 8 to 10 seconds. 4. Pour mixture into a highball glass and add tonic water. 5. Garnish with mint leave.

Charles Manceau is well known for his California-inspired cocktails but also draws ideas from Instagram. From familiar classics, he invents new tropical drinks by altering basic ingredients, like using beet juice instead of tomato juice in his Bloody Caesar, and bourbon instead of rum in his mojito. Fresh fruit and aromatic herbs are obviously key ingredients. Health is another important consideration. Matcha green tea, coconut juice, vegetables and fruit feature prominently in his creations.

Jameson, Caskmates Édition Stout


Jameson, Caskmates Édition Stout

750 mlIreland
Jameson, Caskmates Édition Stout

Jameson, Caskmates Édition Stout


750 mlIrelandSAQ code : 12729798
Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon


Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon

750 mlUnited States
Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon

Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon


750 mlUnited StatesSAQ code : 10323111


Simple syrup, a mixture of water and sugar, is a basic ingredient for diluting cocktails. Since berries and fresh herbs (raspberries, rhubarb, mint, basil) abound in summer, why not use them to make aromatized syrups? Be sure to strain the syrups before putting them in the fridge – and add them to your favourite mojito or daiquiri.



What to drink this season?Mezcal, like tequila, is a spirit made from the agave plant. It is quite popular this season.”

Minute cocktail “Bourbon-lemonade: Use Limonata* (an Italian lemon-based drink) if you don’t feel like juicing lemons.”

Current fave “These days, the trend is bitters. Cocktails now contain a range of them.”

Up-and-comer “This year will see the surge of matcha green tea.”

A special touch “At Venice, we always serve cocktails with fun, colourful straws to create an on-vacation mood. You can find these straws easily online.”

* San Pellegrino-type sparkling drink, available in most big-box grocery stores

Related Posts