When one imagines après in Whistler—or a festive bar to share evening cocktails with friends—a library doesn’t typically spring to mind. But this winter, the Four Seasons has created a memorable cocktail experience with a bookish feel.
Four Seasons Whistler has partnered with another luxury brand: The Macallan, distillery of some of the finest single-malt whiskies of Scotland. Together, they’ve designed a temporary “library” in the Four Seasons that feels like a cosy whisky bar with a storied past. With panelled wood, comfy sofas and book shelves filled with aged whisky bottles and treasured books and art, the experience whisks you away to a castle in the Scottish highlands and its secret library hideaway.
That’s just the experience Nils Schabert, brand specialist for The Macallan, wanted to create.
But knowing whisky is often an acquired taste, he’s sought to create an elegant experience that won’t only appeal to whisky lovers.
“I wanted to create a different concept ... to create cocktails where the flavour of The Macallan stands out without being overstated,” he said.
“Cocktails where people will say ‘I love the space, I love the brand, I love everything that this concept is about, but I don’t like whisky, so how can we make this work?’”
With that in mind, Schabert has created five signature cocktails that, in addition to an extensive menu of The Macallan’s favourite and limited edition casks, will convert any timid, first-time whisky drinker.
The “Between Pages” cocktail, for instance, pairs Macallan Double Cask 12-year-old whisky with an Earl Grey tea reduction and verjus (juice of unripened grapes) that brings out the vanilla, caramel and apricot flavours of the whisky. It’s sweet, but not too overpowering, with a shimmer of gold from the viscosity of a carbonated finish.
Another novel cocktail on the menu, keeping with the library theme, is the “Cloud Atlas.” Similar to “Between Pages,” it’s not incredibly strong in terms of alcohol content, but has delicate flavours of dried fruit and fermented plums using Macallan Sherry Oak 12 years old. It’s mixed with vermouth and a tarragon- and thyme-infused honey that gives it a sweetness and viscosity that lingers over the tongue. The cocktail is finished with what looks to be a dollop of whipped cream, but is in fact a foam made from a dry Oloroso sherry—the same sherry Macallan uses to season the casks before they go to the distillery.
Schabert named the “Cloud Atlas” cocktail for the title of the David Mitchell novel, which Schabert describes as “about how passion, love and creativity can survive centuries.”
A lover of books, and not surprisingly whisky too, Schabert says this is ultimately what The Macallan stands for: “beautiful craftsmanship, creativity and the love and passion we have for our product and also how we carry it over almost 200 years.”
While this library pop-up bar may not be centuries old, let your imagination take you there with an inventive whisky cocktail.
The Library Bar by The Macallan is open daily from 4 to 10 p.m. through the winter season until March 31. Learn more at fourseasons.com/whistler/dining/lounges/the-library-macallan.