By Brigitta Wohlmuth

Every Friday at Victoria Grill you can find William Simpson, shaking up some of the most delicious cocktails in town. Just talk to him and he will fix the perfect drink to match your mood; whether you’re feeling sour, sweet or even a bit saucy.

Will (as he prefers to be called), has been bartending for four years at Victoria Grill’s Rumbar, and as a historian by trade his attention to detail is obvious.

“I always ask customer’s if they like theirs sweet or sour, but really a Margarita is supposed to be sour,” he explains with a modest passion as he mixes up their house signature ‘The Ultimate Margarita’, prepared with freshly squeezed lime juice for that authentic taste.

From food to cocktails, authenticity is their trademark at Victoria Grill where almost everything is made from scratch. Mirroring the intense dedication of Head Chef Ryan Soliel, who goes to great lengths daily in the kitchen making fresh hand-rolled Pasta Du Jour, Will is as equally reluctant to substitute quality for quantity when he’s behind the bar. First rimming the glass with the finest gourmet pink rock salt, he puts a straw in and gestures for me to have a taste.

“A lot of people use sour-mixes when making margaritas, and sure I could probably serve ten times the amount if I took that route. It takes a long time to squeeze all the limes but the end result is worth it.”
I take a generous sip to confirm and my taste buds are met with tangy satisfaction. It’s the perfect summer refreshment; not too sweet, not too sour and just the right amount of tequila to take the edge off a long day. I can only respond with a hearty “Mmmmmmm”. This was not my first margarita, but clearly I had never tasted a real one before.

The next cocktail he makes is inspired by his night owl persona. The Tequila Sunset made with Patron Silver, PAMA Pomengranate liquor and mango juice on the bottom to replicate the sun sinking below the horizon, is his spin on the otherwise popular Tequila Sunrise. Will admits that he is not a morning person and the only time he catches the sunrise is if he has just finished a long double shift. “What can I say, I just prefer sunsets, when the sun goes down that’s when the party begins!” Let me just say that this cocktail is a party in your mouth, independent of how low or high the sun sits in the sky. It’s sweet and flirty with a hint of tart, carefully framed in a martini glass to display the color gradient from red to yellow. “Separate for presentation, stir for perfection,” are Will’s instructions. The only problem I have with this cocktail is that it is so beautiful I almost don’t want to drink it…. almost.

The final cocktail he prepared showed off his cheeky sense of humor. The Bloody Sombrero, he jokes, “is breakfast in a glass” inspired by the morning after a night of heavy drinking. This Latin take on a Bloody Mary is the perfect hangover fix for those who like spice. What makes it different from the original? Swap vodka for patron silver, and add some horseradish for an extra kick. The glass is rimmed with finely diced cilantro, giving it a distinct aroma unlike any other cocktail you’ve tried. Finally, the Bloody Sombrero is garnished with bacon and tempura fried avocado because, as Will frankly puts it: “bacon makes everything that much better.”
Victoria Grill is welcoming and affordable, so be sure to stop by whether you fancy a drink or a nibble. Their previously Latin inspired menu has recently been updated to offer more flavour variety, taking a lean towards the Chef’s franco-italian influences.