The reformation of Santa Teresa

With bold Bacardi deal, a legendary rum emerges from Venezuela

Barrels are filled and sealed at the Santa Teresa distillery. Supplied photo

Wars. Runaway inflation. Gangs. Rugby. Rum.

The last 200 years have seen a lot of turmoil in Venezuela, and Ron Santa Teresa has been around for all of it. “The whole history of Venezuela has been quite volatile,” says brand ambassador Jason Browne. “The family is constantly battling outside forces to keep the company going.”

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The Bon Vivant

Our man-about-town discovers that taking a seat at the bar is a social act, even for the solo sipper

Ryan Mitson Illustration

Earlier this year, for no apparent reason, multiple stories were published about the stigma of eating in a restaurant alone, each of them offering counsel as to why no one should feel self-conscious for doing so. I appreciate these pieces having been written, but I don’t understand why they need to exist.

I’ve never felt self-conscious about dining solo. I’d argue, in fact, that it’s often a superior experience to dining as part of a couple or a group. Without the pressures or distraction of conversation, one can fully appreciate a meal, consume it at a preferred pace, and get lost in a book or people-watching or whatever private reveries help the mind relax and the heart sing.

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Monashee Ethos Gin for the Win

Triticale could be the craft-spirit buzzword of 2019, thanks to the B.C. winner that tops the 2019 Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition, with six other B.C. distilleries winning best-in-class honours.

Revelstoke’s Monashee Spirits won the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year award for their Ethos Gin. Marissa Tiel/Revelstoke Review photo

For the second year in a row, a B.C. small-batch spirit is the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year. Monashee Spirits Ethos Gin from Revelstoke was not only the best-in-class Canadian gin, but scored highest of any entry in the entire competition. (Last year, Sheringham Distillery’s Akvavit from Vancouver Island claimed that honour.) And B.C. distilleries swept bragging rights in the whisky categories, showing promising maturity in our young industry.

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Sizing up the Sazerac

The mysteries of NOLA’s signature cocktail

Bartender Justin Taylor pours a Sazerac at The Cascade Room. Dan Toulgoet photo

What is it with absinthe? Every time the herbal spirit gets involved, confusion and controversy seem to follow.

Take the Sazerac, one of the world’s oldest and greatest cocktails and since 2008 the official state cocktail of Louisiana. For decades experts as revered as Dale de Groff, King Cocktail himself, traced the origins of the first cocktail to this anise-scented variation on the Old Fashioned. Sadly, it can’t be true, since the word “cocktail” first appeared in print in 1806 and the apothecary who allegedly invented the Sazerac was only three years old at the time.

Still. It’s a good tale.

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Sazerac

Sazerac. Dan Toulgoet photo

A great classic that belongs in every barkeep’s repertoire.

• 1 tsp (approximately) absinthe or pastis
• 1 cube sugar or 1 tsp simple syrup
• 3 or 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
• 2 oz Cognac, rye whisky, or a mix of both
• Lemon peel for garnish

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Distant distilleries

The challenges and benefits of making spirits in rural regions

Because shipping to Hornby is so expensive, Island Spirits distiller Pete Kimmerly transported his shiny new still himself. Tim Pawsey photo

What’s the flip side of the urban winery? That’ll be the rural distillery. Artisan distilling in British Columbia is on a roll, with some 60 distilleries in full operation, and at least a dozen more to open within the year (according to BC Distilled). While the Lower Mainland is home to many distilleries, there’s no shortage of them popping up in far-flung spots, from Shirley and Ucluelet to Wynndel and Wycliffe.

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Science of Cocktails event offers drinks that will have you completely spellbound

Science World British Columbia / Flickr

While there will be a multitude of alcoholic beverages on the menu, this annual event is a far cry from the average cocktail party.

The Science of Cocktails at the Telus World of Science offers a unique opportunity to see some of the industry’s most passionate mixologists work their alchemy on classic favourites as well as inspired new concoctions.

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El Pelonchas

Cuchillo’s El Pelonchas. Dan Toulgoet photo

• 0.75 oz. Sombra Mezcal
• 0.75 oz. Jameson’s Irish Whisky
• 0.75 oz. Ginger Agave Syrup*
• 0.75 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice

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Bitter is better

Cocktail bitters are a bartender’s salt and pepper. Here’s our guide to B.C.’s best

Victoria Distillers produces the Twisted & Bitter lineup, which ranges from fruity (orange, grapefruit, schizandra) to spicy (pepper, ginger). Victoria Distillers photo

Aficionados of Old Fashioneds are familiar with oversize-label bottles of Angostura, the classic aromatic bitters from Trinidad and Tobago that have made a million cocktails sing. Signature mixes of botanicals, often originally used as medicine, have earned famous bitters brands like Sazerac, Peychaud’s and Amargo Chunchon (for Pisco Sours) a place in the classic-cocktail canon.

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