A fitting formula

Science of Cocktails shakes things up at Science World

The Clough Club’s Andrea Civettini won the cocktail competition at Science of Cocktails at Science World on Feb. 8, 2018. Science of Cocktails photo.
A sign outside the Science of Cocktails at Science World on Feb. 8, 2018. Joanne Sasvari photo.
Bartender and Diageo World Class Canada 2014 winner Grant Sceney at the VIP Lounge at Science of Cocktails 2018. Joanne Sasvari photo.
Bartender J-S Dupuis at Science of Cocktails 2018. Joanne Sasvari photo.
Bartender Kevin Brownlee at Science of Cocktails 2018. Joanne Sasvari photo.
Bartender Colin MacDougall at Science of Cocktails 2018. Joanne Sasvari photo.

With a puff of dry ice, the 2018 edition of Science of Cocktails has proven once again that physics, chemistry and thermodynamics are as important in your glass as the spirits and bitters.

Bartenders from all over Vancouver, as well as Calgary, Toronto, Halifax and Las Vegas, headed over to Science World last week to put their skills to the acid test.

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The Last Word: A classic Bronx

A classic Bronx, shaken the Nick and Nora way. Dan Toulgoet photo, taken at D/6 Bar & Lounge, Parq Vancouver.

“The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to foxtrot time, a Bronx to two-step time, but a dry martini you always shake to waltz time.”

Nick Charles (William Powell) covers the essentials in the 1934 classic movie The Thin Man.

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Canada’s best artisan spirits announced

Sheringham Akvavit named Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year

B.C., which is home to almost 45 per cent of Canada’s artisan distilleries, took home the greatest number of awards, including the Artisan Spirit of the Year: Sheringham Distillery Akvavit. Lucy-Kate Armstrong photo

One hundred and seventy-five. That’s a lot of spirits to taste, especially when they range from akvavit to amaro to apple brandy.

But throughout December 2017, that just what I and seven other spirits experts from coast to coast did, sniffing, swirling, sipping and occasionally spitting, as we judged the inaugural Canadian Artisan Spirits Awards.

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Liquid Gold

It can take years before brown spirits get to market. Here’s how B.C. distilleries keep their businesses liquid in the meantime

Illustration by Tara Rafiq

Imagine you make widgets: finely crafted, artisan widgets. Customers pay more for vintage widgets, so there are laws around how old they have to be as well as their quality. You spend a couple of years building your factory with expensive, traditional widget-making equipment. You hire workers, pay for raw materials, power and utilities, and finally fill a warehouse with a bunch of bulky, heavy containers, then wait a few years before you can sell any of your exquisite stock at a premium price. In the meantime, you absorb labour and storage costs to maintain your inventory, which you lose a mysterious chunk of every year as some widgets slip through the cracks and just disappear into thin air.

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Smooth Operator

The Sidecar cocktail is a sophisticated, classy concoction, so why is it so often overlooked?

Ritz Paris bartender Frank Meier may have invented the Sidecar in 1923. Ritz Paris photo.

The Sidecar is one of the great Prohibition-era classics, a boozy-but-vibrant three-ingredient cocktail that fulfills our desire for both the depth of brown spirits and the bright acidity of citrus. It should be a rock star among cocktails, yet where Old Fashioneds, tiki drinks and even the horrible Gimlet have made their comebacks, the Sidecar has somehow eluded its just recognition amid the modern cocktail revival.

It’s time for that to change.

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The Sidecar

The Sidecar. Dan Toulgoet photo.

The original recipe called for equal amounts of Cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice, but whether it’s the ingredients that have changed or modern tastes, today we prefer a version that’s heavier on the Cognac. If you can’t afford the real thing, use as good a quality brandy as you can.

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3 Cocktails a True Scotsman Would Approve Of

Sláinte! January 25, 2018, is Robbie Burns Day—a day dedicated to the life and poetry of the late Scottish radical poet, Robert Burns. Burns suppers typically include haggis, Scotch whisky and the recitation of Burns’ poetry. For those planning on cheersing the famed Scotsman this year, here are three tribute-worthy whisky cocktail recipes that can be easily recreated at home.

Distillery Yaletown


1.5 parts DEWAR’S 12 Blended Scotch Whisky
0.75 parts lemon juice
0.75 parts honey syrup
3 slices fresh ginger
Candied ginger garnish

Using a wooden muddler, muddle the fresh ginger in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until it is well mashed. Add the blended Scotch, lemon juice, and honey syrup, and fill shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled (about 20 seconds). Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass (you may wish to double strain through a fine tea strainer to remove the small flecks of ginger), and spray the Islay Scotch over the top.

Distillery Vancouver

Dewar’s Dramble

1.5 parts DEWAR’S 12 Blended Scotch Whisky
0.75 parts lemon juice
0.50 parts simple syrup
0.25 parts. Crème du Mure
Blackberry garnish

Add all ingredients (minus crème de mure) to the glass. Fill with crushed ice and stir. Top with more crushed ice and then drizzle crème du mure on top. Garnish with a fresh blackberry.

Best Cocktail Bars Vancouver

The Darb

2 parts DEWAR’S 12 Blended Scotch Whisky
1 part Martini Rossi (Sweet Vermouth)
3 dashes bittercube Corazon bitters
Garnish with lemon twist

Stir and strain
Glass and ice—rocks / large cube

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Roll out the barrel

Surrey’s Central City may have begun as beer brewers, but they are fast becoming one of B.C.’s most important distillers of single malt.

Central City has 1,400 barrels of single malt aging right now.

He may have a lengthy career in brewing behind him, but Gary Lohin is clear: “I’ve been a whisky aficionado for even longer.”

He got his start in beer at Whistler Brewing back in 1989, before spending most of the 1990s at Sailor Hagar’s Brewpub in North Vancouver. He moved to Central City Brewpub in Surrey in 2003 where his Red Racer beer lineup established him as one of B.C.’s top brewmasters. It was on trips to Oregon and California that he visited microdistilleries and began noticing that breweries there were adding stills. So, when Central City began planning its new production facility in 2010, Lohin suggested to his business partner that they should add a distillery.

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