The Dalmore’s historic whisky auction

Six decades of exceptional whisky captured in The Decades collections

The Dalmore Highland Single Malt’s The Decades No. 6 Collection is up for auction on October 8. Supplied photo

When The Dalmore puts its once-in-a-lifetime selection of six exceptional single malt whiskies on the auction block this October, the Highland distillery is offering more than prestige and fancy spirits. It is sharing a taste of history, captured in amber spirit.

The Dalmore Highland Single Malt is offering The Decades No. 6 Collection as a single-lot auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on October 8. Partial proceeds from the auction will be donated to V&A Dundee as part of a four-year partnership with the art museum.

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Bebesita

Bebesita. Origami Social photo

Recipe courtesy of Bodega on Main

• 1.5 oz Pisco El Gobernador

• 0.5 oz Koch Espadin Mezcal

• 1 oz Peach and Chili Pepper Shrub

• 0.5 oz Lemon

• 0.5 oz Lime

• 0.5 oz Egg White

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Great world bars we love: The Connaught Bar, Mayfair, London

Photo courtesy of The Connaught Bar

Once we can travel and socialize again, we know just where we’ll be heading. We’re going to a bar. And not just any bar. The very best bar in the world.

That’s The Connaught Bar, which was named No. 1 by The World’s 50 Best Bars last November, after spending 10 years on the list. It’s an elegant 1920s-style space on the ground floor of The Connaught Hotel in London’s posh Mayfair neighbourhood. The room is both glamourous and cosy. Although it’s a vintage space, it was redesigned by David Collins and relaunched in 2008 with swellegant nods to Cubism and Art Deco.

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Here’s where to raise a glass to celebrate Negroni Week in Vancouver

Gin + Vermouth + Campari = A beloved Italian drink you can sip at local restaurants and bars (and support great causes, too)

Some Vancouver restaurants offer Negronis by the bottle, including at Kitchen Table’s DiBeppe and Pizzeria Farina. DiBeppe / Facebook

It’s time to raise your glass in celebration of one of the world’s most beloved cocktails, as bars and restaurants mix things up for a good cause for the return of Negroni Week.

The elegant aperitif is traditionally made with one part gin, one part vermouth rosso, and one part Campari, and is garnished with orange peel.

However, for Negroni Week, participating venues offer up their own renditions, available to customers with proceeds going to a charity of choice. This year, Negroni Week will be celebrated from Sept. 13 through 19.

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The mysterious monk

Bénédictine’s storied role in cocktails old and new

Bénédictine’s romantic story is part of its appeal. Photo courtesy of benedictinedom.com

If you’re the sort of person who likes their cocktails served with a side of storytelling, then Bénédictine is the drink for you. Consider it the Forrest Gump of the spirits world, popping up at just the right moments and in the just the right cocktails.

Bénédictine is an herbal liqueur produced in France, based on Cognac, sweetened with honey and flavoured with 27 herbs and spices including saffron, hyssop and lemon balm. Like Chartreuse, it was originally produced centuries ago, concocted by monks as a medicinal tonic.

Or was it?

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Poet’s Dream

Poet’s Dream. Getty Images photo

When this cocktail appeared in the 1935 Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, it was an equal-parts cocktail and, like La Louisiane, has been made stronger and less sweet over time. Some versions are almost Martini dry; this one retains enough liqueur to highlight its sweet spice.

• 1 oz gin

• 1 oz dry vermouth

• 0.5 oz. Bénédictine

• 2 dashes orange bitters

• Garnish: lemon twist

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De La Louisiane

De La Louisiane. Getty Images photo

The original La Louisiane cocktail dates back to the late 19th century in New Orleans, where it featured equal amounts of rye, vermouth and Bénédictine. This contemporary version, which is far less sweet, is adapted from The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan (2011).

2 oz rye whisky

0.75 oz Bénédictine

0.75 oz sweet vermouth

3 dashes absinthe

3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Garnish: 3 brandied cherries

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The engaging educator

‘Knowledge is meant to be shared,’ says Bacardi’s Kevin Brownlee

As Bacardi Portfolio Ambassador, Kevin Brownlee shares his love of all things cocktail. Photos courtesy of Bacardi

Countless bartenders have arrived at their profession from unlikely origins, but Kevin Brownlee doesn’t consider his career trajectory odd. He believes he simply traded one education role for another. A former public-school teacher, he transitioned from sitting behind a classroom desk to standing behind a bar after realizing his greatest love is hosting, as well as constantly improving his knowledge of spirits and cocktails. Honing his skills in revered Vancouver dining rooms such as West, Pourhouse and AnnaLena, he subsequently won multiple awards, including first place in Grey Goose’s Pour Masters competition. Brownlee is now Portfolio Ambassador for Bacardi.

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A whisky time machine

Whisky in just two weeks? Get a taste of the “synthetically aged spirits” world

To make his synthetically aged whisky, distiller Steve Watts uses staves from Okanagan wine barrels. Photos courtesy of Mainland Whisky

It’s amber in the glass, with aromas of toasted bread, fresh-cut wood, apple and pear. It’s flavours of butterscotch with clove and pepper spice. I’d blind-taste it as a young but promising Canadian whisky from a craft distillery, somewhere on its three-year journey to the glass.

“It’s two weeks old,” says Steve Watts, distiller and founder of South Surrey’s Mainland Whisky, of his Time Machine Hungarian Oak bottling. One of the craft renegades experimenting with accelerated maturation and “synthetic” aged whisky, the Texas-trained distiller says, “There are so many people who are traditionalists in this industry—I don’t need to be a traditionalist.” While his Time Machine spirits can’t be labeled “Canadian whisky,” Watts says, “I see this as a product not to replace barrel-aged whisky, but as something totally different.” (He eventually plans to release traditional wood-matured whiskies, too.)

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Accolades for Ampersand

The Cowichan Valley distillery wows the world with its handcrafted spirits

This year, the World Gin Awards awarded the distillery’s flagship Ampersand Gin “Canada’s Best Classic Gin.” Supplied photo

Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley may seem far away from just about everywhere, but that doesn’t mean the world isn’t taking notice. That’s thanks to an artisanal distillery named Ampersand Distilling Co., which is scooping up all sorts of awards for its carefully handcrafted spirits.

Earlier this year, for instance, the World Gin Awards awarded the distillery’s flagship Ampersand Gin “Canada’s Best Classic Gin.” It’s been made since 2014 from B.C.-grown wheat, eight botanicals and fresh spring water from the five-acre farm owned and operated by the Schacht family, Stephen and Ramona, their son Jeremy and his wife Jessica.

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