At Royal Dinette, Kaitlyn Stewart makes drinks that dance
It’s immediately obvious that Kaitlyn Stewart, bar manager at Vancouver’s Royal Dinette, likes to bartend to a strong beat: all of her cocktails have names inspired by music — from lyrics and songs to musicians and festivals (Upside Down; Smoke on the Walters).
Her proudest pop moniker? The Cream Sh-Boogie Bop. “It’s an ode to Prince,” she laughs, breaking into song. “Cream, don’t you stop. Cream, sh-boogie bop!”
Before joining Royal Dinette’s opening team, Stewart had shaken things up at Boulevard and Black+Blue. “Royal Dinette offered a fine dining element in a more relaxed environment,” she says. “I could add more of my personality — from my clothes, to showing my tattoos. Here, I can just be myself.”
Here, she also follows kitchen philosophy, changing her cocktail menu to cater to the seasons. “I love to incorporate local spirits where I can, and make my own syrups and shrubs,” she explains. She has also foraged for lavender herself.
With her Kumbaya cocktail, Stewart gives a clear nod to the Pacific Northwest, melding hickory-smoked rye, Amaro Montenegro, cherry cedar bitters, cinnamon and — everyone’s favourite — a toasted marshmallow.
The Woodstock, she notes, plays well through all the seasons, with its white whisky base (from Vancouver’s Liberty Distillery), peppercorn-infused mezcal, house made ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and a spritz of smoky Ardbeg for an aromatic punch.Her main goal, she says, is to keep the bar menu approachable. “I don’t like to scare people off. If you don’t understand what’s written, you aren’t very likely to try something new.”
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