9 Vancouver restaurants band together for week-long Pride cocktail fundraiser

The Mackenzie Room has rallied several Vancouver restaurants together for a week-long Pride cocktail fundraiser. Photo by Katie Cross Photography/courtesy The Mackenzie Room

The theme of this year’s Vancouver Pride Parade is “50 Years and Still Fighting” and with many across the city and region set to join in the celebration on West End streets, there are venues across Vancouver that are stepping up to raise awareness and money for Pride-related causes.

The Mackenzie Room has rallied together eight other restaurants for a week-long joint-effort cocktail fundraiser to align with Pride – and being a great ally is the fitting theme.

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Cool Canadiana

At Timber, Jonathan Dennis plays with flavours that hail from coast to coast to coast

Dan Toulgoet photo

As an all-Canadian pub-style restaurant, it’s no surprise that Timber has a pretty great beer selection. “But with the Canadiana theme, you can do so much more,” says restaurant manager Jonathan Dennis, who also oversees the bar program. “There’s a lot of people who want to have a killer Canadian cocktail as well.”

And that’s just what he is serving up at this friendly neighbourhood hangout on Robson at the gateway to Vancouver’s West End.

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Bottled Up! with Matt Hassen

Matt Hassen. Supplied photo

Meet Matt Hassen, an Okanagan-based slash Vancouver-raised bartender who is currently Bar Manager at the Sage Pub in Osoyoos. With almost two decades banked in the industry, Matt is a veteran by every standard, with footprints stamped in many hot Vancouver locales, and an even hotter print stamped in Nicaragua, where he helped design a bar for a Surf Hotel. It is Matt’s vigor that will melt you to pieces though, and not just because he is an animal rescue advocate who frequently fosters furry little kiddos. Matt has eternally stamped himself into the lives of everyone in our hospitality family through his courageous battle with kidney failure, and a transplant that came from a colleague-friend who is now like family. Now recovering in the Okanagan where he is closer to family, Matt is in full life mode as he relishes in the industry that had his back, spreading positive vibes and love, and keeping himself in the game through cocktail competitions and travel. Catch him while you can, because his 2021 life plan has him Jeep-bound all the way to Chile!

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The new Copper Spirit Distillery is making organic liquor on Bowen Island

Miguel and Candice Kabantsov chose copper stills for their new cove-based distillery.Photo by Bronwyn Beairsto / Undercurrent

It’s within the crisp concrete walls of the newly open Copper Spirit Distillery that owners Candice and Miguel Kabantsov want people to forge new relationships with alcohol and one another.

“We discussed how we could create an industry that was focused on conscious consumption, not over consumption,” said Candice.

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B.C. eliminates personal-exemption limit on out-of-province booze

Move is in stark contrast to Ontario becoming more restrictive on interprovincial e-commerce shipments of alcohol into the province

The lifting of restrictions is only for when a person physically transports the products across the B.C. border, as it does not include e-commerce. Istock photo

British Columbians can now visit another Canadian province and bring back to B.C. an unlimited amount of alcohol, the B.C. government said in a July 19 news release.

The move also applies to people from other provinces who visit B.C.

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Spirit Free Gin & Tonic

Justin Taylor’s Spirit-Free G&T uses a homemade gin syrup. Dan Toulgoet photo

This zero-proof G&T will ensure all your friends can enjoy summer’s quintessential cocktail.

• 1 oz. spirit-free gin syrup (recipe below)
• 0.75 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
• 5 oz tonic water

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DIY Gin & Tonic

Make summer’s favourite cocktail your very own with these bespoke ideas

Before you start, assemble your ingredients. Dan Toulgoet photo

Gin is unlike any other spirit. Simply put, gin is a distilled grain mash that produces a neutral alcohol or vodka. The spirit is then redistilled with botanicals, herbs and spices to achieve the final product. It doesn’t rely on aging in oak barrels like whisky, and it doesn’t rely on one agricultural product to achieve its flavour, like agave for tequila. The infusion process will determine the flavour profile of each gin.

In other words, gin is essentially a botanical-flavoured vodka. And that means, even though not very many of us will ever have access to a still, we can make our own quality gins by working with infusions.

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Summer in a glass

Photo courtesy of Joey Restaurants

For nine months of the year, we can enjoy our fancy drinks, our boozy drinks, our brown-bitter-stirred drinks all we like. But when summer rolls around, we just want something easy. Cool. Refreshing. Even better if it’s made with watermelon.

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