Spirits of the season

Sip, celebrate, share and make merry this winter

Leila Kwok photo

Cocktail collab at Botanist

Botanist Bar in the Fairmont Pacific Rim has a holiday gift for cocktail lovers: an avant garde, off-menu cocktail and food pairing experience that celebrates the flavours of the Pacific Northwest.

It’s a collaboration between head bartender Jeff Savage, Canada’s Bartender of the Year 2020, and executive chef Hector Laguna. Together, this talented team will take guests on a wild flavour journey. “This one is very specific to what I love about the Pacific Northwest; it’s five savoury courses and one dessert course,” says Savage. “My cocktails are a love letter to Canada—
a love letter to the beautiful nature around us.”

There are two seatings each night, each for up to four people, at the VIP table beside the bar. They are available Wednesday through Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Cost is $185 per person. Advance reservations are essential, and can be made through Tock.

Tasteful Mondays at Pourhouse


Who says Mondays have to be blue? Not the folks at Pourhouse. Every second week this winter they are planning to host a Monday Night Tasting Series that features top-shelf libations, snacks to pair with them and a big serving of history. The event might feature whisk(e)y, wine, beer, cooking techniques, local offerings, gins, or more. The experience is available for two to six guests, with two-hour time slots available from 5 to 8 p.m. Cost is $90 for the full experience, $45 for just the liquids. For info, visit pourhousevancouver.com/tasting-series; for tickets, book on Tock.

Photo courtesy of Nude

Go Nude this holiday

Nude, the Vancouver-based company that created the first sugar-free hard seltzer drink, is releasing two limited-edition 12-packs just in time for the holidays. Its top-selling Classic Lime and Raspberry Lemon will be available in festive hues of green and red. Even better, though, the company’s popular advent calendar is back and featuring two new limited edition flavours, with a portion of sales going to Food Banks Canada. nudebeverages.com

Open your mind to Shift Change

The past few years have seen plenty of distressing revelations about the poor working conditions for many in the hospitality industry. That’s why the folks at Tacofino launched Shift Change, an industry outreach initiative. Now they’re taking it online for a series of virtual workshops called “Speakers for Change.” The four one-hour Zoom sessions will be held monthly through February 2021, featuring community leaders speaking on topics such as race, diversity and LGBTQ+ issues. Participation is free, though tickets need to be reserved at Eventbrite.com. In addition, Tacofino will donate $1,250 to each speaker’s charity of choice. shiftchangenow.com

Above all, be kind

For some people, the holidays are not a joyful time of year. Money worries, poor health, loneliness, abuse, addiction—it all hurts worse when it’s cold and dark and everyone around you seems to be celebrating. And this year will be harder than ever for many people. So if you’re in a good situation, consider helping those who aren’t, either by volunteering your time, supporting local businesses or by donating to a good cause. Here are just a few organizations that particularly help those in the hospitality industry.

BC Hospitality Foundation

Mind the Bar

Greater Vancouver Food Bank

Breaking Bread

Vancouver Food and Beverage Community Relief Fund

CPBA Bartenders Relief Measures Program

Bartenders Benevolent Fund

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