Another round: Vancouver Cocktail Week back for 2023!

Launch party offers a sneak peek of what to expect next March at the second annual event

The Godfather cocktail, made with The Busker Irish Whiskey and Disaronno Amaretto. Canadian Cake Hospitality photo

We’ll take any excuse for a party. Then again, the launch of the second annual Vancouver Cocktail Week presented by The Alchemist isn’t just any excuse—it’s a full-on celebration of the city’s exceptional drinks culture.

The room was buzzing at the VCW2023 launch party at Café Medina on November 8, 2022. Canadian Cake Hospitality photo

On November 8, local and national bar stars, members of the media, brand sponsors and other illustrious guests gathered at Café Medina to raise a glass to cocktail week, scheduled for March 5 to 11, 2023. As they nibbled on chef Christopher West’s Middle Eastern-influenced fare and sipped on cocktails from 16 different stations, The Alchemist publisher and VCW event producer Gail Nugent offered a sneak peek of what to expect next year.

“We are proud to promote and support our incredible cocktail community and culture here in Vancouver,” says Nugent. “VCW’s success is due to the collaboration between all of us in this industry—the bartenders, the venues, the brands and the consumers.  We built this together.”

The Diageo World Class Canada team, from left: Kaitlyn Stewart, Massimo Zitti, Jeff Savage, James Grant, Grant Sceney, Chris Enns and Michael Armistead. Canadian Cake Hospitality photo

One of the most exciting announcements is a new partnership with Diageo World Class Canada, which will see the national final held at the VCW 2023 closing gala. This year’s winner, Massimo Zitti, who place fifth globally, flew in from Toronto for the event, joining fellow national winners Kaitlyn Stewart (who was the global winner in 2017), James Grant (2021’s global winner) and Jeff Savage (who placed second globally in 2020). The trio also led a Diageo World Class takeover at the main bar.

St-Rémy Signature Smoked Old Fashioned. Canadian Cake Hospitality photo

The gala, which will be held March 11 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s Pacific Ballroom, promises to be the glamorous highlight of VCW 2023. But it is just one of dozens of events that will include brunches, seminars, parties, walking tours, master classes, pop-ups and cocktail-paired dinners. In addition, dozens of venues around Vancouver will be hosting unticketed “Cinq à Sept” happy hours—some featuring visiting bartender guest shifts—so everyone can participate in cocktail week.

The Ube Coquito featured Don Papa rum. Canadian Cake Hospitality photo

Guests at the launch party also sipped on some 16 different cocktails served at stations sponsored by major spirits brands. It was a great night, and just a small taste of what’s to come next March. The program guide and ticket sales will be posted online starting on December 1.

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