One of the most exciting aspects of the third annual Vancouver Cocktail Week is the unprecedented opportunity it offers for guests to taste international flavours and meet bartenders from far-flung regions of the planet. Here are just some of the festival’s great dinners, seminars, guest shifts and other events that bring the rest of the world home.
Enjoy Italian amaros, cocktails and fine cuisine at:
Amaro Lucano x Bar Corso
March 4, three seatings—6, 6:30 and 7 p.m.
Enjoy chef Luke Boswell’s four-course, cocktail-paired tasting menu at this cozy Commercial Drive favourite.
Giro d’Ombra at Bacaro
March 6, 5 to 7 p.m.
Make like the Venetians with this West Coast take on the traditional “round of shadows,” featuring tempting small plates and playful cocktails.
Friuli Flavours Unveiled at Carlino
March 7, 6 p.m.
Enjoy the richly complex flavours of this northern Italian region at a five-course meal that blends traditional ingredients with innovative cocktail pairings.
Be decoratively French at:
An afternoon with St-Germain
H Tasting Lounge, March 10, noon.
An afternoon of tea, cocktails and tempting bites, bothe sweet and savoury, inspired by St-Germain elderflower liqueur and the Art Deco era.
Sample Spain’s hottest flavours at:
Salmon Guru seminar at Bagheera
March 6, 1 to 3 p.m., and guest shift at Laowai, March 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
Meet Diego Cabrera from Salmon Guru in Madrid, currently No. 14 on the World’s 50 Best Bars, and a past winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award. Learn from his expertise and sample cocktails from the famous bar.
Sip across the continent at:
European Vermouth Lunch & Learn at Carlino
March 5, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and
European Vermouth Dinner Extravaganza, location to be determined,
March 6, 6 p.m.
Sample six styles of vermouth from three different producers from three European countries—Italy, Spain and Greece—and enjoy low-proof cocktails paired with food from each country. Hosted by Nikola Petkovic, the celebrated, flair-trained bartender from Celebrity Cruises’ World Class bar.
Indulge in Afghan spice:
The Silk Road at Zarak by Afghan Kitchen
March 5, three seatings — 6, 6:30 and 7 p.m.
This four-course, family-style dinner of Middle Eastern flavours is paired with cocktails made with products from Giffard, a family-run business that has been making premium liqueurs and syrups in Angers, France, since 1885. As the Afghans know: a shared meal (and cocktails) is shared culture.
Meet legendary bartenders from Singapore and China:
Jesse Vida, of Singapore’s Cat Bite, at Laowai,
March 3, seminar 1 to 3 p.m., guest shift 6 to 9 p.m.
Learn from one of the most esteemed bartenders on the planet, formerly of NYC’s The Dead Rabbit and Atlas in Singapore and now partner in the agave-forward speakeasy Cat Bite Club.
Bastien Ciocca, of Guangzhou’s Hope & Sesame, at Laowai,
March 4, seminar 1 to 3 p.m., guest shift 6 to 9 p.m.
Enjoy cocktails, baijiu and insights from the bar that is currently No. 74 on the World’s 50 Best Bars.
Sample Japanese whiskies at:
An Evening with Nikka at PiDGiN
March 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
The Michelin-recommended restaurant serves up a five-course menu of its Asian-influenced Pacific Northwest cuisine, paired with Nikka Whisky cocktails. Even better? Guests will have the exclusive opportunity to meet Naoki Tomoyoshi, international business development representative for Nikka Whisky, who will discuss these elegant spirits and share insights into the art of crafting exceptional cocktails.
An Omakase Experience with Kujira at Ama
March 6, three seatings—5, 7 and 9 p.m.
Chef Takuya Motohashi and bar manager Troy Resch take guests on a two-hour culinary adventure with a (mostly) raw omakase experience, its multiple courses thoughtfully paired with mini Kujira whisky-based cocktails.
Flights & Bites with Shinobu at Clough Club,
March 7, two happy hour seatings—4 to 6 p.m. and 8 to 10 p.m.
This one-night pop-up features a flight of three mini Shinobu whisky-based cocktails along with an array of perfectly paired small plates. Additional cocktails and snacks will be available to order—this is the perfect pitstop before dinner or after work!
Taste bourbon and bitters from across the border:
Old Bourbon, Modern Cuisine at Glowbal
March 5, 7 p.m.
This four-course dinner of North American cuisine is paired with cocktails made with Old Forester, America’s original bottled bourbon. Guided by Joel Virginillo, Brown-Forman Reserve Spirits & Scotch Specialist.
Scrappy’s Bitters Master Class at Taste of Legacy
March 8, 8 p.m.
Ambassador Ben Sheffield and the entire Scrappy’s team will educate drinks enthusiasts how to better utilize cocktail bitters, They’ll talk science and history, and use VCW partner brands Fords Gin and Diplomático Rum to create a comparative cocktail tasting. Tickets include a cocktail tasting and a Scrappy’s mini gift box set to take away.
Cocktail Bitters: The Not-So-Secret Ingredient that Makes your Cocktails Shine at The Modern Bartender,
March 10, 2 p.m.
Scrappy’s Bitters ambassador Ben Sheffield also swings by this Chinatown shop where he will be joined by veteran Vancouver bartenders Rhett Williams and Chris Enns to teach guests best practices for using cocktail bitters. Tickets include a cocktail tasting and a Scrappy’s mini gift box set to take away.
Be fabulous in an all-Canadian way at:
Squirrel Friendz Drag Show at the Fountainhead Pub
March 6, 7 p.m.
Join Squirrel Friendz, Canada’s first 2SLGBTQIA+ vodka, for an evening of drag at Fountainhead Pub in the Davie Village featuring Miss Gloria Hole, Mina Mercury and special guests. Each ticket holder will receive a welcome cocktail. This is a seated event. Full food menu available.
Enjoy south American star power with:
Spirited Cocktail Dinner at Suyo Modern Peruvian
March 6, 7 p.m.
Join Chef Ricardo Valverde and Max Curzon-Price, the 2023 Michelin Exceptional Cocktails Winner and Bar Manager of the Year, as they walk us through a customized five-course dinner with cocktail pairings featuring two of the fastest-growing cocktail brands in the world, Fords Gin and Diplomatico Rum.
Diplomático Rum Master Class at Taste of Legacy,
March 7, 7 p.m.
Brand ambassador Gavin Miller will walk attendees through the entire Diplomático rum lineup as we learn about Venezuela’s most famous rum, the fourth largest premium rum brand in the world, including some expressions that will be brand new to Canada. Your ticket will include an option of a Diplomático Reserve Exclusiva bottle signed by Miller himself.
Ronato (Tato) Giovannoni of Argentina’s Florería Atlántico, at Laowai,
March 7, seminar 1 to 3 p.m. and guest shift, 6 to 9 p.m.
Meet the winner of both World’s 50 Best Bars Industry Icon Award 2023 and the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender i2020 as he shares cocktails and insights from his Buenos Aires bar Florería Atlántico, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, currently No. 30 on the Worlld’s 50 Best Bars list.
In addition, meet the bar stars and taste all these international flavours and so much more at the Green Garden Gala on March 9 at the Sutton Place Hotel—it’s one event no cocktail lover will want to miss.
Tickets for seminars, dinners, neighbourhood crawls, drag shows, the opening brunch, the closing gala and all other events at Vancouver Cocktail Week presented by The Alchemist, March 3 to 10, 2024, are now on sale. For tickets, information on the unticketed Cinq à Sept series of happy hours or the Vancouver Cocktail Week 2024 program guide, visit thealchemistmagazine.ca/vcw/. A print version of the program guide is also available at bars, restaurants and private liquor retailers around Vancouver.