Vancouver Cocktail Week is back!

Tickets go on sale December 1 for the March event

Cea Ejack/Living Room Creative photo

Pro tip: Book March 3 to 10, 2024, off work right now. That’s when Vancouver Cocktail Week, presented by The Alchemist, returns to town, and you won’t want to miss one spirited minute of it.

The city’s third annual celebration of Vancouver cocktail culture will have even more bar stars from Canada and around the world shaking things up with planned takeovers and mid-week pop-ups at Vancouver’s most popular cocktail venues.

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Canada wins again

A Canadian wins World Class for an unprecedented third time. So what’s next for our talented bartenders?

Bartender Jacob Martin shakes things up at the World Class Global Final in Brazil. Photos courtesy of World Class Canada

On September 29, amid confetti and cheers, Toronto’s Jacob Martin became the World Class Global Bartender 2023, the third time a bartender from Canada—or any country—has won the world’s biggest, most prestigious cocktail competition. It’s an extraordinary accomplishment, and a fitting finale to Canada’s 10th year of competing in the event.

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Tour the Ontario Craft Gin Trail

There’s no better time to explore the Ontario Craft Gin Trail than right now, when it’s blooming with fall colours and seasonal spirits

The craft gin lineup at Junction 56 in Stratford, ON. Supplied photo

The Ontario Craft Gin Trail, formed in the summer of 2022, rounds up six Ontario gin-stitutions on a self-guided trek around the province’s southwestern distilleries. It’s a perfect weekend getaway or staycation, with stops as little as an hour west of Toronto (in Guelph). Here’s what we saw, tasted and loved.

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Sons of Vancouver is serving spirits from its haunted bar

The award-winning North Vancouver distillery has a morbid menu of blood-curdling cocktails

Sons of Vancouver bartender Amanda MacMullin, dressed as Lydia from Tim Burton’s ‘Beetlejuice,’ serves a spooky slush in a silver chalice. Nick Laba / North Shore News photo

One local distillery is putting the “boo!” in booze.

Throughout the month of October, Sons of Vancouver is dead set on giving guests chills up their spines, with a cocktail menu so morbid it would make a wicked witch cackle.

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Where to drink right now in Toronto

Bar Banane is home to Jacob Martin, the 2023 World Class Global Bartender of the Year. Brenton Mowforth (@wander.thirsty) photo

It goes without saying that a stop at Canada’s Best Bar, Civil Liberties, is essential. Now, you can also grab some bottled Civil Pours from the same mixologists: they recently ran a Bloor West pop-up, and watch for wider availability soon. A stop at Mother Cocktail Bar, an inventive Toronto fermentorium that’s steadily climbing the ranks of North America’s 50 Best Bars, is also a must. For the speakeasy set, there are inception-style spots tucked inside Coffee Oysters Champagne and under the restaurant Little Sister, but we won’t spoil those secrets here. Make your reservations now for these buzzing bars.

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Great world bars we love: The Surf Club photo

There’s no shortage of glamour in Miami, but even the most jaded of luxury travellers will find something to marvel at when setting foot into Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club. A former members-only club that hosted the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill, the historic grandeur of the hotel is still present in every nook. While visitors may get lost strolling the storied halls, most who enter today probably know exactly where they are going and that place is usually the Champagne Bar.

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Atomic age cocktails

The mid-20th century was the best of times, the booziest of times

The advent of Vodka in the 1930s begat a whole new cadre of cocktails like the Moscow Mule, Sea Breeze and Greyhound, pictured above. Getty Images photo

The end of the Second World War ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity and optimism across North America. The space race was on; so was the baby boom, a housing boom and a technology boom that filled all those new homes with fancy gadgets and their driveways with shiny automobiles. (There was also another, less happy “boom” on people’s minds, a nuclear one.)

And, when workers came home from the office to their tidy, well-appointed suburbs, they’d mix up pitchers of Martinis or Mai Tais to enjoy around their kidney-shaped cocktail tables.

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Getty Images photo

The classic Gimlet is simply half gin and half Rose’s Lime Juice. Although Raymond Chandler declared, “It beats Martinis hollow,” in his 1954 noir novel The Long Goodbye, it can be a bit sweet and unbalanced for modern palates, which is why we prefer the “refreshed” version below. 

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