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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North America’s 50 Best Bars names Botanist Bar the continent’s most hospitable

Botanist Bar’s creative beverage director Grant Sceney and bar manager Jeff Savage reflect on their Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award. Supplied photo

We already knew it, but now so does the rest of the world. In a first for Vancouver and for Canada, Botanist Bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel has won the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, given by North America’s 50 Best Bars.

This prestigious award recognizes the single-best hospitality experience across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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It’s a wrap for Vancouver Cocktail Week 2023

The second annual festival brought global bar stars and festive good times to the city

The Golden Era Cocktail Revival Gala at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s Pacific Ballroom may have been one of the best parties Vancouver has ever seen. Living Room creative photo

It began, as all good things do, with brunch, and wrapped with one of the best parties Vancouver has ever seen. Vancouver Cocktail Week 2023, presented by The Alchemist, has come to an end, so let’s raise a glass to the week that was, and to what’s ahead.

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World Class Canada crowns its 2023 winner

Jacob Martin wins the 10th annual contest on the closing night of Vancouver Cocktail Week 2023

Jacob Martin is hoisted on James Grant’s (left) and Jeff Savage’s (right) shoulders after winning the World Class Canada Bartender of the Year on March 11, 2023. Joanne Sasvari photo

Canada’s Best Bartender of 2023 is also a certified cheese professional with a refined palate and remarkable sensory appreciation. Congratulations to Ontario’s Jacob Martin, who won World Class Canada’s big prize at the closing gala of Vancouver Cocktail Week on Saturday night.

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Bar stars shine at Vancouver Cocktail Week

Some of the world’s biggest names and most influential experts will be in town for the festival, March 5 to 11

Some of the national and global bar stars who are attending Vancouver Cocktail Week, from left: Kaitlyn Stewart, Massimo Zitti, Jeff Savage, James Grant, Grant Sceney, Chris Enns. Canadian Cake Hospitality photo

A cocktail is more than spirits and mixers and a pretty garnish. Every glass is filled with history and knowledge, and served with a side of genuine hospitality in a convivial atmosphere.

In other words, cocktails are all about the people who make, serve and enjoy them. So we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome the national and international bar stars who are coming to Vancouver Cocktail Week presented by The Alchemist, March 5 to 11.

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The Dirty Martini

A tarnished classic cleans up its act

It’s the addition of olive brine, with its oils, murk and floaties, that makes a Martini “dirty.” Getty Images photo

If given the choice, you’d pick potato chips over chocolate. You prefer your cheese well aged and a little blue. When you order sushi, you always need to refill your soy dipping bowl. You can’t wait for mushroom season. And you almost certainly have at least three types of salt in your pantry right now.

If you’re the sort of person who craves savoury and salty flavours, then the Dirty Martini is the drink for you. Luckily, it’s no longer the pariah of the cocktail set. 

Well, sort of.

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Luxe Libations

The Alchemist tasting panel reviews high-end spirits

The tasting panel discusses the ultra-premium spirits we rarely get to taste. Getty Images photo

Sometimes nothing will do but the highest of high-end spirits. Perhaps there is an important anniversary to commemorate, a business deal to cement, a mentor to thank. Or maybe you are just lucky enough to stumble upon a tasting where you can sip something rare that’s been aging in a barrel for decades. Whatever the event, there comes a time when you may be able to enjoy an ultra-premium spirit—or a cocktail that’s been made with it. We asked our tasting panel to share some of their favourites and the cocktails they’d make with them (if they could afford to). This issue, our tasting panel team comprises bartenders Sabrine Dhaliwal, Robyn Gray, Grant Sceney and David Wolowidnyk. Here’s what they had to say. 

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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.

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Wake up to the Espresso Martini

The bittersweet contemporary classic makes a comeback

Get your caffeine buzz on with the return of the retro Espresso Martini. Getty Images photo

High-waisted jeans, shoulder pads, neon colours—if you had any doubts that the 1980s are back, the return of the Espresso Martini should lay them to rest.

This buzzy, bittersweet cocktail was perhaps the quintessential cocktail of an era in drinks culture that was otherwise, frankly, pretty grim. 

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