Artisan distillers turn their hands to sanitizers

Sweet Orange + Gin Sanitizer produced by Victoria’s Nezza Naturals and Victoria Distillers is being donated to the region’s health-care workers. Supplied photo

A week ago, Peter Hunt had just returned to Victoria from a trip to New York when he decided to go shopping. But customers concerned about COVID-19 had gotten there before him.

“I was in the stores and there was no hand sanitizer around,” says the president of Victoria Distillers. “Then I was chatting with my wife, who works in the public service, and my aunts and uncles, who are paramedics, and they were having trouble finding hand sanitizer, too. Trying to find it was stressing them out.

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Hospitality in the shadow of COVID-19

The original members of the “Breaking Bread” collective, a growing initiative designed to support independent restaurants, their staff and suppliers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Represented here, from left to right: Café Medina, Juke Fried Chicken, Beetbox, L’Abattoir, Havana, Belgard Kitchen, Wildebeest, Nuba, Heritage Asian Eatery, Origo Club. Photo courtesy of Breaking Bread

It happened slowly, then all at once. Was it just a week ago we were still joking about bumping elbows instead of shaking hands? Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has rolled over absolutely every aspect of our lives, and that includes our vibrant culinary culture.

Across British Columbia, people in the hospitality industry have taken proactive action against the virus, not waiting for government to tell them to change the way they do business.

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Shaking it up at Science of Cocktails

The fifth annual event was a whizz-bang success

Science of Cocktails, held February 6 at Science World, surpassed a cumulative milestone of $1.2 million raised for the Class Field Trip Bursary Program. Tara Rafiq photo

“This is just what we do,” says Trevor Kallies, president of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Bartender Association and the creative force behind one of Vancouver’s most dynamic cocktail events. “This” isn’t just making great drinks, although it’s that, too. Mostly, though, it’s coming together to help those who need it most.

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Bar Basics

What you need to know for making the recipes in The Alchemist.

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Essentials

Measurements: For the most part, our recipes are in imperial volume (fluid ounces, teaspoons and cups). We might occasionally use weight (for instance, an ounce of tea leaves for an infusion); in those cases, it will be noted.

Tools: The essentials are a cocktail shaker (cobbler or Boston), mixing glass, jigger, citrus juicer, Hawthorne and fine mesh strainers, muddler, bar spoon, sharp knife and vegetable peeler. Any special tools will be noted.

Glassware: You could fill your cupboards with different types of glassware, but you only really need three (aside from wine and beer): a stemmed “cocktail” glass, either the V-shaped martini or curved coupe; the short, stubby rocks or Old Fashioned; and the tall, narrow Collins.

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Hi-ya! Barate Kid is back

Cheer on your favourite bartenders while learning about Vancouver Cocktail Week and supporting the Australian bushfire relief efforts

Logo courtesy of Barate Kid.

Vancouver’s favourite high-speed bartending competition returns on January 26, and this time it’s both a launch party for Vancouver Cocktail Week and a fundraiser for Australian bushfire relief.

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The Kir Royale

Cocktail of the resistance

The elegant but rebellious Kir Royale is an easy party staple. Dan Toulgoet photo

The Kir Royale (or Royal, if you prefer) is the kind of swanky fizz that could have been conjured up by some posh hotel barkeep trying to impress a well-heeled customer. In fact, its backstory is much more thrilling than that.

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When smoke gets in your glass

Bearface blender makes the most of Canada’s flexible rules in his whisky-mezcal mashup

Bearface master blender Andres Faustinelli. Supplied photo

Consider Andres Faustinelli an industry disrupter, in the best possible way.

“The beauty of this project was in our mind from day one,” says the master blender for Bearface Spirits. “The whole idea with Bearface is we’re going to showcase what we can do in Canada, and be way open about it. We’re going to be disrupting and having fun.”

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Last minute gift guide: Warming whiskies

Need something to tuck under the tree? We’ve got you covered with these holiday bottles

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Here at The Alchemist, we pretty much always think a bottle of something delicious makes a good gift, especially if that bottle contains whisky. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift, these are the are the sippers we’d like to find under our own Christmas trees. (For more gift ideas, see Last Minute Gift Guide Part 2: Spirited presents.)

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