The second annual festival brought global bar stars and festive good times to the city
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.
Jacob Martin wins the 10th annual contest on the closing night of Vancouver Cocktail Week 2023
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.
In World Class tradition, the trophy’s previous winners raised him on their shoulders in front of a cheering crowd, closing out months of preparation, three intense days of challenges and a hard-fought, high-stress speed-round final.
Those three days saw 10 national finalists converge on Vancouver from right across Canada. They were: from B.C., Kate Chernoff, Harry Tham and Emily Vey; from Alberta, Xavier Alba, Sam Clark, Steven Jorgenson and Adrien Roque; from Ontario, Martin and Benjamin Kingstone; and from Quebec, Daphnee Vary Deshaise.
Four of them—Chernoff, Clark, Martin and Deshaise—made it to the final speed round, with Martin placing first and Clark second.
It was a thrilling finale not just for the competition, but for Vancouver Cocktail Week, presented by The Alchemist. The festival’s second year saw nearly 60 sold-out events across the city, as well as dozens of busy cinq à sept happy hours and the glamorous closing night gala featuring live music, a DJ, food stations and some 40 cocktail stations at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
Martin now goes on to compete in the global event this September in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The winner of this will be considered the World’s Best Bartender, triumphing over 10,000 competitors from 60 countries to reach the podium.
And all eyes will be on Martin—in the 10 years Canada has been competing in Diageo World Class, this country has consistently placed in the top 12 and is one of only three countries to win the global title more than once. (Vancouver’s Kaitlyn Stewart was named World’s Best Bartender in 2017 and Edmonton’s James Grant in 2021.)
No pressure or anything, but another win sure would be a sweet way to celebrate Canada’s 10th World Class anniversary.
Some of the world’s biggest names and most influential experts will be in town for the festival, March 5 to 11
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.
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.
The Alchemist tasting panel reviews high-end spirits
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.
Launch party offers a sneak peek of what to expect next March at the second annual event
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.
Lauren Mote honoured with Spirited Award for mentorship at Tales of the Cocktail
To Vancouverites, Lauren Mote may be best known as the co-founder of Bittered Sling Bitters and, for a while at least, a vibrant presence behind some of the city’s best bars. But worldwide she is renowned for her work as a mentor, educator and driving force for a better, more inclusive cocktail world.
Now all her hard work and passion has been recognized by her peers at the annual Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. On July 28, at the 16th Annual Spirited Awards, Mote was named Best International Bar Mentor.
It seems there will be no end to the supply chain issues that have drained back bars of essential spirits these past two years. This summer, for instance, it looks like we’re facing a shortage of Aperol, just in time for spritz season, so drink up while you can.
The Alchemist tasting panel reviews sips for the sunny season
Once summer’s warmer, sunnier weather finally arrives, we crave drinks that are lighter and easier, more refreshing and less complicated. No one knows that better than the bartenders who craft all your Margaritas, G&Ts, spritzes and other summertime thirst quenchers. So we asked them to share their favourite warm weather spirits, and the cocktails they would make with them. This issue, our tasting panel team comprises bartenders J-S Dupuis, Robyn Gray, Jeff Savage, Grant Sceney and David Wolowidnyk. Here’s what they had to say.