In 2012, a handful of local bartenders slipped on some boxing gloves and started fighting for a cause. Aprons for Gloves, they called it, a non-profit organization with the aim of providing community outreach in the Downtown Eastside through the sweet science of boxing and the annual Restaurant Rumble charity boxing match.
Now there’s a gorgeous hardcover book celebrating the event: Blood, Sweat & Beers is written by wine writer and boxer Laura Starr and features some 450 photos by Guy Roland, who has been documenting the event since the beginning.
It’s not even available for sale yet, but already Christos Kalaitzis’ new bitters line is reaping the kind of recognition a crafty bartender could only dream of.
Bitters by Christos, created by the spirits brand ambassador and mixologist for Central City Brewers & Distillers, just took home not one, not two, but three double gold awards at the prestigious San Diego Spirits Festival, the premiere West Coast celebration of spirits and cocktails. (Central City’s Lohin McKinnon Peated Whisky also won double gold.)
Glance up at the sloping green roof of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, and you might just catch a flash of scarlet at one of the windows. Wave hello to the Lady in Red, a gracious spirit said to haunt the halls of this grand dame of a hotel.
Another day, another competition under the belts of Vancouver’s extraordinary bartenders.
To chants of “Back to back!” on Thanksgiving weekend, Chris Enns of the Lobby Bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim made it into the top-20 round at the Diageo Reserve World Class competition in Berlin. Australia’s Orlando Marzo took home the overall title this year, but Enns made it all the way to number eight in the world, with a trio of Vancouverites cheering him on—last year’s global winner, Kaitlyn Stewart of Royal Dinette, as well as previous World Class Canada winners Lauren Mote and Grant Sceney. “Until next time, friends,” Enns said on Facebook. “May your hearts be filled with love and your glasses filled with World Class cocktails.”
When you’re surrounded by wild bounty the way Tofino is, it only makes sense to use it however you can. And so Wolf in the Fog’s bar manager Hailey Pasemko transforms huckleberries into bitters, infuses gin with salal or spruce tips, and fat-washes vodka with salmon.
Now she’s looking beyond Tofino, to the great spirits being produced across B.C., for her new “Local Legends” cocktail program.
With Christopher Enns’ recent win in Montreal, that’s four times Vancouver bartenders have taken home the prestigious title of Diageo Reserve World Class Canada champion since the competition started in 2013.
Enns, who mans the shakers at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge, also recently won the Woodford Reserve Manhattan challenge in New York. “It’s been very busy, that’s for sure,” he says.
Chris Enns prepared this cocktail for the World Class Canada 2018 national finals. “This drink came from the Wanderlust challenge where we came up with a cocktail inspired by both home and an away location,” he recalls. A twist on the Sazerac cocktail, the Home Team is inspired by the feeling of “home” he found at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, as well the home-team support among the World Class bartenders. Here it is served in a Scottish quaich cup; however, a chilled Old Fashioned or Sazerac-style glass would be fine.