2010

Looking back at the year that changed Vancouver’s cocktail culture

The Olympic flame isn’t the only legacy of 2010—so is Vancouver’s vibrant cocktail scene. Istockphoto.com photo

When Vancouverites look back at 2010, we think of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, a rain-soaked Wayne Gretzky and all those red mittens. But the really big news that year could be found at the bottom of a cocktail glass.

Proper cocktail bars were finally opening all over town. Global spirits brand reps started showing up to dole out samples. The organizers of Tales of the Cocktail reached out to see if Vancouver would be a good site for Tales on Tour. (Spoiler alert: Yes, in 2011 and 2012.) And Imbibe  magazine discovered “a Galapagos of mixology, a place where cocktails have evolved independently from the rest of the drinking world.”

Ten years later, we revisit the year that changed the city’s cocktail culture.

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Zero-sum game

Don’t call them mocktails: #spiritfree and #placebo drinks are a growing wellness trend

Lumette! alt-gin from Sheringham Distilleries.

It gathered speed last year with Sober October before the holiday rush. After ringing in 2020, the trend was undeniable: #Dryuary was in full swing on social media and in the bars and living rooms of the nation, as the so-called sober curious or mindful drinking movement reached a new level of maturity.

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Shhhh…

Peek inside Vancouver’s secret (and not-so-secret) bars within bars

Step through the secret entrance to the luxe private room at D/6 Bar & Lounge. Photo courtesy of D/6 Bar & Lounge

Vancouver is home to countless cool bars, some dive-y, some hip, some themed—and some full of surprises. A few house separate, completely different rooms that you might not even be aware exist. Here’s a handful of the city’s best bars within bars.

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Thai One On

Southeast Asian flavours and a pretty purple hue make this cocktail from The Diamond (and Elk Room) irresistible.

• 1.5 oz yuzu sake
0.5 oz Wray & Nephew overproof rum
• 0.5 oz butterfly pea flower syrup
• 0.75 oz lime juice
• Tonic water
• Garnish: sprig of mint

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Sangria

The classic Sangria at Bodega on Main. Supplied photo

The classic—and sessionable—red wine punch from Bodega on Main

• 1 lemon
• 1 orange
• 1/2 apple
• Handful blackberries
• 1 bottle (750 mL) Spanish red wine
• 1.5 oz Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
• 1.5 oz brandy
• 2 oz lemonade
• 2 oz orange juice
• 6 to 8 oz soda water or 7Up

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Forgotten Temple

The Forgotten Temple at Campagnolo Upstairs. Supplied photo

At Camp Up, smoky and bitter flavours combine in an appealingly dark sipper.

• 0.75 oz Los Siete Misterios Doba Yej mezcal
0.75 oz Cazadores blanco tequila
• 0.75 oz El Bandarra vermouth
• 0.3 oz Legend Naramaro
• 0.3 oz Odd Society Mia Amata amaro
• Dash Apothecary Bitters Darkness Coffee and Cacao Bitters
• Garnish: orange twist

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La Granada Cocktail

La Granada Cocktail and D/6 Bar & Lounge

At D/6 Bar & Lounge, manager Tianna Brammer combines her appreciation for tequila and lemonade in this elegant drink.

Campari-pomegranate ice cube:

• 0.5 oz Campari
• 0.5 oz pomegranate juice
• 3 oz water

Cocktail:

• 1 oz Volcan blanco tequila
0.25 oz pisco
• 0.5 oz orgeat
• 0.5 oz citric acid
• Garnish: dehydrated lemon slice, pomegranate seeds

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The spirit whisperer

B.C. craft spirits pioneer Frank Deiter is taking on the world

Master distiller Frank Deiter has gone from founding Okanagan Spirits in Vernon to travelling the world as a consultant and instructor.
Photo courtesy of Frank Deiter

Frank Deiter is a man on a mission.

As the founder of Okanagan Spirits in 2004, Deiter charted the pioneering distillery’s early successes before leaving in 2011 to pursue other ventures. These days he works with Mueller Pot Stills, representing what is widely recognized as one of Germany’s leading still manufacturers across North America. He also maintains a hands-on presence throughout the craft-distilling industry as an independent consultant and instructor.

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Bitter & sweet

Why you should be drinking vermouth made in B.C.

At MARKET at the Shangri-la Hotel in Vancouver, head bartender Gianluigi Bosco makes his own house-aromatized and fortified wines. Leila Kwok photo

More than 200 years ago, wine drinkers in Turin and Marseille started adding bittering and flavouring botanicals to wine fortified with spirit, to make an entirely new drink. The styles they created—a sweeter, reddish-brown style in Italy and a drier white-wine version in France—are iconic today, and collectively known as vermouth, a term that comes from the root word for wormwood, which is synonymous in many languages with “bitter.”

Now enjoying a renaissance thanks to cocktail mixology and the Spanish-driven trend for sipping them solo or as a spritz, vermouths should have a place on your back bar. (Actually, in your fridge, where a red vermouth will stay fresh for several months, and white vermouth for several weeks after opening.) Here are three new and three favourite B.C. bottlings to try.

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Citrus Breeze

Gianluigi Bosco’s Citrus Breeze. Leila Kwok photo

This refreshing spritz recipe by Gianluigi Bosco, head bartender at MARKET at the Shangri-la Hotel, uses a vermouth you can make yourself.

• 3 oz Citrus Wine (recipe below)
• 0.25 oz melissa and peppermint hydrosols (see note)
• 2 dashes citric acid, available at gourmet stores
• Soda water, to taste
• Orange zest and mint, for garnish

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