Looking back at the year that changed Vancouver’s cocktail culture
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 Imbibemagazine 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.
Don’t call them mocktails: #spiritfree and #placebo drinks are a growing wellness trend
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.
Peek inside Vancouver’s secret (and not-so-secret) bars within bars
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.
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
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
B.C. craft spirits pioneer Frank Deiter is taking on the world
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.
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.