Scorpion

Beware of the Scorpion’s lethal sting. Joanne Sasvari photo

Originally a blender drink from Beachbum Berry, and traditionally served as a bowl for six with a gardenia garnish at Trader Vic’s, the Scorpion makes a terrific single-serving shaken drink, too. Just beware of its lethal sting.

• 2 oz light rum
• 1 oz brandy
• 1.5 oz orange juice
• 0.5 oz lemon juice
• 0.75 oz orgeat

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Three Dots and a Dash

Three Dots and a Dash—victory! Joanne Sasvari photo

The garnish says it all. The three cherries are the dots, the pineapple wedge the dash, representing the letter “V” in Morse code, which was the symbol for “victory” during the Second World War.

• 1.5 oz rhum agricole or demerara rum
• 0.5 oz aged blended rum
• 0.5 oz orange juice
• 0.5 oz lime juice
• 0.5 oz honey syrup (see note)
• 0.25 oz falernum
• 0.25 oz pimento dram (see recipe)
• 1 dash angostura bitters
• Garnish: 3 cherries and 1 wedge of fresh pineapple

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Pimento Dram

Pimento Dram makes a great addition to tiki and other cocktails. Joanne Sasvari cocktail

This is a simple spice-flavoured liqueur that makes a great addition to tiki and other cocktails. Note that it will take about a week to infuse, so plan accordingly.

• 2 Tbsp whole allspice berries
• 0.5 cup light or dark rum (whichever you prefer)
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 0.5 cup water
• 0.5 cup brown sugar

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Front of the class

From East and West, bartenders move on to the regional finals of the Diageo World Class competition

Chris Enns, bartender at Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, is the World Class Canada Bartender of the Year 2018. Photo courtesy of Diageo World Class Canada

Since the beginning of January, Canada’s bartenders have been perfecting their recipes, practising their techniques and preparing for their moment in the spotlight at the Diageo World Class Canada cocktail competition.

On March 1, 13 bartenders from Eastern Canada and 13 from the West made it through to the Regional Finals, which will be held in Toronto and Calgary in late March. From there, five winners from East and West will go on to the National Final in June. The winner of that event will compete in the global final of the world’s biggest, most prestigious bartending competition, which will be held in Glasgow at the end of September.

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Sizing up the Sazerac

The mysteries of NOLA’s signature cocktail

Bartender Justin Taylor pours a Sazerac at The Cascade Room. Dan Toulgoet photo

What is it with absinthe? Every time the herbal spirit gets involved, confusion and controversy seem to follow.

Take the Sazerac, one of the world’s oldest and greatest cocktails and since 2008 the official state cocktail of Louisiana. For decades experts as revered as Dale de Groff, King Cocktail himself, traced the origins of the first cocktail to this anise-scented variation on the Old Fashioned. Sadly, it can’t be true, since the word “cocktail” first appeared in print in 1806 and the apothecary who allegedly invented the Sazerac was only three years old at the time.

Still. It’s a good tale.

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Sazerac

Sazerac. Dan Toulgoet photo

A great classic that belongs in every barkeep’s repertoire.

• 1 tsp (approximately) absinthe or pastis
• 1 cube sugar or 1 tsp simple syrup
• 3 or 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
• 2 oz Cognac, rye whisky, or a mix of both
• Lemon peel for garnish

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Distant distilleries

The challenges and benefits of making spirits in rural regions

Because shipping to Hornby is so expensive, Island Spirits distiller Pete Kimmerly transported his shiny new still himself. Tim Pawsey photo

What’s the flip side of the urban winery? That’ll be the rural distillery. Artisan distilling in British Columbia is on a roll, with some 60 distilleries in full operation, and at least a dozen more to open within the year (according to BC Distilled). While the Lower Mainland is home to many distilleries, there’s no shortage of them popping up in far-flung spots, from Shirley and Ucluelet to Wynndel and Wycliffe.

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Bitter is better

Cocktail bitters are a bartender’s salt and pepper. Here’s our guide to B.C.’s best

Victoria Distillers produces the Twisted & Bitter lineup, which ranges from fruity (orange, grapefruit, schizandra) to spicy (pepper, ginger). Victoria Distillers photo

Aficionados of Old Fashioneds are familiar with oversize-label bottles of Angostura, the classic aromatic bitters from Trinidad and Tobago that have made a million cocktails sing. Signature mixes of botanicals, often originally used as medicine, have earned famous bitters brands like Sazerac, Peychaud’s and Amargo Chunchon (for Pisco Sours) a place in the classic-cocktail canon.

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