“The drink is intended to be a Canadian highball, that is, a drink that is spirit forward, but is also balanced and refreshing,” says Jeff Savage, Botanist’s head bartender, who created the cocktail. The large, crystal-clear ice cubes are precisely measured to fit the glassware and are cut with a band saw. They are also adorned with the Botanist logo: The custom metal stamp is placed on top of the cube and gravity does the rest.
• 1.5 oz Canadian Club Rye Whisky
• 0.5 oz gin, preferably St. George Terroir Gin
• 1.5 oz birch water
• 1 oz Smoked Tea Syrup (recipe follows)
Tiki is back in Vancouver. Why did it ever go away?
Tiki culture is a liquid ticket to an imaginary tropical island where the breeze is always warm, the music sways like the branches of a palm tree, and the rum flows as easily as the waves that wash up on a sandy beach.
Tiki originated in California in 1933, but exploded in popularity after the Second World War. It was inspired by the romance of the South Pacific, the culture of Polynesia, the flavours of Asia and the rum punches of the Caribbean, making it the ultimate fusion cocktail experience, served in a kitschy-cool Hollywood-ready vessel to a market that was weary of war and ready to party.
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
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
From East and West, bartenders move on to the regional finals of the Diageo World Class competition
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.
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.
The challenges and benefits of making spirits in rural regions
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.