The engaging educator

‘Knowledge is meant to be shared,’ says Bacardi’s Kevin Brownlee

As Bacardi Portfolio Ambassador, Kevin Brownlee shares his love of all things cocktail. Photos courtesy of Bacardi

Countless bartenders have arrived at their profession from unlikely origins, but Kevin Brownlee doesn’t consider his career trajectory odd. He believes he simply traded one education role for another. A former public-school teacher, he transitioned from sitting behind a classroom desk to standing behind a bar after realizing his greatest love is hosting, as well as constantly improving his knowledge of spirits and cocktails. Honing his skills in revered Vancouver dining rooms such as West, Pourhouse and AnnaLena, he subsequently won multiple awards, including first place in Grey Goose’s Pour Masters competition. Brownlee is now Portfolio Ambassador for Bacardi.

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The whisky whisperer

How Reece Sims shares her love of the water of life

As the Whiskey Muse, Reece Sims shares he love of wine, beer, cocktails and, above all, whisky. Photo courtesy of Reece Sims

When Reece Sims graduated from the University of Victoria, in 2009, with a Bachelor of Commerce, she thought she might go on to become a lawyer. Instead, after tenures in marketing for the fashion and architecture industries, a part-time bartending job at a Vancouver pub led to a multifaceted career in which she shares her love of spirits, wine and beer. Under the name the Whiskey Muse, Sims provides accessible education about “the water of life” to curious consumers (especially women) in their 20s and 30s—a demographic typically overlooked by distillers in favour of deep-pocketed older men. Most recently, she launched Stave+Still, a whisky-themed jewelry collection.

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From necessity, transformation

In our new column, Kelowna bartender Harry Dosanj reveals how his unlikely career was born

Bartender Harry Dosanj pours a cocktail in the well-stocked whisky bar he established at Kelowna’s Hotel Eldorado. Behind him, cocktails age peacefully in oak barrels. Hotel Eldorado photo

Harry Dosanj is a multiple-award-winning bartender who has twice ranked among Canada’s best bartenders in the Diageo World Class competition. His accomplishments are especially impressive given that before moving to Canada from Southampton, England, with his family in 2009, his interest in alcohol didn’t extend beyond an occasional beer. Here, Dosanj—who recently celebrated his second anniversary at Kelowna’s Hotel Eldorado—shares the story of his unlikely entry into the bartending profession.

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