A new Signature from St-Rémy

Cellar master Cécile Roudaut introduces a brandy that balances quality with versatility

St-Rémy Signature is as enjoyable on its own as it is in a cocktail. Supplied photo

Cécile Roudaut loves her job. “Every day I learn new things and this brings me happiness,” says the master blender for St-Rémy. “I have the opportunity every day to taste very high-quality products. Each day I make something different. My role is to perpetuate tradition, but also to innovate.”

Roudaut was in Vancouver recently to launch St-Rémy Signature, the exciting new blended brandy she has created for Rémy-Cointreau. “I asked for a project: ‘Can I have a budget to buy some casks?’” she says. Of course, they said yes. “And the results were very pleasant.”

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Bartender of the Year 2021 James Grant faces the future

Diageo World Class excited to support the bartending comeback

Diageo World Class Global Bartender of the Year James Grant gets a lift from previous winners of the World Class Canada title. Photos courtesy of World Class Canada

It took James Grant only a decade to go from bartending “to pay the bills” to becoming the Diageo World Class Global Bartender of 2021—a title that recognizes him as the world’s best bartender.

“It’s pretty wild. It’s finally started to sink in,” says the bar manager of Edmonton’s Little Hong Kong. “I’m very humbled and grateful to have done OK representing the Canadian bartending community on the world stage.”

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Accolades for Ampersand

The Cowichan Valley distillery wows the world with its handcrafted spirits

This year, the World Gin Awards awarded the distillery’s flagship Ampersand Gin “Canada’s Best Classic Gin.” Supplied photo

Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley may seem far away from just about everywhere, but that doesn’t mean the world isn’t taking notice. That’s thanks to an artisanal distillery named Ampersand Distilling Co., which is scooping up all sorts of awards for its carefully handcrafted spirits.

Earlier this year, for instance, the World Gin Awards awarded the distillery’s flagship Ampersand Gin “Canada’s Best Classic Gin.” It’s been made since 2014 from B.C.-grown wheat, eight botanicals and fresh spring water from the five-acre farm owned and operated by the Schacht family, Stephen and Ramona, their son Jeremy and his wife Jessica.

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Ampersand 50/50 Martini

Ampersand Distilling’s 50/50 Martini. Supplied photo

As the author of a forthcoming book on essential cocktails, Ampersand co-founder Jessica Schacht recommends this sophisticated classic to make the most of the distillery’s award-winning spirits.

1.5 oz Ampersand Gin

1.5 oz Imperative Dry Vermouth

Garnish: lemon twist

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Fever-Tree serves up a citrusy summer

Sparkling Pink Grapefruit adds fizz and flavour to all our favourite highballs

Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit. Supplied photo

Canadians who’ve been searching for that perfect grapefruit soda for their Palomas and punches need look no further. Just in time for all our summer sips, Fever-Tree, the world’s leading maker of premium mixers, has launched Sparkling Pink Grapefruit.

Fever-Tree’s first mixer created specifically for North American consumers, Sparkling Pink Grapefruit, is made with hand-picked Florida grapefruits. It has no artificial colours, flavours, ingredients or sweeteners and is only 30 calories per 200 mL bottle.

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Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Spritz

Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Spritz. Jeff Malo photo

Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit perfectly complements spirits and captures the essence of easy-to-make spritzes.

¼ vodka (we suggest Grey Goose)

¾ Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit

Garnish: grapefruit wedge and rosemary sprig (optional)

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Fever-Tree Paloma

Fever-Tree Paloma. Supplied photo

Mexico’s favourite cocktail, the refreshing Paloma, is also the easiest to make.

• ¼ tequila (we suggest a 100% agave, like Patrón)

• ¾ Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit

• Garnish: grapefruit wedge

• Optional: salt rim

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Satisfying summer sips

Three ‘extremely drinkable’ cocktails from Donnelly Group’s Trevor Kallies

Photo courtesy of Donnelly Group

I’ve been crafting and designing cocktails for close to 20 years. There are a handful I can look back on with a great deal of pride and, of course, a handful that I would love to forget, but those closest to me can’t seem to let go. (There was an incident with a blue whale candy circa 2003.) Regardless of the wins and losses, there is a fairly steady evolution of where it started and how it’s going.

I realized extremely early in my role as Beverage Director for Donnelly Group that 95 per cent of the drinks I design that find their way onto the 14-plus menus around Vancouver and Toronto are not for me. Not for my enjoyment anyway. I can appreciate their flavour, their ingredients, the spirits and brands found within, of course. When I say “not for me,” I am referring to the fact that a great cocktail is designed for the enjoyment of the guests and to capture the brand of the bar, not to appease the hubris of the bartender.

Here are a handful of relatively recent cocktails that we’ve been pouring at some of the venues. They’re extremely drinkable (if I do say so myself) and not overly cost- or technique-prohibitive to be made at home.

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