B.C. Spirits Gift Guide: 2021 Edition

Start your festive shopping now.

Photo courtesy of Okanagan Spirits

In a holiday season with some international supply-chain blips, shop local—and shop soon!—for B.C. small-batch spirts holiday gifts. Limited-edition and seasonal items sell out fast, so if you happen to miss out this season, get on e-newsletter lists or follow distilleries on social media to watch for the next drop, and be very nice (not naughty) until next year. Many items from last holiday season are bound to be available again, so check out last year’s guide, too.

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The Alchemist Fall/Winter 2021

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Here at The Alchemist, we think it’s time to look forward rather than back; to be hopeful rather than anxious; to raise a glass to the good rather than drink to forget the bad. So the Fall/Winter 2021 issue is all about our bright, sunny future.

Let’s start with an announcement: The Alchemist magazine is thrilled to present Vancouver Cocktail Week from March 6 to 10, 2022. Expect parties, seminars, our Cinq à Sept series and much more. We can’t wait to see you there!

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The Dalmore’s historic whisky auction

Six decades of exceptional whisky captured in The Decades collections

The Dalmore Highland Single Malt’s The Decades No. 6 Collection is up for auction on October 8. Supplied photo

When The Dalmore puts its once-in-a-lifetime selection of six exceptional single malt whiskies on the auction block this October, the Highland distillery is offering more than prestige and fancy spirits. It is sharing a taste of history, captured in amber spirit.

The Dalmore Highland Single Malt is offering The Decades No. 6 Collection as a single-lot auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on October 8. Partial proceeds from the auction will be donated to V&A Dundee as part of a four-year partnership with the art museum.

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Here’s where to raise a glass to celebrate Negroni Week in Vancouver

Gin + Vermouth + Campari = A beloved Italian drink you can sip at local restaurants and bars (and support great causes, too)

Some Vancouver restaurants offer Negronis by the bottle, including at Kitchen Table’s DiBeppe and Pizzeria Farina. DiBeppe / Facebook

It’s time to raise your glass in celebration of one of the world’s most beloved cocktails, as bars and restaurants mix things up for a good cause for the return of Negroni Week.

The elegant aperitif is traditionally made with one part gin, one part vermouth rosso, and one part Campari, and is garnished with orange peel.

However, for Negroni Week, participating venues offer up their own renditions, available to customers with proceeds going to a charity of choice. This year, Negroni Week will be celebrated from Sept. 13 through 19.

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Lounge in “Patiotown” for your summer stay-cation

Vancouver’s Gastown creates a safe, social outdoor oasis for the return of cocktail culture this summer. It makes perfect sense for the neighbourhood founded on the bar that helped build a city.

Supplied photo

Under some welcome umbrella shade on the Jules Bistro patio, live music wafts over from a nearby performer, the all-day-happy-hour Chambord kiss of French Martinis flow for $14, while cocktailians sip under vintage lamposts festooned with lush flower baskets. It almost feels like the “before times.”

As life slowly returns to normal this summer, Vancouver’s Gastown—the neighbourhood where the city started, and where our most famous bar ever was started by its namesake, nicknamed Gassy Jack (aka John Deighton) more than 150 years ago—has embraced pandemic conditions to enhance its reputation as patio central.

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Canada’s James Grant named Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year

Edmonton’s James Grant is 2021 World Class Bartender of the Year. Supplied photo

For the second time in only four years, a Canadian bartender has taken home the title of World Class Bartender of the Year.

After a gruelling four-day virtual final, Edmonton’s James Grant triumphed over his colleagues from 50 countries to win the world’s biggest and most prestigious cocktail competition, Diageo World Class.

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Pandemic possibilities

How B.C.’s government and hospitality industry embraced the new reality—and each other’s interests

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…You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a -changin’ —Bob Dylan.

If Covid-19 has yielded one major positive, it’s the way in which government and the hospitality industry now interact.

It’s improved. Considerably.

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The Alchemist Spring/Summer 2021

Photo courtesy of the
Fairmont Pacific Rim

After months and months of being cooped up at home, there’s one thing we know for sure: We’re going to be spending a lot more time outside this summer.

So in the Spring/Summer 2021 issue of the Alchemist, we celebrate the patio.

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Edmonton’s James Grant named Bartender of the Year 2021

Diageo World Class is back with a thrilling competition and big new plans

Former World Class Canada winners welcome the newest champion, Edmonton bartender
James Grant, to the group. From left: Shane Mulvany, Kaitlyn Stewart, Jeff Savage, James Grant, Grant Sceney and Chris Enns. Photos courtesy of World Class Canada

Michael Armistead thought organizing the 2019 World Class Canada finals in Whistler—where he had to transport all the bars, people and gear to the top of a mountain—was the hardest thing he’d ever do. Then along came COVID-19 and the 2021 finals in Toronto.

“Having done it, I know we can do anything now,” says Armistead, who oversees the Diageo World Class Canada Bartending Competition as National On Premise, Reserve and Sponsorship Manager. “With all of the external factors, this was the most complex event I have ever put together.”

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BC Distilled and Artisan Distilleries Partner for PADS Fundraiser

Proceeds from special bottles to benefit Pacific Assistance Dogs Society

Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) breeds, raises and trains fully certified assistance dogs for individuals with mobility and hearing disabilities and PTSD. Photo courtesy of PADS

BC Distilled—Canada’s largest spirits festival devoted exclusively to local artisan distilleries—remains on hiatus until 2022. But in the meantime, its organizers have partnered with five of the province’s top artisan distilleries to benefit a cause that has long been dear to their hearts.

Beginning Saturday, May 15, and for one month only, five limited-edition spirits will be made available exclusively from each participating distillery. $45 from each bottle sale will go directly to Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS), which breeds, raises and trains fully certified assistance dogs for individuals with mobility and hearing disabilities and PTSD.

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