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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Pandemic possibilities

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

Getty Images photo

…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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.”

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Breaking Bread goes behind the plexi

St. Lawrence #3 by Luis Valdizon. Photo courtesy of Breaking Bread Now

The hospitality industry has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Now a new initiative is aiming to help those who’ve experienced employment setbacks due to COVID-19. Call it a photo finish to a brutal year.

The food service industry support hub Breaking Bread, in collaboration with restaurateur Brad Roark (Nook, Oddfish) has launched a photography fundraiser called “Beyond the Plexi” that will raise funds to directly help hospitality works whose careers have been affected by COVID-19.

Continue Reading

If the spirit moves you

Celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 by buying or drinking a woman-made spirit, such as these global brands that have women master blenders, distillers and more.

At Ron Zapaca in Guatemala, master blender Lorena Vasquez is credited for pioneering the a “solera” aging method in rum. Photo courtesy of Ron Zacapa

American whisky

Down in Tullahoma, Tennessee, master distiller Nicole Austin is shaking up the nearly 150-year-old George Dickel whiskey brand. One state north in Kentucky, although legendary Michter’s master distiller Pamela Heilmann retired in 2019, she passed the torch to master of maturation Andrea Wilson. At Woodford Reserve, Elizabeth McCall is the assistant master distiller, at Old Forester Jackie Zykan is master taster and Eboni Major is the master blender at Bulleit.

Continue Reading

Four’s the charm: Results of the 2021 Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition

For the fourth year in a row, a B.C. craft spirit has won the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition: raise a toast to Vancouver Island’s Ampersand Distilling, makers of Nocino!

Ampersand Distilling Company’s Nocino! is the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the year for 2021. Supplied photo

The Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year is the Nocino! from Ampersand Distilling Company on Vancouver Island. Founded by the Schacht clan, Ampersand operates from a Duncan-area farm, using stills that were designed and built by father and son Stephen and Jeremy; Jessica Schact is instrumental in product development; and Ramona Froehle-Schact manages the farm and more—a true family affair.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 19