If the Vancouver bartender sees a new technique or tries a drink that captures her interest, she wants to know how it works. “I’m like a sponge, I’m always trying to soak it up,” she tells V.I.A over the phone.
She believes constantly learning is a testament to being a good bartender or even chef. It’s also likely one of the traits that earned her the title Bartender of the Year at the World Class Competition in 2017.
Over the past decade British Columbia has become the focal point for craft distilleries within Canada. Prior to 2013, there were only a handful of distilleries in operation in the province. However, once the Provincial Government established new regulations around “commercial” and “craft” distilleries, exempting “craft” distillers from the more than 160 percent markup the province applies to all other B.C. spirit makers, there has been an enormous boom. Today, there are close to 100 distilleries in operation.
Guest shifts and cool cocktails at some of the city’s best bars
Bar Convent Berlin is Europe’s top bar and beverage sector expo, attracting some 12,000 visitors each year. But when the BCB exhibition halls close for the day, the party is just getting started as top international bartenders join local cocktail bars for guest shifts and spirits brands host popups around the city. The Alchemist publisher Gail Nugent was at the most recent BCB in October and captured these snapshots of the nightlife. The next BCB will be held October 9 to 11, 2023, barconvent.com.
The inaugural Michelin Guide Vancouver gave eight local chefs the coveted white jacket—but also acknowledged some local bar stars.
Michelin restaurant inspectors look for high-quality ingredients, personality of the creators on the plate, plus a harmony of flavours and mastery of technique—all consistent over multiple visits. The same ingredients go into a Michelin-quality bar, as Vancouver discovered on October 27 as the Michelin Guide granted world-class honours in the city for the first time.
In a happy coincidence, the host city for The World’s 50 Best Bars 2022 is also home to The World’s Best Bar, Paradiso—and two more bars in the top 10. From the Western Canadian Academy Chair for the awards, here’s the rundown on some of this year’s other big winners.
“If you build it, they will come” could have been the tagline for the 10th anniversary of The World’s 50 Best Bars awards ceremony, held in Barcelona on October 4. It has been a buzzy cocktail destination for the last several years—and particularly during the pandemic, when Spain remained relatively open to tourists. Building on that strong foundation, the city has scored bragging rights for The World’s Best Bar of 2022: Paradiso. Also placing in the top 10 were the city’s beloved Two Schmucks (#7) and Sips (which had the most impressive rise from last year’s list, up 34 places this year to #3).
The Naramata Inn’s basement wine and cocktail bar commemorates the town’s original hostess with the most, Eliza Robinson.
In summer, the restaurant veranda of the Naramata Inn is the place to be, with its graceful plates, shady corners and attentive service. Come fall, a cozy alternative returns: the downstairs wine bar and sunny stone patio that also features the Inn’s uber-local B.C. craft cocktails. A glass of some of the region’s most-wanted wines or a cocktail that captures seasonal flavour (like Give Peas a Chance, ah herbaceous pea-shoot-infused drink inspired by the Last Word) is enough to make the stone-floored, wine-cellar styled room feel as warm as Okanagan summer.
Lauren Mote honoured with Spirited Award for mentorship at Tales of the Cocktail
To Vancouverites, Lauren Mote may be best known as the co-founder of Bittered Sling Bitters and, for a while at least, a vibrant presence behind some of the city’s best bars. But worldwide she is renowned for her work as a mentor, educator and driving force for a better, more inclusive cocktail world.
Now all her hard work and passion has been recognized by her peers at the annual Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. On July 28, at the 16th Annual Spirited Awards, Mote was named Best International Bar Mentor.