Choose A Woman-Made, Woman-Led Spirit Day

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
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Though countless women contribute to the vibrant local, national and international distilling industry, for International Women’s Day each year we give a nod to some of the trailblazers in top production, management and ownership positions at distilleries.

For a fresh perspective on the hidden history of women in spirits and cocktail, we highly recommend the recently released book Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol by Mallory O’Meara.

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Sip and help Ukraine

At The Alchemist, we’ve watched the humanitarian crisis unfold in Ukraine with heartbreak and horror, and like many of you, have felt the urge to help in any way we can. As it turns out, some of our favourite distillers and bartenders are way ahead of us.

Odd Society Spirits is donating 20 per cent of its East Van Vodka proceeds to World Central Kitchen to help their humanitarian efforts for Ukraine. Odd Society Spirits photo

Odd Society Spirits

Odd Society Spirits is donating 20 per cent of its East Van Vodka proceeds to World Central Kitchen to help their humanitarian efforts for Ukraine.
World Central Kitchen is first to the frontlines, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises. They build resilient food systems with locally led solutions and are currently serving thousands of fresh meals to Ukrainian families fleeing home as well as those who remain in the country.
The team at Odd Society Spirits has seen an uptick in sales of their vodka since the BCLDB pulled all Russian products from BC liquor stores, and they want to use those funds to support refugees fleeing Ukraine.
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Give Us Five

A B.C. spirit comes out on top for the fifth consecutive year in the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition: cheers to DEVINE Distillery’s Ancient Grains, also the Best in Class Young Whisky.

DEVINE Distillery’s Ancient Grains is CASC Spirit of the Year. Photo courtesy of Artisan Distillers Canada

The grains may be ancient, but a globally unique, made-in-B.C. whisky is making modern history: Ancient Grains from DEVINE Distillery in Saanich is the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year 2022.

The top-scoring spirit across every category of the national competition, Ancient Grains is also the Best in Class Young Whisky for the third time (so classified because it matures for less than three years, which is the minimum requirement for labelling as “Canadian Whisky”). The whisky was originally created by master distiller Ken Winchester in 2017, using B.C.-grown heritage barley, einkorn, emmer, spelt and kamut, and matured in smaller quarter-casks.

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London Calling

An on-trend bar crawl during World’s 50 Best Bars week recaps some top watering holes of the year, and what leading bartenders are mixing up for the coming year.

The legendary martini cart at The Connaught Bar. Charlene Rooke photo

Pandemic be damned, I went to London for the World’s 50 Best Bars event in December 2021. Here’s a curated crawl of award winners, bars to watch and insider hangouts that hints at what the bar world might deliver in 2022.

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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

Getty images photo

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.

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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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