First Ever Craft BC Whisky Weekend comes to Victoria and Vancouver

The Craft BC Whisky Weekend was held October 29 and 30 in Victoria and Vancouver. Supplied photo

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.

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Setting the stage

At Published on Main, Dylan Riches performs cocktail theatre 

At Published on Main, Dylan Riches pushes boundaries with his creative cocktails. Sarah Annand photo

Ask Dylan Riches to trace his journey from the wilds of Prince George to bar manager at East Vancouver’s celebrated Published on Main, and he’ll ultimately suggest that he’s simply swapped one stage for another. 

“One of the things I love most about this industry is that the path is not the same for every single person,” Riches says at the award-winning restaurant. “I love talking to people in the industry, getting to know them, hearing about where they come from. Every person’s path has a different turn or twist.”

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A rose by another name

A Rose By Another Name as served at the Vancouver Cocktail Week 2023 launch party. Canadian Cake Hospitality photo

An opulent, dense, spirit-forward cocktail

• 1 oz CAMPARI

• 1 oz Scotch Whiskey

• 0.75 oz Tawny Port

• 0.5 oz Peated Islay Scotch

• 2 heavy dashes Rose Water

• 1 Drop of Cardamom Bitters

• 1 Drop of Aromatic Leaf Bitters (or Cigar Bitters)*

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Cocktails with true grit

The late, great actor John Wayne was often quoted as saying that if he was going to have a drink, “It had better be a good one.” Well, there are plenty of those in John Wayne: The Official Cocktail Book by André Darlington (Insight Editions). The book features more than 70 cocktail recipes, inspired by the Duke’s most famous characters, such as Rooster Cogburn and Davy Crockett. “My dad appreciated a well-made cocktail, and this book offers readers tips and recipes to create some very beautiful drinks,” says his son Ethan Wayne, president of John Wayne Enterprises. So saddle up, pardner, and enjoy this spirited gallop down memory lane. 

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A World Class Partnership

Hot off another Top 5 win for Canada, the competition teams up with Vancouver Cocktail Week

Previous World Class Canada winners congratulate Massimo Zitti (centre, in the purple shirt), the latest national Bartender of the Year, who placed fifth at the global final. Photos courtesy of World Class Canada

Last month, at the global finals of the Diageo World Class competition in Sydney, Australia, all eyes were on Toronto’s Massimo Zitti. The action was riveting. 

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Another round: Vancouver Cocktail Week back for 2023!

Launch party offers a sneak peek of what to expect next March at the second annual event

The Godfather cocktail, made with The Busker Irish Whiskey and Disaronno Amaretto. Canadian Cake Hospitality photo

We’ll take any excuse for a party. Then again, the launch of the second annual Vancouver Cocktail Week presented by The Alchemist isn’t just any excuse—it’s a full-on celebration of the city’s exceptional drinks culture.

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Loving the nightlife at Bar Convent Berlin

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.

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Vancouver Cocktail Week, Round 2

James Grant pours his winning Pathfinder cocktail at the Vancouver Cocktail Week Fun City Gala in March 2022. Jana Bizzarri photo

Hosting Vancouver’s first-ever cocktail week back in March, just as we were coming out of pandemic restrictions, was definitely a leap of faith. But we quickly learned that Vancouverites were thirsty for good cocktails, especially when they could enjoy them with each other. 

Now Vancouver Cocktail Week presented by The Alchemist is coming back for a second round March 5 to 11, 2023—and it’ll be even bigger.  

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Ungava Margarita

Supplied photo

The wild Arctic botanicals in Ungava Gin add unique colour and flavour to this spooky big-batch cocktail.

• 5 oz Ungava Gin

• 3.75 tequila or mezcal 

• 2.5 oz orange liqueur

• 4 oz lime juice 

• 1 oz agave syrup

• Garnish: Fresh mint, lime slices (fresh or dried)

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