Yummy umami: Global savoury spirits to try

Look for these savoury spirits on your travels

Inspired by the wild and salty Norfolk coast, Bullard’s Coastal Gin is handcrafted using foraged ingredients like marsh samphire and Douglas fir pine needles. Facebook.com/bullardsgin photo

If you like seaweed-kissed Sheringham Seaside and Isle of Harris gins, try maritime-inspired U.K. bottles like Bullard’s Coastal Gin, Fishers Gin, Da Mhile Organic Seaweed Gin and Mermaid Salt Vodka, as well as North Vancouver’s Copperpenny Gin No. 006 Oyster Shell (a collaboration with Fanny Bay Oysters).

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Funky town

Savoury notes are nudging fruit and flowers over on the craft spirits bar, in favour of umami flavours like mushrooms, seaweed, smoke—and even sheep dung

The rich, earthy, umami notes of mushrooms—like these wild ones foraged near Campbell River—are infusing the spirits world. Getty Images photo

Mushrooms first lit up my brain in 2017, when I tried Candy Cap Magic, a Botanist Bar cocktail that matched the fungi’s maple syrup and spice notes perfectly with rye. Then, in 2019, Sheringham Seaside was named the world’s best contemporary gin on the wings of its sustainable kelp note. After sipping 72 Tomates-kissed Tomato Martinis last summer at hip New York bars, it hit me: the savoury spirits revolution has arrived.

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‘After 14 years of last calls’ this iconic Gastown cocktail bar is closing

The bar has welcomed over 2 million guests since opening.

The Diamond, a Vancouver cocktail culture staple is closing after 14 years in business. @thediamondgastown/Instragram

In a heartfelt and reflective Instagram post, The Diamond, one of Vancouver’s most well-loved cocktail bars, announced that it is closing.

“After 14 years of last calls, we’ve finally reached ours,” reads the post.

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Where to drink right now in Portland

One of the Pacific Northwest’s great drinking cities is popping with new bars and wild cocktails, from the mustard-licked to slushified—plus … disco balls!

Getty Images photo

Old Portland favourites and on-point new bars are rocking some Canadian-friendly values, and prices (drinks from USD$12-16 are typical, but no tax!). Because Oregon bars must serve food, delicious bites from bar snacks to elevated meals complement your cocktails. Always on the cutting edge of alternative, plenty of Portland places feature mocktails as refreshing and inventive as their boozy siblings, too.

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Cocktail-focused, upscale bar lounge to open in Vancouver this month

“We’re trying to do something a little bit different,” says the owner.

Currently under renovation, The Watson, an upscale bar lounge, is set to open near the end of July 2023, at 3080 Main Street next to the recently-opened burger joint Street Hawker. Maria Diment/Vancouver Is Awesome photo

A new cocktail-focused bar lounge is getting ready to open in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

Nestled in the perfect middle between casual and fine dining, The Watson will bring a refreshing, upscale element to Main Street – something that Michael Gayman, who owns the wine and charcuterie bar Bartholomew in Yaletown, feels has been missing in the area for some time.

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Turn up the heat

Homemade chili syrup and liqueur add sizzle to summer cocktails

Before you get started, assemble your ingredients, including fresh peppers such as habaneros, serranoes and jalapeños. Photos by Matthew Benevoli

Just like summer, Home Bar is bringing the heat! Spicy drinks aren’t new, but have recently experienced a popularity boom, whether the heat comes from hot sauce, fresh jalapeños or spicy spirits. 

We’ll be making something more dynamic and versatile than just popping jalapeños into a bottle of tequila. Chili liqueur allows for balanced, nuanced flavours, can be added or substituted into drinks, and can be as fiery as desired. Or, if you prefer, you can make a chili syrup for all your zero-proof drinks.

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You can sip infused spirits and cocktails on tap in an old auto repair shop

Take a peek inside the brand new cocktail and snack bar in Vancouver

Infused spirits made in-house are at the core of the menu at Please! Beverage Co’s brand-new tasting room and production facility in Mount Pleasant. Photos by Lindsay William-Ross/V.I.A.

When you think bottled or canned cocktails—those commercially-produced beverages known in industry shorthand as “RTD” for “ready to drink”—you might conjure up the same imagery as Vancouver’s Please! Beverage Co.’s founder, Noel Steen: shotgunning a can on a boat.

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Three cool reads for hot days

The Ice Book: Cool Cubes, Clear Spheres, and Other Chill Cocktail Crafts by Camper English

As you’re sweltering under yet another heat dome, let this renowned expert in all things cocktail cool you down with his treatise on the unsung hero of every drink. This handy guide offers everything you need to know about directional freezing, carving ice into diamonds, embedding it with garnishes and dozens of other frosty projects.


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