Morning Ritual

Jeff Savage’s Morning Ritual. Tara Rafiq photo

Recipe by Jeff Savage, Head Bartender of Botanist Bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, for the Punch Brunch 2020. 

The Punch Brunch, held at Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim on January 26, was the official launch for the inaugural Vancouver Cocktail Week presented by The Alchemist magazine, which will be held March 7 to 10, 2021. For more cocktail recipes from the brunch, see: The Rye of the Tiger, Featherweight Punch Royale, A Bit Curious and Flapjack Punch.

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Shaking it up at Science of Cocktails

The fifth annual event was a whizz-bang success

Science of Cocktails, held February 6 at Science World, surpassed a cumulative milestone of $1.2 million raised for the Class Field Trip Bursary Program. Tara Rafiq photo

“This is just what we do,” says Trevor Kallies, president of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Bartender Association and the creative force behind one of Vancouver’s most dynamic cocktail events. “This” isn’t just making great drinks, although it’s that, too. Mostly, though, it’s coming together to help those who need it most.

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A Scotch like no other

As an independent bottler, Andrew Laing is “bringing something else to the party”—unique bottlings of rare whiskies and other spirits

Andrew Laing is the export director of Hunter Laing, one of Scotland’s finest independent bottlers. Supplied photo

Take an Islay journey with Andrew Laing.

The glass of Scotch he pours has a vegetal, almost mezcal-like scent, with whiffs of salty, mineral sea and fishy kelp and a distinctly ashy after taste. It’s a blended malt representing the vivid flavours of five of the finest distilleries what is perhaps the most coveted of Scotland’s whisky-producing regions. And it’s exactly the kind of exquisite, unique bottling in which his family’s company specializes.

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Bar Basics

What you need to know for making the recipes in The Alchemist.

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Essentials

Measurements: For the most part, our recipes are in imperial volume (fluid ounces, teaspoons and cups). We might occasionally use weight (for instance, an ounce of tea leaves for an infusion); in those cases, it will be noted.

Tools: The essentials are a cocktail shaker (cobbler or Boston), mixing glass, jigger, citrus juicer, Hawthorne and fine mesh strainers, muddler, bar spoon, sharp knife and vegetable peeler. Any special tools will be noted.

Glassware: You could fill your cupboards with different types of glassware, but you only really need three (aside from wine and beer): a stemmed “cocktail” glass, either the V-shaped martini or curved coupe; the short, stubby rocks or Old Fashioned; and the tall, narrow Collins.

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Bottled Up! with Dylan Zrobek

Dyaln Zrobek. Wild Hearts Collective photo

How does a new kid in town snag a job at one of Vancouver’s most reputable bars and win a respected bar competition in little more than a hot rotation around the sun? Dylan Zrobek, an Edmonton native, touched down in Vancouver in October 2018, and within a few weeks had secured work at the Keefer Bar, under the highly trained eyes of bar veterans Amber Bruce and Keenan Hood. Despite his relatively light experience, Amber said he had the right energy, and the willingness to work: “A lot of people want the glory without having to do the grind. He’s put in the work, and it shows. He keeps his cool, remains calm and humble.” And that steadfast nature clearly worked in his favour given he just brought home the 2020 Barate Kid Championship Belt, a bar competition that is focused on speed, agility, and quick thinking. If you haven’t seen him in action yet, you can catch Dylan working at the upcoming Keefer Bar 10-year anniversary party on February 10. Don’t miss out, the Keefer knows how to dish out a wild night.

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Island time

For the third year in a row a B.C. distillery has won the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year—and for the second time, it’s Sheringham Distillery on Vancouver Island.

Sheringham Distillery’s Kazuki Gin won 2020 Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year. Supplied photo

The best artisan spirit in Canada for 2020 is a Japanese-inspired gin, delicately flavoured with cherry blossom and yuzu, which was also awarded Best in Class spirit in the Contemporary Gin category. Though its name and inspiration may sound exotic, Kazuki Gin, made in Sooke on Vancouver Island, won Excellence in Terroir for its use of local ingredients that evoke a stylistic sense of place, like the only grown-in-Canada green tea (and green tea blossoms), from at the Island’s Westholme Tea Company. The hat trick of CASC awards this year joins a growing list of accolades for the Sooke distillery founded by Jason and Alayne MacIsaac, which also won Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year in 2018, for its Akvavit.

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Vancouver bar claims government seizure of $40K in whisky breached charter rights

Fets Whisky Kitchen on Commercial Drive was raided in January 2018

In January 2018, Fets Whisky Kitchen was raided by B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Photo Fets Whisky Kitchen/Facebook

The Vancouver bar taking the B.C. government to court in an effort to recover $40,000 in whisky seized in 2018 has launched further court action alleging the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch breached its charter rights.

In January 2018, Fets Whisky Kitchen, a mainstay on Commercial Drive since 1986, was raided by B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch — 242 bottles of Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) single malt whisky were seized, and owners Eric and Allura Fergie were eventually fined $3,000.

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Thrilling open-bar event with 30+ drink stations mixes cocktails and science

The Science of Cocktails pairs some of Vancouver’s most accomplished mixologists with the wow-factor of physics, chemistry, and biology for a night to remember

With over 30 stations pouring exciting drinks made by top Vancouver bartenders, Science of Cocktails 2020 promises to be another thrilling night of drinks and fun. Photo courtesy Science World

It’s one of the city’s most dazzling drinking events: The Science of Cocktails pairs some of Vancouver’s most accomplished mixologists with the wow-factor of physics, chemistry, and biology for an epic open bar night to remember.

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La Chispa

Bodega on Main’s La Chispa cocktail. Origami Social photo

• 1.5 oz Old Forester Bourbon
• 0.75 oz Pacharán
• 0.3 oz Mia Amata Amaro
• 0.3 oz Lustau East India Solera
• 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
• Ardbeg Mist
• Orange Oils, Star Anise

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Flapjack Punch

Amber Bruce’s Flapjack Punch. Tara Rafiq photo

Recipe created for the Punch Brunch 2020 by Amber Bruce, bar manager at The Keefer Bar in Vancouver.

The Punch Brunch, held at Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim on January 26, was the official launch for the inaugural Vancouver Cocktail Week presented by The Alchemist magazine, which will be held March 7 to 10, 2021. For more cocktail recipes from the brunch, see: The Rye of the Tiger, Featherweight Punch Royale, A Bit Curious and Morning Ritual.

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