Divided by design

Stylish partitions go beyond Plexiglas

Stylish dividers add character while keeping guests safe at The Heatley. Photo courtesy of The Heatley

Plexiglas is so 2020.

With dividers now the norm in restaurants and bars, more places are getting creative with their pandemic shields. As long as partitions are “washable, rigid and impermeable” and measure at least 1.2 metres from the tabletop, pretty much anything goes.

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Edmonton’s James Grant named Bartender of the Year 2021

Diageo World Class is back with a thrilling competition and big new plans

Former World Class Canada winners welcome the newest champion, Edmonton bartender
James Grant, to the group. From left: Shane Mulvany, Kaitlyn Stewart, Jeff Savage, James Grant, Grant Sceney and Chris Enns. Photos courtesy of World Class Canada

Michael Armistead thought organizing the 2019 World Class Canada finals in Whistler—where he had to transport all the bars, people and gear to the top of a mountain—was the hardest thing he’d ever do. Then along came COVID-19 and the 2021 finals in Toronto.

“Having done it, I know we can do anything now,” says Armistead, who oversees the Diageo World Class Canada Bartending Competition as National On Premise, Reserve and Sponsorship Manager. “With all of the external factors, this was the most complex event I have ever put together.”

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BC Distilled and Artisan Distilleries Partner for PADS Fundraiser

Proceeds from special bottles to benefit Pacific Assistance Dogs Society

Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) breeds, raises and trains fully certified assistance dogs for individuals with mobility and hearing disabilities and PTSD. Photo courtesy of PADS

BC Distilled—Canada’s largest spirits festival devoted exclusively to local artisan distilleries—remains on hiatus until 2022. But in the meantime, its organizers have partnered with five of the province’s top artisan distilleries to benefit a cause that has long been dear to their hearts.

Beginning Saturday, May 15, and for one month only, five limited-edition spirits will be made available exclusively from each participating distillery. $45 from each bottle sale will go directly to Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS), which breeds, raises and trains fully certified assistance dogs for individuals with mobility and hearing disabilities and PTSD.

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Breaking Bread goes behind the plexi

St. Lawrence #3 by Luis Valdizon. Photo courtesy of Breaking Bread Now

The hospitality industry has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Now a new initiative is aiming to help those who’ve experienced employment setbacks due to COVID-19. Call it a photo finish to a brutal year.

The food service industry support hub Breaking Bread, in collaboration with restaurateur Brad Roark (Nook, Oddfish) has launched a photography fundraiser called “Beyond the Plexi” that will raise funds to directly help hospitality works whose careers have been affected by COVID-19.

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Sangue di tigre

Sangue Di Tigre by Sopra Sotto’s bar manager Daniel Dominguez. Origami Social photo

Recipe courtesy of bartender Daniel Dominguez, bar manager at Sopra Sotto. 

• 1 oz Siete Misterios mezcal (Doba Yej)
• 1 oz Aperol
• 0.75 oz lime juice
• 0.25 oz simple syrup
• Ginger beer
• Dash of crème de cassis

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If the spirit moves you

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

American whisky

Down in Tullahoma, Tennessee, master distiller Nicole Austin is shaking up the nearly 150-year-old George Dickel whiskey brand. One state north in Kentucky, although legendary Michter’s master distiller Pamela Heilmann retired in 2019, she passed the torch to master of maturation Andrea Wilson. At Woodford Reserve, Elizabeth McCall is the assistant master distiller, at Old Forester Jackie Zykan is master taster and Eboni Major is the master blender at Bulleit.

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Great world bars we love: The Aviary, Chicago

The Aviary’s cocktail kitchen. Joanne Sasvari photo

From the outside, it doesn’t look like much. An awning over a discreet door in a West Loop industrial neighbourhood is the only sign that some of the world’s most exciting cocktails await. But step inside The Aviary, and it’s all subtle opulence, not that you can really tell because it’s so moodily lit.

Besides, your eyes are mesmerized by the team of mixologists hard at work behind the barred windows of the cocktail kitchen, as if captured in a sort of gilded cage.

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5 drinks every home bartender should know how to make

Our editor’s essential cocktails

An Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail every home bartender should know how to make. Getty images photo

Now that we’re all spending so much more time at home, this is a good opportunity to brush up on our home-bartending skills. That means learning at least a few recipes to serve to the people in your bubble and, eventually, all the many friends you’re making on Zoom.

The most important drink you should know how to make is the one you like best. That’s also the best advice for stocking your liquor cabinet, though for your sake I hope it’s something simple, like a highball, rather than, say, a Ramos Gin Fizz, which requires egg whites, orange blossom water and a seltzer bottle, among other things.

After that, it’s best to start with classics. They are, after all, classics for a reason—they taste good, and they work—but they are also a good place to start experimenting if you want to get creative. Here are five drinks every home bartender should have in their repertoire.

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Champagne cocktail

A classic Champagne Cocktail. Getty Images photo

One of the world’s oldest cocktails, this dates back to the mid-1800s. This recipe is part of The Alchemist‘s series of cocktails you should know. 

• 1 sugar cube, preferably cane and brown
• 1 to 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• Splash of Cognac
• 3 oz Champagne or sparkling wine
• Garnish: lemon zest (optional)

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Bicicletta

A classic Bicicletta. Getty Images photo

The way the story goes, this mid-20th-century drink was named for the elderly Italian men who swerved all over the road while cycling home after drinking in the local café. This recipe is part of The Alchemist‘s series of cocktails you should know. 

• 2 oz Campari
• 1.5 to 2 oz dry white wine, preferably Italian
• Soda water
• Garnish: citrus slice (optional)

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