Botanist stirs things up

With its own cocktail lab, this new bar is set to launch an era of innovation in Vancouver

Creative beverage director Grant Sceney with a Vancouver #2. Dan Toulgoet photo

Bored with the same old watering holes? Well, you’re in luck, because Botanist is getting ready to shake up Vancouver’s cocktail scene.

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Joy’s Cocktail

Joy’s Cocktail. Appleton Estate photo

This refreshing patio-sipper of a cocktail is created by Appleton Estate master blender Joy Spence.

• Slice of orange
• 1 oz (30 mL) Appleton Estate Reserve Blend
• 3 oz (90 mL) ginger ale
• 5 drops Angostura bitters
• Slice of orange peel to garnish

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From Jamaica to Vancouver

A visit from the queen of rum

Appleton Estate master blender Joy Spence with her masterpiece, the Joy Anniversary Blend rum. Appleton Estate photo

“When people taste it, the first word you hear is, ‘Whoa,’” says Joy Spence, smiling. I take a sip. “Whoa,” I exclaim. She laughs.

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B.C.’s spirits boom: sample the best in handcrafted hooch

BC Distilled festival an opportunity to sample everything from amaro to whisky, all made right here

A selection of gins and botanicals from Vancouver Island’s Ampersand Distilling, at the 2016 BC Distilled festival. BC Distilled photo

It’s hard to believe that just five years ago, British Columbia had fewer than 10 artisan distilleries. Today, the province has at least 40, with a whole bunch more in the works.

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On the town: Science of Cocktails

Local bartenders mixed it up for charity at the annual Science of Cocktails event.


Gez McAlpine’s Nitro Lady took inspiration from Scotland’s Botanist Gin. Lucy-kate Armstrong photo.
Ardbeg provided the peat in the Union’s Kristi Leigh Akister’s Islay Milk Punch. Lucy-kate Armstrong photo.
Jenner Cormier mixed up classic Martinis in the style of London’s Connaught Bar. Lucy-kate Armstrong photo.
World Class Canada 2016 winner Shane Mulvany embraced chemistry to make his nitro-fuelled cocktail. Lucy-kate Armstrong photo.

Mork from Ork

The Mork from Ork cocktail by Amber Bruce. Talia Kleinplatz photo.

Winner of the Giffard Iron Mixologist 2017

0.5 oz Giffard Banane du Brésil
1 oz genever
0.3 oz Odd Society Mia Amata Amaro
0.5 oz port
0.5 oz Spiced Mork Syrup (simple syrup spiced with cardamom)
1 whole egg
Nutmeg for garnish

Add all ingredients to a shaker and dry shake to emulsify egg. Add ice and shake again. Fine strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with grated nutmeg.

­—by Amber Bruce

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Shake Shack

Behind the scenes of competitive cocktails

Steady hands are needed when creating drinks for competitions. Talia Kleinplatz photo.

Nothing says Monday morning quite like arriving at a bar at 10.30 a.m. ready to drink all day. The scene at Main Street’s Cascade Room is organized chaos. Bartenders, usually never seen out before noon, are slugging coffee offered both straight up or spiked.

There are crates and boxes all over the place. Recognizable labels of Scotch, rye, mescal, Cognac and more jostle beside unlabelled bottles of homemade fat-washed and syrupy concoctions. This is clearly a serious affair.

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I Sat By The Ocean

The I Sat By The Ocean Cocktail by Jhol Spindler. Rebecca Wellman photo.

“I decided to embrace the salty, briny taste of this Manzanilla sherry and create a pickle juice Martini on steroids. The salt and pepper rim complements the sherry’s terroir near the ocean, and the peppery punch of the tequila, while the celery bitters and oils from the lemon peel keep it light and crisp.”


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Not Yo’ Granny’s Cobbler

The Not Yo’ Granny’s Cobbler cocktail by Keith Hoffman. Rebecca Wellman photo.

“A riff on Portugal’s national drink of choice — White Port and Tonic— that combines the flavours with those of Mexico in a housemade cordial.”

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