El Boujee

El Boujee, created by Bodega on Main’s Junior Alexander. Dan Toulgoet photo

• 1.5 oz Toasted Coconut Fat Washed Flor de Caña 4
• 1 oz Bumbu Caribbean Rum
• 1 oz Lime Juice
• 0.5oz Simple Syrup

Shake, serve neat in a coupe.

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It’s G&T time

The Alchemist’s tasting panel searches for the best B.C. gin to enjoy with your tonic

The G&T is a warm-weather classic. But which B.C. gin is the best choice?

Now that spring has finally sprung, we’re craving lighter sprits and fresher flavours. In other words, we’re craving gin, especially when it’s mixed with tonic water.

Our tasting panel comprising some of Vancouver’s top bartenders—Max Borrowman of Juniper Kitchen & Bar; Amber Bruce of The Keefer Bar; J-S Dupuis of Wentworth Hospitality (Tableau Bar Bistro, Homer St. Café); and Josh Pape of Gooseneck Hospitality (Wildebeest, Bells and Whistles, Bufala, Lucky Taco)—sampled nine B.C. artisanal gins, suggested the best cocktails to make with them, and then mixed them with tonic water to determine which worked best.

Here’s what they had to say.

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Farm to Flask

Artisan distilling started a conversation about the terroir of spirits. But can you taste those uber-local ingredients in the bottle?

On the drive up to Saanichton from Victoria, hand-lettered signs for honey and free-range eggs compete with honour-system farm stands exchanging wildflowers, produce or jam for money stuffed in a can. When I arrive on an oceanside hilltop, Ken Winchester points out 25 acres of certified organic vineyards, maple and fruit trees and, farther in the distance, barley being farmed to his specs before it’s malted at Phillips Brewery in Victoria. “I’m also a beekeeper, among other things,” says the deVine winemaker and Bruichladdich-trained distiller, gesturing to the hives. He’s more than that: he’s a farm-to-flask disciple.

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Vancouver’s Chris Enns named Diageo World Class Canada Bartender of 2018

Botanist bartender Chris Enns, Diageo World Class Canada Bartender of the Year. Photo courtesy of Diageo World Class Canada

The Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Christopher Enns has become the fourth Vancouver bartender to win the prestigious Diageo World Class Canada competition since this country joined the global fray in 2013.

He now heads to Berlin, Germany, to represent Canada at the World Class Global Final Oct. 4 to 8, 2018.

Expectations will be even higher than usual. Not only is this the 10th anniversary of the biggest and most important cocktail competition on the planet, but another Vancouverite, Kaitlyn Stewart of Royal Dinette, won the global title last year, vanquishing 10,000 bartenders from 57 countries to do so.

So, you know, no pressure.

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Pip-pip for Pimm’s

The traditional British cocktail to serve at your next garden party or royal wedding do

Istock photo.

The first time I had Pimm’s Cup, I was in the Costwolds, visiting friends of friends, and I was baffled. Why, I wondered, were these nice strangers handing me what appeared to be a glass filled with fruit salad and cola?

Little did I know that Pimm’s is a grand British tradition like double decker buses, cream teas and cricket whites. And as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle head to the altar on May 19 for the first of this year’s two royal weddings (the other is Princess Eugenie’s nuptials on Oct. 12), it seemed like a good time to revisit this classic English cocktail.

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Pimm’s Cup

Justin Taylor’s version of the classic Pimm’s Cup. Jennifer Gauthier photo.

At The Cascade Room, manager and bartender Justin Taylor makes this vibrant version of Pimm’s Cup with added zing from ginger beer rather than traditional sparkling lemonade. You could also use Sprite or ginger ale if you prefer.

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Rule Britannia!

These British cocktails are worthy of a royal celebration

Istock photo

Wedding bells will be ringing this spring at Windsor Castle and you are going to need some cocktails to celebrate, too. With this as inspiration, let’s take a glance at some iconic British tipples and learn how to make them.

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Gins & Roses

Justin Taylor’s Gins & Roses. Jennifer Gauthier photo

This British-inspired cocktail was created in 2017 by Justin Taylor, in Vancouver.

• 1 oz Odd Society Wallflower Gin
• 1 oz sloe gin
• 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
• 0.25 oz honey syrup (see note)
• 0.75 oz pasteurized egg whites
• 3 dashes Bittered Sling Kensington Bitters
• 3 drops rose water

Chill a coupe glass with ice. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Fine strain cocktail into the chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with dehydrated rose petals. Serves 1.

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Bramble

Bramble. Jennifer Gauthier photo

This classic cocktail was created in 1984 by Dick Bradsell, in London. 

• 1.5 oz London Dry gin
• 0.75 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
• 0.5 oz simple syrup (see note)
• 0.5 oz Okanagan Spirits Blackberry Liqueur

Combine gin, lemon and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain over fresh ice in a double old-fashioned glass. Cap cocktail with crushed ice. Drizzle blackberry liqueur over the top of the cocktail. Garnish with fresh organic blackberries. Serves 1.

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Corpse Reviver #2

Corpse Reviver #2. Jennifer Gauthier photo

This classic cocktail was created by Harry Craddock, 1930, in London.

• 1 oz gin
• 1 oz Cointreau
• 1 oz Cocchi Americano
• 1 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
• 1 dash Taboo Absinthe

Chill a Nick & Nora glass with ice. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Fine strain cocktail into the chilled cocktail glass. Serves 1.

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