Whisky Galore!

B.C.’s fledgling industry prepares for a bright future

Whisky is set to be the next boom in B.C. spirits. Thinkstock photo.

After just five years in business, British Columbia’s distillers have already confronted some mighty challenges. For one, it takes years of practice to make a quality product. Plus, craft liquor is expensive—not only for consumers at the till but for makers at the still.

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Urban Legend

How one Okanagan man’s hobby became a serious business

Urban Distilleries photo.

Mike Urban had a booze habit. Making it, that is. After tinkering with homemade beer and wine, he felt that the next logical step could be distilling.

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The Cocktail Concierge

Justin Taylor has created a series of drinks designed to celebrate Vancouver

Lou Lou Childs photo.

For bar manager Justin Taylor, a cocktail list should be, “fun, approachable, and unpretentious.”

After seven years at Yew Restaurant in the Four Seasons, Taylor took a short hop across town to take charge of the bar at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in the Sutton Place Hotel—jumping at the chance to build a drinks program from the ground up.

Putting together his signature list, Taylor decided to tell the story of Vancouver through cocktails: from the Lost Lagoon to the Van Dusen Sour, his creations are designed to take his customers on a journey.

“I’m like another concierge in the hotel,” he smiles. “And the conversation around the bar becomes organic. It’s a great way to introduce guests to what the city has to offer, and hopefully entice them to try something new. ”

For him, a new cocktail begins with a good name: “It’s always the name first—does it make sense? Then I hit on the spirit, and from there I build the rest of the components.”

He’s most proud of the Gerard—named after the Sutton Place’s iconic bar—called one of the 101 best new cocktails by world-renowned authority, Gary Regan. With an Islay Scotch base, the Gerard also boasts maraschino liqueur, Fernet-Branca and cherry bitters.

“It was challenging to build,” Taylor admits. “It’s hard to mix Islay whisky because the smokiness is so deep and strong.”

They may offer a way in to the city’s streets, but these are hardly pedestrian drinks: the Chief Skugaid—named for an infamous rum ship that ran out of Vancouver—utilizes forest tea tincture and chai and lavender-infused maple syrup; the savoury Chinook features dill, celery bitters and a toasted caper garnish.

Taylor’s dream is to take his list on the road.

“Imagine if we rented a trolley bus and mixed and served the cocktails as we hit each destination,” he grins. “Now, that would be cool.”


THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY:
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
845 Burrard Street, Vancouver • 604-642.2900
BoulevardVancouver.ca

Delta Rising

At G&W Distilling, Stephen Goodridge has big plans

Stephen Goodridge. Lou Lou Childs photo.

Stephen Goodridge built G&W Distilling’s Delta-based distillery himself. From scratch.

“I’m a mechanical engineer by training. I wanted to do it myself,” he says, as if nothing could be easier.

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Room at the top

Bar manager Peter Van de Reep seeks out spirits that are a cut above

“Upstairs” at Campagnolo bar manager Peter Van de Reep. Lou Lou Childs photo.

At “Upstairs” at Campagnolo, the intimate restaurant and bar above Campagnolo’s Main Street location, you don’t have to reach for the top shelf to find a choice selection of spirits.

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Spirited Away

B.C.’s oldest craft distillery has made an international impact.

Contributed photo.

At the grand old age of 11, Okanagan Spirits is the oldest craft distillery in the province. That may make it a relative newbie on the international scene, but it hasn’t stopped the world from paying it serious attention.

Since its inception in 2004, the family-owned and operated Okanagan business has twice been named Distillery of the Year at the annual World Spirits Awards, and two years ago became the first and only one of its kind in North America to be given a “world class” rating.

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Setting the bar

Yacine Sylla brings a splash of European flair to a Vancouver favourite.

Lou Lou Childs photo.

Cocktails have always been serious business at Chambar. The trend-setting French/North African restaurant burst onto the Vancouver scene just over a decade ago, and has been leading the pack ever since.

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Gin Tonic

Long Table, Vancouver’s original micro distillery, is fuelled by passion.

Lou Lou Childs photo

Charles Tremewen loves gin. So much so, he hocked his house to start making it himself. He launched Vancouver’s first micro distillery, Long Table, in February 2013, and hasn’t looked back.

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Mix Master

Trevor Kallies finds inspiration in the international cocktail community

Lou Lou Childs photo

 

Leading the beverage program at the Donnelly Group keeps Trevor Kallies on his toes.

With responsibility for lists across the group’s pubs, cocktail taverns and nightclubs, his 15 years of experience behind the bar—10 as a serious cocktail contender—are invaluable.

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Culture Club

Talented bartenders have put Vancouver’s cocktail scene on the world map.

Wendy McGuinness says local spirits must earn their place on her back bar. Fred Fung photo.

In the mood for a Sazerac? How about a Negroni punch bowl mixed with local gin and vermouth, or a playful spin on Arctic Ungava with a dash of citric acid and spritz of Laphroaig perfume? Whatever your poison, it can be found in Vancouver, home to one of the most vibrant cocktail scenes in North America.

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