VCW Seminars

These educational events feature a combination of sessions for industry and consumers.

Canadian Cake Hospitality photo

There is serious education and training that goes into every cocktail. Learn about spirits, their history, cocktail techniques and more from some of Canada’s greatest experts in the field. Note that some seminars are designed for industry professionals only, while others are open to everyone.

Check back often as more events will be added in the coming weeks. 

Sunday, March 5

The Impossible to Tell (Mostly) True History of Citrus

Copperpenny Distilling Co.
103 – 288 East Esplanade
7 pm

Citrus is an indispensable component of craft bartending. Imbibe five distinct cocktails as you discover everything you need to know about citrus fruits, their uses and great stories of the evolution of cocktail culture from acclaimed bartenders Tarquin Melnyk and Robyn Gray. A must-attend event for cocktail enthusiast and professional bartenders alike, set in the stunning space of North Vancouver’s Copperpenny Distilling Co.

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Monday, March 6

VIP Negroni Experience

Homer St. Café and Bar
898 Homer Street
2 to 3 pm – SOLD OUT

Join us for a Campari master class with bar manager Andrew MacDonald and beverage director JS Dupuis. You will receive a Campari cocktail kit including mixing glass, jigger, bar spoon, strainer and peeler in a Homer St Cafe & Bar tote bag, enjoy canapés and a get a ticket to Homer Street Cafe’s Campari Negroni Hour (2:30 to 5:30 pm). Places are limited, book your tickets fast.

Classic Cocktail Master Class and Workshop

Mount Pleasant Vintage & Provisions
67 West 6th Avenue
3 to 4 pm – SOLD OUT

Learn the classic cocktail serves and about what’s #trending from Diageo World Class bartenders.

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Flavours of the World with Whitley Neill Gin

The 515 Bar
521 Seymour Street
5 to 7 pm

Join Whitley Neill Gin global brand ambassador Jack Stevenson for a flavour adventure.

Sit back and relax with four delicious cocktails and bites specially curated by The 515 Bar.

From the history of gin, the effect of botanicals and finding the perfect balance to learning what makes a really great cocktail, Jack will be sharing all.

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Tuesday, March 7

Aperitivo Hour with Priya Shah

Ballyhoo Public House
888 Burrard Street
1 to 3 pm

Join us at The Ballyhoo as we welcome Priya Shah of Campari Group to discuss the rich history of the Apertivo & Amari. Topics of discussion will include a highlight of current cocktail and industry trends, cocktail culture as a whole and of course the best uses of the world’s most notable red bitter: Campari. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from one of Canada’s foremost experts on the category while enjoying light snacks and bitter cocktails featuring Campari & Aperol. Practice your negroni making skills with a cocktail development and take home your very own Campari bar kit.

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Coffee Cocktails Master Class

Their There
2042 West 4th Avenue
5 to 8 pm – SOLD OUT

Led by Diageo World Class bartenders, learn how to make and enjoy delicious coffee cocktails using Ketel One vodka, Roe & Co Irish whiskey and Don Julio tequila while you indulge in Their There’s famous Mochi donuts.

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Nikka Whisky Master Class

Taste of Legacy
1627 Manitoba Street
6 to 8 pm – This event is almost SOLD OUT

When Aeneas Coffey invented the Coffey Column Still in 1831, it was a revolutionary distillation process which improved the purity of the spirit and cut costs to the product. Nikka’s Coffey-type  column stills are among the last few remaining “older style” column stills in the world. They are renowned for the unique character they impart to the distilled spirit. Join us this evening as we talk all things Coffey while sampling a selection of new make spirits and compare conventional column still distillate to Coffey Still. Featured is the Nikka Coffey Spirit range, which will be showcased throughout this year’s Vancouver Cocktail Week. A small food pairing will be provided to taste with each spirit.

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Wednesday, March 8

The History of Gin through a Cocktail Lens Presented by Simon Ford

Mount Pleasant Vintage & Provisions
67 West 6th Avenue
2 to 4 pm

Arguably, more classic cocktails around the world call for gin than any other category of spirits: the Martini (U.S), Tom Collins (UK), Negroni (Italy), Pegu Club (Burma, now Myanmar), Singapore Sling (Singapore), to name a few. Gin and cocktails have been close bedfellows throughout history.

This seminar is dedicated to sharing stories of those enduring classics and making a case that gin is the quintessential cocktail spirit. Join the founder of Fords Gin Simon Ford on a talk and taste through the classic gin drinks that helped make gin become an internationally known category of spirits.

Seminar includes cocktail tastings.

No & Low Alcohol Cocktails & Canapés

Botanist Restaurant
1038 Canada Place
3 to 5 pm – SOLD OUT

Led by Diageo World Class bartenders, learn how to make tasty no- and low-alcohol cocktails at home with Seedlip and Ketel One Botanicals while you enjoy some canapés.

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Women and Spirits

Taste of Legacy
1627 Manitoba Street
7 to 9 pm – SOLD OUT

Join us on International Women’s Day for 3 fantastic cocktails created by 3 leading women in the industry. A complete array of flavours and unique ideas made from Ketel One Vodka, Ron Zacapa Rum, and Johnnie Walker Scotch, paired with a selection of after dinner cheese and charcuterie.

Voula Delinis has been working in the spirits industry for seventeen years, nine of those with Diageo brands.  She is passionate about women in the industry, from their roles in historic distilleries to their influence in today’s bars, distilleries, and clubs. 

Frédérique Leblanc, brand ambassador for Diageo’s Reserve products in Montreal, is passionate about spirits and particularly whiskies. She has worked in cocktail bars across Canada for many years before focusing on her main passion: the products, their production process, and their history. 

Samia Sharnobi is an experienced brand ambassador having worked with Quebec distilleries and on Scotch whisky portfolios before joining the Diageo Reserve team.  In Samia’s words, “Let your passion lead you to your craft.”  Having always had an attraction for whiskey, it was by the smell that her curiosity was piqued, and her enthusiasm grew for the world of spirits but especially for its fascinating stories and culture.

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Waterford: Terroir in Whisky

The Diamond
6 Powell Street
3:30 to 5 pm – This event is almost SOLD OUT

You’ve heard about terroir in winemaking, right? Well, what about in whisky? Come join Dr. Dustin Herb to learn and taste the influence of terroir on single malt whisky, opening our minds to the new frontiers of natural flavour. Influenced by the world’s greatest winemakers, Waterford Irish Whisky obsessively brings the same intellectual drive, methodology and rigour to barley.

The tasting includes 6 whisky samples and a small cheese plate.

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Thursday, March 9

Cocktail bitters: Why a little bit can go a long way, featuring Scrappy’s Bitters

Legacy Liquor Store
1633 Manitoba Street
7 to 8:30 pm – This event is almost SOLD OUT

VCW is excited to welcome Brand Ambassador Ben Sheffield and the entire team from Scrappy’s Bitters to Vancouver for a unique cocktail bitters masterclass designed to educate drinks enthusiasts how to better utilize cocktail bitters in their libations. Founded in Seattle by Miles Thomas in 2008, Scrappy’s is now a mainstay product that you can find behind any serious cocktail bar around the world. This seminar will walk attendees through some of Scrappy’s proprietary methods and explore how different botanicals (fresh vs. dry) can yield such drastically different results in cocktails. Using a variety of bitters flavours, we’ll use our VCW partner brand Fords Gin to create a comparative cocktail tasting, as well as take a deep dive into the history of the category and the science behind why just a little bit can go such a long way. Tickets include cocktail tasting and a Scrappy’s mini to take away.

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Friday, March 10

Shawn Soole presents Cognac, sponsored by Hine

The Vancouver Club
915 West Hastings St
12 to 2 pm – SOLD OUT

Delve into the world of Cognac at this in-depth master class. Shawn Soole will take you through a series of Cognacs including the rare Domaines Hine Bonneuil 2008 and two different XOs. It’s an opportunity not to be missed.

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Chinese Dumpling Master Class with Johnnie Walker cocktails

Propaganda Coffee
209 East Pender Street
5:30 to 7:30pm – This event is almost SOLD OUT

Dumplings are not just one of the best-loved foods in China and around the world, they also symbolize good fortune and wealth. Judy, also known as the dumpling diva, passes on this Chinese tradition through her dumpling-making masterclass that has been featured by CityTV, WhereTraveler and Airbnb. This will be a hands-on experience. We’ll discuss what makes a good filling, prep the ingredients (local, organic and free range), fold the wrappers, cook the dumplings and then, of course, we’ll eat them. While learning to be a dumpling-making master, you will enjoy well-crafted Johnnie Walker cocktails. By the end of the three-hour experience, you’ll be an expert!

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What makes a luxury rum sustainable: an exploration of luxury rums by Flor de Caña

Legacy Liquor Store
1633 Manitoba Street
7 to 8:30 pm

Brand ambassador Chris Mosey will talk about the history of Flor de Caña, its production and its impact. A small food pairing will be offered to taste with each rum.

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Saturday, March 11

Taste the ‘Spirit of Aloha’ with Koloa Rum *NEW*

Taste of Legacy
1637 Manitoba Street
1:30 to 3 pm – This event is almost SOLD OUT

An unforgettable rum tasting experience with Koloa Rum of Kaua’i, Hawai’i. You are welcome to join Robert ‘Bob’ Gunter, President and CEO of Koloa Rum Co. for an in-depth tasting of six hand crafted rums made from pure cane sugar and rainwater from Mount Waiʻaleʻale. Bob will explain the deeply-rooted Hawaiian heritage that reflects the commitment to supporting and building our ohana—by bringing people together, creating great memories and sharing the Aloha way of life. Traditional Hawaiian fare will be offered with the rums.

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