A spirited selection at the BC Distilled 2019 Audience Favourites Awards

Odd Society’s Prospector Rye Whisky was voted the audience-favourite whisky at BC Distilled. Gail Nugent photo

They came, they sipped, they chose their favourites, ranging from a delicately herbal absinthe to a boldly spiced rye whisky.

Some 600 people descended on the Croatian Cultural Centre on April 6 for the sixth annual BC Distilled festival, highlighting the best of the province’s artisan spirits. Some 180 spirits from 39 distilleries were poured over two tastings, and at the end of it all, the audience voted for their favourites in 13 categories.

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Sizing up the Sazerac

The mysteries of NOLA’s signature cocktail

Bartender Justin Taylor pours a Sazerac at The Cascade Room. Dan Toulgoet photo

What is it with absinthe? Every time the herbal spirit gets involved, confusion and controversy seem to follow.

Take the Sazerac, one of the world’s oldest and greatest cocktails and since 2008 the official state cocktail of Louisiana. For decades experts as revered as Dale de Groff, King Cocktail himself, traced the origins of the first cocktail to this anise-scented variation on the Old Fashioned. Sadly, it can’t be true, since the word “cocktail” first appeared in print in 1806 and the apothecary who allegedly invented the Sazerac was only three years old at the time.

Still. It’s a good tale.

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Sazerac

Sazerac. Dan Toulgoet photo

A great classic that belongs in every barkeep’s repertoire.

• 1 tsp (approximately) absinthe or pastis
• 1 cube sugar or 1 tsp simple syrup
• 3 or 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
• 2 oz Cognac, rye whisky, or a mix of both
• Lemon peel for garnish

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Apple Flip

At Olo, the Apple Flip is served with a side of Julien Fremont Calvados to round out the apple experience. Byron Smith photo.

At Olo, the Apple Flip is served with a side of Julien Fremont Calvados to round out the apple experience. 

INGREDIENTS:
• 2oz House Spiced & Solera Aged Honey Shine ‘Rum’ by Devine Vineyards
• 0.5oz Sea Star ‘Prose’ Riesling & Apple Dessert Wine
• 0.5oz Apple & Shiso Syrup
• One whole egg
• Okanagan Spirits Taboo Absinthe Spritz

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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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Madame Colet

Madame Colet by Sabrine Dhaliwal. Dan Toulgoet photo

A complex, pensive cocktail by Sabrine Dhaliwal inspired by the 1932 film Trouble in Paradise. Dhaliwal imagines that this is the drink the character of Mariette Colet would be drinking as she ponders the whirlwind of events that befall her in the movie.

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Diced Pineapple Cocktail

Kaitlyn Stewart’s Diced Pineapple Cocktail — a zero-waste, eco-friendly drink — was a winner in the Mex ECO challenge at Diageo World Class. Fred Fung photo for Royal Dinette

This zero-waste cocktail created by Royal Dinette’s bar manager Kaitlyn Stewart helped her win Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year 2017. It uses all parts of the pineapple, including the skin, pulp and tops.

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Burrard Gimlet

The Burrard Gimlet cocktail, made with salt water, created by Justin Taylor, general manager of The Cascade Room in Vancouver. Cascade Room photo

Justin Taylor of The Cascade Room makes his own salt water for this refreshing update on a classic cocktail.

INGREDIENTS:
1.5 oz (45 mL) Long Table Cucumber gin
0.5 oz (15 mL) Green Chartreuse
0.5 oz (15 mL) chamomile cordial (see note)
0.75 oz (22 mL) lime juice
3 dashes Bittered Sling Lem Marrakesh bitters
1 tsp (5 mL) salt water (see note)
Pinch of sea salt
Garnish: Taboo absinthe mist; lime twist

METHOD:
Rim half of a coupe glass with sea salt. Place all ingredients except garnish into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake for 15 seconds. Double strain into coupe. Spritz surface with a mist of absinthe and garnish with a lime twist. Serves 1.

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Goddess of the Hunt

A decadent drink for wannabe immortals

INGREDIENTS:
0.75 oz Taboo Absinthe
0.75 oz Giffard White Chocolate Syrup
0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
Prosecco

METHOD:
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake with ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with prosecco.

—By Simon Ogden

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Fear not the fairy

Laying bare the legends and lore behind absinthe

Bar manager Simon Ogden draws off some absinthe from the fountain at the Veneto Tap Lounge in Victoria. Meghan Kirkpatrick photo.

“After the first glass, you see things as they are. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” — Oscar Wilde

Absinthe, the fabled Green Fairy that ran amok through Paris at the height of the Belle Époque, remains the most polarizing spirit on the bar shelf.

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