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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.