Open your mind to the aperitivo

“World’s Best Bar” Dante NYC joins Homer Street Café and Bar for a pop up—and shares their vision of the future of drinking.

Dante NYC is doing a pop-up bar at Homer Street Café and bar until November 6. Supplied photo

It’s time to bring back the aperitivo, says Naren Young.

“This is something we’ve been obsessing about,” says the beverage director of Dante NYC, which was which was just named “World’s Best Bar” both by World’s 50 Best Bars and, earlier this year, Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards. “The Europeans have been doing this for centuries. Now the rest of the world is catching on.”

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Amour for amaro

The Alchemist’s tasting panel revels in the complexities of made-in-B.C. amaros, vermouths and aperitifs

The lineup (l to r): Long Table Distillery’s Linnaeus Amaro No. 1, de Vine’s Moderna Vermouth, The Woods Spirit Co’s Pacific Northwest Amaro, Goodrich and Williams’ Bitterhouse Rubato, Bitterhouse DaMan and Bitterhouse LaDame aperitifs, Legend Distilling’s Naramaro amaro, Odd Society’s Mia Amata amaro and Bittersweet Vermouth. Dan Toulgoet photo

Consider them the supporting actors of the cocktail world: complex, helpful and a little bitter. Vermouths, aperitifs and amaros are typically fortified wines—though some are sweet enough to be considered liqueurs—flavoured with botanicals such as citrus peel, spices, roots and herbs. They typically have a somewhat bitter profile, hence the name “amaro,” which means bitter in Italian.

It takes a sophisticated palate to appreciate a good bitter drink, so not too surprisingly, Vancouver bartenders were eager to sample the best of B.C. amaros. We sat down with Alex Black of Tableau Bar Bistro, Amber Bruce of The Keefer Bar, cocktail consultant Sabrine Dhaliwal, Robyn Gray of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia and The Botanist’s Jeff Savage to get at the bitter truth.

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G&W Distilling

Goodridge & Williams is quickly becoming a national player in craft distilling, led by the best-selling Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka and award-winning Nütrl Vodka.

7167 Vantage Way #8, Delta

Read more about G&W Distilling:
Delta Rising: At G&W Distilling, Stephen Goodridge has big plans

Labatt acquires Goodridge & Williams Distilling, makers of Nütrl Vodka Soda drinks

Amour for amaro: The Alchemist’s tasting panel revels in the complexities of made-in-B.C. amaros, vermouths and aperitifs



• Nütrl Vodka
• Tempo Renovo Gin
• Tempo Fresa Strawberry Gin
• Tempo Arándano Blueberry Gin
• Sid The Handcrafted Vodka
• Western Grains Whisky
• Northern Grains Whisky
• Bitterhouse Aperitifs
• Nütrl Vodka Soda
• Highball Whisky Soda
• Tempo Gin Smash
• Tempo Gin Soda Lime
• Bitterhouse Spritz


Silverdawn Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Banana, vanilla, chocolate.
FLAVOUR: Sweet and savoury; banana on the palate.
FEEL: Medium-full body.
FINISH: Delicate and memorable. A long, flavourful conclusion.
BEST ENJOYED: Sipping vodka, best enjoyed neat or on the rocks. With olives or a twist in a Martini, maybe even a fresh raspberry.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Holds up on its own, with flavour characteristics that deserve not to be masked by juice. —Scott Barber, April 2016


FRAGRANCE: Citrus notes, especially orange.
FLAVOUR: Not much on the palate.
FEEL: Slightly creamy mouthfeel.
FINISH: Smooth and short.
BEST ENJOYED: Chilled neat, or with a few ice cubes and lemon zest.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Decent vodka that ticks the boxes vodka should: clean and neutral. —Trevor Kallies, July 2016

Bitterhouse Rubato

FRAGRANCE: Rhubarb, strawberry, almost like an Eastern European pastry shop.
FLAVOUR: Subtle summer fruit, bitter liquorice, cream soda.
FEEL: Very light on the palate. 
FINISH: Lasting bitterness, stays around for a while.
BEST ENJOYED: Needs bubbles! Negroni Sbagliato or Americano.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A great alternative to Campari or other, harder to find, bitters. —Shaun Layton, October 2016

Bitterhouse Daman

FRAGRANCE: Grapefruit and more grapefruit.
FLAVOUR: Not as tart as expected, very well balanced aperitif. Perfect acidity. 
FEEL: Definitely a little viscosity, but not heavy or thick. 
FINISH: Light, memorable. Could convert even grapefruit haters.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat, chilled over ice, or in cocktails. We feature it in a Gin Sour.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Buy a bottle and have some fun. Mix it up! Very cool product. —Scott Barber, February 2017

Tempo Renovo Dry Gin

FRAGRANCE: Sweet vanilla.
FLAVOUR: Vanilla and buttery.
FEEL: Medium bodied. 
FINISH: Long-lasting sweetness. 
BEST ENJOYED: In a Silver Gin Fizz.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Beautiful, easy-going sweetness makes for a versatile cocktail gin. —Robyn Gray, July 2017

NÜTRL Vodka Soda

FRAGRANCE: Light lemon zest.
FLAVOUR: Tastes like a vodka soda with a squeeze of lemon.
FEEL: Feels like a vodka soda with a squeeze of lemon.
FINISH: Short, clean finish (like a vodka soda with a squeeze of lemon). 
BEST ENJOYED: Neat, straight from the fridge. Recommend over ice and cold, cold, cold.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Ideal for camping/boating/barbecue/outdoor activities/poolside/sport events. —Trevor Kallies, October 2017