Spirits of the season

Sip, celebrate, share and make merry this winter

Leila Kwok photo

Cocktail collab at Botanist

Botanist Bar in the Fairmont Pacific Rim has a holiday gift for cocktail lovers: an avant garde, off-menu cocktail and food pairing experience that celebrates the flavours of the Pacific Northwest.

It’s a collaboration between head bartender Jeff Savage, Canada’s Bartender of the Year 2020, and executive chef Hector Laguna. Together, this talented team will take guests on a wild flavour journey. “This one is very specific to what I love about the Pacific Northwest; it’s five savoury courses and one dessert course,” says Savage. “My cocktails are a love letter to Canada—
a love letter to the beautiful nature around us.”

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Great world bars we love: Beaufort Bar at The Savoy

The darkly dramatic Beaufort Bar at London’s legendary Savoy Hotel. Photo courtesy of Beaufort Bar at the Savoy

There is always an element of theatre in a good bar, the dazzle of lights bouncing off a mixing glass, the rows of bottles lining the back bar like so many punters, the deft drama of the barkeep shaking a cocktail to his own overture. But the Beaufort Bar actually is a theatre, or was, back when it was the renowned cabaret stage at The Savoy, where the composer George Gershwin was known to strike up the band from time to time. When the hotel was renovated and reopened a decade ago, it was transformed into this glamorous Art Deco bar, all darkly gleaming in black and gold, perhaps the most romantic saloon in all of London.

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Garden’s Keeper G&T

Garden’s Keeper G&T, created by Jeff Savage. Dan Toulgoet photo

Spanish-style G&Ts like the one on our cover are the coolest drinks of summer 2019. This one was photographed at Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, and created by head bartender Jeff Savage.

• 1.5 oz Star of Bombay gin
• 0.5 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
• 2 dashes Bittered Sling Haskap Bitters
• Fentiman’s tonic water

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Botanist wins Bols Around the World

The Fairmont Pacific Rim team cleans up at the global competition

The Botanist Bar team was crowned 2019 ‘BOLS AROUND THE WORLD’ World’s Best Bar Team! From left, Grant Sceney, Jeff Savage and Max Curzon-Price. Botanist Bar photo/Facebook

Another day, another global win for Botanist Bar. Bartenders Grant Sceney, Jeff Savage and Max Curzon-Price have just been crowned the “Bols Around the World” bar team of the year.

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In the spirit of cocktails

Into the Aether, created by the Botanist bar team, was selected to represent North America at the Bols Around the World competition in Amsterdam in June 2019. Photo courtesy of Botanist Restaurant

A sparkling goblet filled with golden elixir revolves lazily in mid-air, twirling a couple of inches above the vapours of dry ice billowing from a wooden platform. It looks like magic, and it is, sort of.

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Into the Aether

Photo courtest of Botanist

Designed by Botanist Bar team members Grant Sceney, Jeff Savage and Max Curzon-Price. Note that the team uses their own housemade vermouth, but any quality dry vermouth will also work.

• 1.5 oz Bols Genever
• 0.75 oz dry vermouth
• 0.75 oz cold-pressed white tea
• 0.25 oz BOLS Maraschino
• 1 barspoon peated Scotch whisky
• 1 barspoon salt water (5%)

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These 8 Vancouver bars made Canada’s 50 Best Bars of 2019 list

Botanist Dining/Facebook

In mid-April, Canada’s 100 Best revealed their 2019 restaurant rankings. Now for the second year, they’re following up with a list of Canada’s 50 Best Bars of 2019, and for this ranking, Vancouver has an impressive eight spots worth raising a glass or two to.

In fact, Vancouver’s imbibers can pour one out for the always-popular Keefer Bar, which nabbed the number two spot, behind Toronto’s celebrated Bar Raval in the top rung. This is also the second year The Keefer Bar was ranked in the second spot.

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Vancouver #2

The Vancouver #2, Grant Sceney’s update on the Vancouver classic.

Before the team at Botanist installed the bar top, creative beverage director Grant Sceney “bought a drink for the next generation of bartenders” by embedding a bottled cocktail, a handwritten note and a copy of the first bar menu inside the bar itself. This is the cocktail they left for the future: an updated version of the classic Vancouver cocktail. “We’ve made the Vancouver Cocktail as Vancouver as we can,” says Sceney.

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Botanist stirs things up

With its own cocktail lab, this new bar is set to launch an era of innovation in Vancouver

Creative beverage director Grant Sceney with a Vancouver #2. Dan Toulgoet photo

Bored with the same old watering holes? Well, you’re in luck, because Botanist is getting ready to shake up Vancouver’s cocktail scene.

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