The patio scene isn’t for everyone, including our man about town
In many ways, I’ve always been hilariously unsuited to Vancouver, despite having lived here for the best part of 20 years. While I enjoy observing nature from the distant vantage point of a high-rise apartment, actually venturing into it makes me anxious and irritated. I look upon the lifestyle cults surrounding yoga, spinning and clamshell salads—ostensibly expressions of joyful living, yet deadly serious—as if they were the Republic of Gilead.
But what situates me permanently at the fringe of the party that is this city (this beautiful, very expensive party) is my habitual response to the arrival of summer. When everyone else rushes hysterically into the streets, as if drawn by the promise of eternal youth and free poké bowls, I draw the blinds and cower until nightfall.
I don’t want to be this person, but I have no choice: I’m a ginger.
With Christopher Enns’ recent win in Montreal, that’s four times Vancouver bartenders have taken home the prestigious title of Diageo Reserve World Class Canada champion since the competition started in 2013.
Enns, who mans the shakers at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge, also recently won the Woodford Reserve Manhattan challenge in New York. “It’s been very busy, that’s for sure,” he says.
Now we’re all wondering: Will lightning strike again?
After all, last year’s World Class Canada winner, Kaitlyn Stewart of Vancouver’s Royal Dinette, went on to win the global competition, beating out 10,000 talented bartenders from more than 50 countries to do so.
Enns is already preparing for the world finals in Berlin this October. “We won’t get the lineup for a few months, but I’ll start researching Berlin and working within the seasonal produce,” he says.
It helps that he’s got a strong team of previous hometown winners helping him prepare, including his colleague, Grant Sceney, the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s creative beverage director and World Class Canada 2014 winner.
“I’m going to see a lot more of him than I do already,” Enns says with a laugh.
Brand ambassadors have a huge influence on what and how we drink. But who are they, and what do they really do?
On any given day, Kevin Brownlee drops in at local bars and restaurants to visit with his bartender colleagues. In the evening, he’ll hit a nightclub or two, or hang out at an event like Dish ’n Dazzle. Or he’ll jet off to some exotic locale, Puerto Rico, say, or maybe Miami.
It might be called EAT! Vancouver, but we’re here for the drinks.
Which is why we were thrilled to discover that the annual foodie festival is returning to Vancouver Nov. 5-10 with more than 37 acclaimed chefs and 18 events, including a luxurious all-new cognac event.
He now heads to Berlin, Germany, to represent Canada at the World Class Global Final Oct. 4 to 8, 2018.
Expectations will be even higher than usual. Not only is this the 10th anniversary of the biggest and most important cocktail competition on the planet, but another Vancouverite, Kaitlyn Stewart of Royal Dinette, won the global title last year, vanquishing 10,000 bartenders from 57 countries to do so.
Central City Brewers & Distillers. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Goodridge & Williams Craft Distillers. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Victoria Caledonian Distillery. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Tailored Spirits. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Old Order Distilling Co. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
The 101 Brewhouse + Distillery. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
After Dark Disillery. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Shelter Point Distillery. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Gillespie's Fine Spirits. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Resurrection Spirits. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Pacific Rim Distilling. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Phillips Soda Works. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Phillips Fermentorium Distilling Co. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Salt Spring Shine Craft Distillery. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Victoria Distillers. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Lucid Spirits. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Stillhead Distillery. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Rootside Provisions. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Tumbleweed Spirits. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
The Woods Spirit Company. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
The Alchemist publisher Gail Nugent with B.C. Distilled founder Alex Hamer. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Mixers and Elixers. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Legend Distilling. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Long Table Distillery. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Yaletown Distilling Co. Byron Smith/Tank Five photo.
Spirits were high at the fifth annual BC Distilled festival at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver on April 14, which brought together 40 artisan distilleries from around the province, including a dozen new distilleries that have opened in the last year.
Cocktails, our man-about-town discovers, are not just for the rich, or even the pretend rich
I didn’t pull up a stool to a proper bar—by which I mean one whose stock-in-trade is cocktails, and whose staff is formally schooled in the art of same—until my early 30s. A variety of reasons contributed to this delayed milestone, including having been raised in a near-teetotal household, in a small city whose population overwhelmingly prefers beer, coupled with early teenage drinking experiences (usually at a suburban house party or in some miserable pitch-black field) of the sort that seem contrived to ensure one never wants to drink again.
Are you passionate about craft cocktails and craft beer? Are you a super cool person with a positive attitude? Is “fun” generally something you spend every waking moment pursuing?
Perfect, because we want to hire you!