Jeff Savage Crowned World Class Canada Bartender of 2019

The Botanist head bartender wins the Diageo World Class Canada title in Whistler

Jeff Savage, Canada’s Bartender of the Year 2019, hoists his trophy atop Whistler Mountain. Colin Fox photo

Jeff Savage is standing on top of the world. Literally.

On June 4, after three days of competition that took the finalists on a cocktail-themed scavenger hunt, through world history and deep into the spirit of the mountains, the head bartender of Vancouver’s Botanist Bar won the Diageo World Class Canada final in Whistler, B.C.

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Hey, Bartender

Thoughts from behind the wood: Why bartending should be social, not social media

Jonathan Norton/Wildebeest photo

Bartenders are not in the business of making drinks. We are in the business of servicing the needs of human beings. Full stop.

It’s been said that we trained bartenders in the art of mixology and along the way we lost the art of bartending. But in the debate of bartender vs. mixologist, the end goal of both was essentially the same: Be better, be more knowledgeable, provide better experiences, work in better places. I believe both sides would agree that it is unbecoming of a barkeep to seek prestige by any other means than hard work and education.

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Tropical dreams

Tiki is back in Vancouver. Why did it ever go away?

Istockphoto.com photo

Tiki culture is a liquid ticket to an imaginary tropical island where the breeze is always warm, the music sways like the branches of a palm tree, and the rum flows as easily as the waves that wash up on a sandy beach.

Tiki originated in California in 1933, but exploded in popularity after the Second World War. It was inspired by the romance of the South Pacific, the culture of Polynesia, the flavours of Asia and the rum punches of the Caribbean, making it the ultimate fusion cocktail experience, served in a kitschy-cool Hollywood-ready vessel to a market that was weary of war and ready to party.

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Finalists ready to fight for Diageo World Class Canada 2019 title

The top ten Diageo World Class Canada finalists will be competing in the national finals in June. Photo courtesy of Diageo World Class Canada

Since Canada entered the Diageo World Class competition in 2013, our bartenders have punched far above their weight, consistently place in the top 12 worldwide.

Moreover, Lauren Mote, who won the national title in 2015, is now Diageo’s Global Cocktailian, and in 2017,

Vancouver’s Kaitlyn Stewart won the whole thing, beating bartenders from nearly 60 countries to become Global Bartender of the Year.

So there’s no pressure at all on this year’s regional winners, who are heading to the National Final in June (details to be announced later).

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Science of Cocktails makes science both delicious and accessible

Amber Bruce won the cocktail competition for her riff on a Manhattan. Photo by Isabella Sarmiento for Science of Cocktails

There was ice and fire, CO2 and NO2, test tubes and copper tubing and all sorts of mysterious gadgets. Most of all, there was great food and drink in support of an even greater cause.

The city’s top bartenders gathered in February at Telus World of Science for the fourth annual Science of Cocktails event, where they demonstrated the myriad ways science contributes to cocktail culture.

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The Bon Vivant

Our man-about-town discovers that taking a seat at the bar is a social act, even for the solo sipper

Ryan Mitson Illustration

Earlier this year, for no apparent reason, multiple stories were published about the stigma of eating in a restaurant alone, each of them offering counsel as to why no one should feel self-conscious for doing so. I appreciate these pieces having been written, but I don’t understand why they need to exist.

I’ve never felt self-conscious about dining solo. I’d argue, in fact, that it’s often a superior experience to dining as part of a couple or a group. Without the pressures or distraction of conversation, one can fully appreciate a meal, consume it at a preferred pace, and get lost in a book or people-watching or whatever private reveries help the mind relax and the heart sing.

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Science of Cocktails event offers drinks that will have you completely spellbound

Science World British Columbia / Flickr

While there will be a multitude of alcoholic beverages on the menu, this annual event is a far cry from the average cocktail party.

The Science of Cocktails at the Telus World of Science offers a unique opportunity to see some of the industry’s most passionate mixologists work their alchemy on classic favourites as well as inspired new concoctions.

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