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.
The Botanist head bartender wins the Diageo World Class Canada title in Whistler
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.
When Devin McKeigan created her cocktail for the Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition, inspiration shone around her like a bright beam of light.
“Within the industry I’ve met so many people…everybody fuels my light, not just in the hospitality industry, but everyone I’ve met. It’s all of us working together,” says the bartender for the Toptable Group’s newly opened Elisa Steakhouse.
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).
Another day, another competition under the belts of Vancouver’s extraordinary bartenders.
To chants of “Back to back!” on Thanksgiving weekend, Chris Enns of the Lobby Bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim made it into the top-20 round at the Diageo Reserve World Class competition in Berlin. Australia’s Orlando Marzo took home the overall title this year, but Enns made it all the way to number eight in the world, with a trio of Vancouverites cheering him on—last year’s global winner, Kaitlyn Stewart of Royal Dinette, as well as previous World Class Canada winners Lauren Mote and Grant Sceney. “Until next time, friends,” Enns said on Facebook. “May your hearts be filled with love and your glasses filled with World Class cocktails.”
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.
Chris Enns prepared this cocktail for the World Class Canada 2018 national finals. “This drink came from the Wanderlust challenge where we came up with a cocktail inspired by both home and an away location,” he recalls. A twist on the Sazerac cocktail, the Home Team is inspired by the feeling of “home” he found at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, as well the home-team support among the World Class bartenders. Here it is served in a Scottish quaich cup; however, a chilled Old Fashioned or Sazerac-style glass would be fine.
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.
So, you know, no pressure.
Cocktail competition season is in full swing, and it’s exciting to see so many B.C. bartenders competing both on the local and world stage.
After Royal Dinette’s Kaitlyn Stewart won Diageo World Class in 2017, all eyes are on the global competition whose winner is considered best bartender in the world. The 2018 round kicked off in January, with regional challenges being held in March and the Canadian finals scheduled for May 7 to 10. Good luck to all who dare enter.
Women bartenders show off speed and skill for breast cancer charities at Speed Rack.
From left to right, Sabrine Dhaliwal, Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar; Reece Sims, Brix+Mortar/The Diamond; Liana Madera, The Diamond; Jasmine Radu, Tocador; Amber Bruce, The Keefer Bar. Cathy Browne photo
Bonnie Stewart of The Granville Room was the fastest qualifier and is going to nationals. Cathy Browne photo