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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

A cocktail glass full of light

Talia Kleinplatz photo

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.

Continue Reading

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).

Continue Reading

Vancouver’s winning cocktail

Another day, another competition under the belts of Vancouver’s extraordinary bartenders.

Chris Enns. Fairmont Pacific Rim photo

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.”

Continue Reading

World class city

Home Team cocktail. Photo courtesy of Chris Enns.

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.

Continue Reading

Home Team

Home Team cocktail. Photo courtesy of Chris Enns.

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.

Continue Reading

Vancouver’s Chris Enns named Diageo World Class Canada Bartender of 2018

Botanist bartender Chris Enns, Diageo World Class Canada Bartender of the Year. Photo courtesy of Diageo World Class Canada

The Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Christopher Enns has become the fourth Vancouver bartender to win the prestigious Diageo World Class Canada competition since this country joined the global fray in 2013.

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.

Continue Reading

Winner, winner

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.

Kaitlyn Stewart at Diageo World Class in 2017. Diageo World Class photo

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.

Continue Reading

On the Town: Speed Rack 2018

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