The New Ice Age

Oversize cubes, spheres, sticks, flakes and pebbles: It’s not just frozen water anymore—artisanal ice is a full-fledged cocktail ingredient

Istockphoto.com photo

The artisanal iceman cometh, and he’s not at all cold. With a short reddish beard, bright blue eyes and a friendly face, Dex James is downright warm, as he performs what looks like a magic trick. In the Dang Good Ice storefront in the Fraserhood, he pours water on a mammoth, crystal-clear, square-sided stick of ice in a highball glass and…it disappears.

Artisan ice can be the nearly invisible ingredient that helps deliver cocktail perfection—including king cubes so beautifully clear, one of the tenders behind the Fairmont Pacific Rim lobby bar tells me that imbibers of its white Lucky Negroni frequently ask, “Where’s the ice?” Juleps with flakes or pebbles from a Scotsman ice machine, rocks drinks over chunky Kold Draft cubes or cocktails crowned with a flawless diamond or sphere are just a few of the signs of the new ice age in B.C. bars.

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Why brunch-time happy hour is a growing trend in Vancouver

While not everyone digs AM drinks, a Caesar or a Mimosa does spark joy for many Vancouver brunch-goers

Brunch at the Rumpus Room. Rumpus Room photo

Sometimes, what separates brunch from breakfast is the addition of some adult beverages. While not everyone digs AM drinks, a Caesar or a Mimosa does spark joy for many Vancouver brunch-goers.

Happy hour, on the other hand, is a construct in its infancy in B.C., where the practice of offering and promoting discounted drinks during off-peak hours has only been allowed by the powers that be since mid-2014. Restaurants have largely embraced the trend, using it as a way to add on service hours ahead of dinner, or bridge the gap to offset lulls.

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