Citrus and smoke

The Alchemist tasting panel discusses their favourite tequila and mezcal

Blue Weber agave plants grow in Jalisco, Mexico. Also known as agave azul, the plant takes up to a decade to reach maturity, and contributes citrus and pepper notes to the tequila.Getty Images photo

For years, we’ve been reading that tequila is about to become the “it” spirit. This year, it seems, it’s finally happened. Mind you, some of us have been enjoying this Mexican agave-based spirit, along with its smoky cousin mezcal, all along. Agave spirits have increasingly become luxury products savoured by connoisseurs, which may surprise those who’ve only had a disastrous brush with cheap mixto and are still feeling the hangover. A good tequila is made from 100 per cent farmed blue agave, while mezcal can be made from any number of wild agaves. Mezcal is also typically enjoyed unaged, while tequila can be unaged (also known as plata or silver), “rested” in oak for up to a year (reposado) or aged (añejo or extra añejo). Agave spirits are complex, fascinating and delicious, so we asked our tasting panel to share their favourite and what cocktail they’d make with it. This issue, our team comprises bartenders Sabrine Dhaliwal, Adam Domet, Robyn Gray, Jay Jones, Trevor Kallies, Jeff Savage and Kaitlyn Stewart. ¡Salud!

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9 Vancouver restaurants band together for week-long Pride cocktail fundraiser

The Mackenzie Room has rallied several Vancouver restaurants together for a week-long Pride cocktail fundraiser. Photo by Katie Cross Photography/courtesy The Mackenzie Room

The theme of this year’s Vancouver Pride Parade is “50 Years and Still Fighting” and with many across the city and region set to join in the celebration on West End streets, there are venues across Vancouver that are stepping up to raise awareness and money for Pride-related causes.

The Mackenzie Room has rallied together eight other restaurants for a week-long joint-effort cocktail fundraiser to align with Pride – and being a great ally is the fitting theme.

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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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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Class rules

Canada’s Diageo World Class success has much to do with national program to educate and inspire bartenders

Kaitlyn Stewart wins the Diageo World Class competition. Contributed photo

Vancouver made cocktail headlines around the world in August when Kaitlyn Stewart was named bartender of the year at the Diageo World Class competition.

The Royal Dinette bartender’s feat was extraordinary, topping a field of 56 mixologists from around the world during a gruelling four days of competition in Mexico City.

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Coast-to-coast cocktails for Canada Day

Vancouver mixologists are blending the best of our national ingredients for party drinks this July 1

A Mari Usque Ad Mare, created by L’Abattoir’s Katie Ingram for Canada 150. Amy Ho Photo

A long weekend of fireworks and barbecues, sparklers and fluttering Maple Leaf flags stretches ahead of us. Happy 150th birthday, Canada! Now, let’s celebrate.

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Cîroc Me Gently, Cîroc Me Slowly

The Cîroc Me Gently, Cîroc Me Slowly. Fred Fung/Royal Dinette photo

This cocktail from Kaitlyn Stewart, World Class Canada 2017 winner and bar manager of Royal Dinette, is a mouthwatering balance of sweet, citrus and spice.

• 1.5 oz (45 mL) Ciroc Vodka
• 0.5 oz (15 mL) Ancho Reyes chili liqueur
• 0.25 oz (7 mL) crème de cacao (chocolate liqueur)
• 0.5 oz (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 dashes of Bittered Sling Lem-Marrakech bitters

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. If you like, garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel. Serves 1.

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