The Bon Vivant

The patio scene isn’t for everyone, including our man about town

Ryan Mitson Illustration

In many ways, I’ve always been hilariously unsuited to Vancouver, despite having lived here for the best part of 20 years. While I enjoy observing nature from the distant vantage point of a high-rise apartment, actually venturing into it makes me anxious and irritated. I look upon the lifestyle cults surrounding yoga, spinning and clamshell salads—ostensibly expressions of joyful living, yet deadly serious—as if they were the Republic of Gilead.

But what situates me permanently at the fringe of the party that is this city (this beautiful, very expensive party) is my habitual response to the arrival of summer. When everyone else rushes hysterically into the streets, as if drawn by the promise of eternal youth and free poké bowls, I draw the blinds and cower until nightfall.

I don’t want to be this person, but I have no choice: I’m a ginger.

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Order up

How to get the right drink in a bar

At Coquille Fine Seafood, Shaun Layton has created a light, bright, classic-based bar list. Order accordingly. Dan Toulgoet photo

You’re thirsty. There’s a bar full of things to drink. You’d think nothing would be simpler than quenching your thirst, right? Not so fast.

We’ve all had those disappointing cocktails that left us wondering what went wrong. That’s because there’s an art to ordering a drink, a good drink at least, and it’s both simple and complex.

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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

Golden Oldie

The name may sound dated, but the Old Fashioned remains a classic for a reason. The Alchemist asked Sabrine Dhaliwal, Bar Manager at Uva, to let us in on its secrets.

Sabrine Dhaliwal stirs up a classic. Dan Toulgoet photo.

The Old Fashioned is amazing — simple and complex at the same time. On paper it is minimal — spirit, bitters, sugar and water (via the dilution of ice) — but what is critical for an Old Fashioned is getting that balance right. You get the balance right, you have a beautiful cocktail, but if you don’t, there’s nowhere to hide. The fewer the ingredients in a cocktail, the more skill needed to make it.

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From vermouth to high volume: Cocktail trends for 2018

Some of Vancouver’s top bartenders give their thoughts on what’ll be hot next year

Glass straws will be seen more widely as bars strive toward more sustainable practices. The Last Straw Co. photo
Glass straws will be seen more widely as bars strive toward more sustainable practices. The Last Straw Co. photo

Raise your glass to the end of 2017, a year that brought us one disaster after another, from raging wildfires to the near-daily perp walk of sexual predators. Between all that and the inescapability of frosé, it’s a year we’re mostly happy to forget.

And so we look forward to 2018. We checked in with some of the city’s top bartenders to discover what’s shaking for the New Year.

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Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes by Sabrine Dhaliwal.
Bright Eyes by Sabrine Dhaliwal.

This tall, refreshing, low-proof cocktail from UVA’s Sabrine Dhaliwal will ensure you remain bright-eyed throughout the night.

1½ oz (45 mL) fino sherry
¾ oz (22 mL) grapefruit juice
¾ oz (22 mL) peach tea syrup (see note)
¾ oz (22 mL) lemon juice
2 dashes Bittered Sling Cherry Bitters
Ginger beer

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You go, girl

Sexual harassment, Speed Rack and the realities of being a woman bartender

Ada Coleman, head bartender of The American Bar at the Savoy in London from 1903 to 1926. Contributed photo

You’ve come a long way, baby – or have you?

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Five top cocktail trends for 2017

Van Isle Iced Tea—created by Brad Stanton and Robyn Gray, head bartenders at Prohibition—taps into several of the top cocktail trends of 2017. Viranlly Liemena photo (courtesy of Prohibition).

Well, thank goodness that’s over. This past year was enough to drive a person to drink. Luckily, the city’s best bartenders know just what we’re craving right now and in the year ahead. Here are the top-five cocktail trends they say we’ll be enjoying in 2017. Cheers!

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What’s Haskap’in?

Sabrine Dhaliwal’s “What’s Haskapin'” cocktail. Dan Toulgoet photo.

This tart, juicy and refreshing take on wintry flavours is created by Sabrine Dhaliwal, bar manager of Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar.

INGREDIENTS:
• 1.5 oz (45 mL) Taylor Fladgate White Port
• 1 oz (30 mL) Beefeater gin
• 0.25 oz (7 mL) Okanagan Spirits Haskap Liqueur
• 0.75 oz (22 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 dashes Bittered Sling Autumnbog Cranberry Bitters
• Tonic water

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