If the spirit moves you

Celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 by buying or drinking a woman-made spirit, such as these global brands that have women master blenders, distillers and more.

At Ron Zapaca in Guatemala, master blender Lorena Vasquez is credited for pioneering the a “solera” aging method in rum. Photo courtesy of Ron Zacapa

American whisky

Down in Tullahoma, Tennessee, master distiller Nicole Austin is shaking up the nearly 150-year-old George Dickel whiskey brand. One state north in Kentucky, although legendary Michter’s master distiller Pamela Heilmann retired in 2019, she passed the torch to master of maturation Andrea Wilson. At Woodford Reserve, Elizabeth McCall is the assistant master distiller, at Old Forester Jackie Zykan is master taster and Eboni Major is the master blender at Bulleit.

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Margarita

A classic Margarita. Getty images photo

“Margarita” is Spanish for “daisy,” and this is likely a tequila-based 1930s variation on the even older drink of that name. This recipe is part of The Alchemist‘s series of cocktails you should know. 

• 2 oz blanco tequila
• 1 oz orange liqueur such as Cointreau
• 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
• Garnish: Salted rim, optional lime wedge

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This B.C. bartender placed second in an international cocktail competition

He brought a taste of the Okanagan to Mexico, with his cocktail, It Takes a Valley.

Jared Schmidt celebrates his silver at the 2020 Patron Perfectionists competition Thursday. Photo: Facebook – Patron Perfectionists

A local bartender has put Kelowna on the map after taking home the silver at an international cocktail competition in Mexico.

After winning his regional Patron Perfectionists competition in Vancouver last year, followed up by the Canadian nationals in Toronto, Patron flew Kelowna’s Jared Schmidt down to Jalisco, Mexico on January 17 for the international finals, to compete against 20 other bartenders from around the world.

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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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Curandero

Curandero. Apothecary Bitters Company photo

• 2 oz blanco tequila
• 1 tsp agave nectar
• 1 tsp Port
• 2 dashes Apothecary ‘Mason Dixon’ Southern Pecan bitters
• Orange twist, for garnish

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All Black Everything

Julien Normand’s All Black Everything. Byron Smith photo

• 2 oz Hornitos Black Barrel Reposado Anejo Tequila
• 0.25 oz Squid Ink Simple Syrup
• 2 Dashes J.T. Own Decanter Bitters
• 5 Drops Saline

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Big-Batch Margarita

Justin Taylor’s big-batch Margarita. Dan Toulgoet photo

Toss one of these bottled Margaritas to your guests the next time you have a party or barbecue. Minds blown!

3 cups reposado tequila
1.5 cups Cointreau
1.5 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups water
2 pinches sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir, pour into bottles, seal, label and refrigerate or stash on ice.

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Tequila and Cider Collins

 

Justin Taylor’s Tequila and Cider Collins. Danika Sea photo

INGREDIENTS:
1 oz blanco tequila
0.5 oz Galliano vanilla liqueur
3 dashes Angostura bitters
4 oz dry hard cider
Apple slices for garnish

METHOD:
Fill a Collins glass with ice, then add all ingredients in order (except garnish) and stir. Top with more ice and a splash of cider, and garnish with fresh apple slices.

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Old Fashioned refashioned at Wildebeest

Cocktail-forward restaurant serving nine new takes on the classic for its fifth birthday

Four of the nine variations on the Old Fashioned on the menu at Wildebeest, which include versions made with rum, gin, tequila and bacon bourbon. Wildebeest photo

The Old Fashioned is, arguably, the original cocktail, or at least, the whisky version of it.

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Mexican Firing Squad

The Mexican Firing Squad by Ryley Zucca. Dan Toulgoet photo.

Take aim at some great grenadine flavours

INGREDIENTS:
2 oz blanco tequila (or mezcal)
¾ oz grenadine*
¾ oz fresh lime juice
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash lime bitters
Splash of soda
Lime wheel, for garnish

METHOD:

Shake all the ingredients except soda with ice. Strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass. Top with soda and garnish with a lime wheel. Serves 1.

*La Mezcaleria’s grenadine: Place 1 cup pomegranate juice (fresh is best, but bottled 100-per-cent pomegranate juice will also work) in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for approximately 5 minutes. To preserve the bright, fresh flavour, do not boil or reduce the juice. Remove from the heat and add 1 cup sugar and a couple of dashes of orange flower water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. This will keep, refrigerated, in a clean glass jar for up to a week.

—by Ryley Zucca

Read more about the inspiration behind this cocktail.