Shaking it up at Science of Cocktails

The fifth annual event was a whizz-bang success

Science of Cocktails, held February 6 at Science World, surpassed a cumulative milestone of $1.2 million raised for the Class Field Trip Bursary Program. Tara Rafiq photo

“This is just what we do,” says Trevor Kallies, president of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Bartender Association and the creative force behind one of Vancouver’s most dynamic cocktail events. “This” isn’t just making great drinks, although it’s that, too. Mostly, though, it’s coming together to help those who need it most.

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Vancouver bar claims government seizure of $40K in whisky breached charter rights

Fets Whisky Kitchen on Commercial Drive was raided in January 2018

In January 2018, Fets Whisky Kitchen was raided by B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Photo Fets Whisky Kitchen/Facebook

The Vancouver bar taking the B.C. government to court in an effort to recover $40,000 in whisky seized in 2018 has launched further court action alleging the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch breached its charter rights.

In January 2018, Fets Whisky Kitchen, a mainstay on Commercial Drive since 1986, was raided by B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch — 242 bottles of Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) single malt whisky were seized, and owners Eric and Allura Fergie were eventually fined $3,000.

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Thrilling open-bar event with 30+ drink stations mixes cocktails and science

The Science of Cocktails pairs some of Vancouver’s most accomplished mixologists with the wow-factor of physics, chemistry, and biology for a night to remember

With over 30 stations pouring exciting drinks made by top Vancouver bartenders, Science of Cocktails 2020 promises to be another thrilling night of drinks and fun. Photo courtesy Science World

It’s one of the city’s most dazzling drinking events: The Science of Cocktails pairs some of Vancouver’s most accomplished mixologists with the wow-factor of physics, chemistry, and biology for an epic open bar night to remember.

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Rock & Rye: Resurrecting a distinctly Canadian spirit in Vancouver

As a Canadian distillery, Resurrection Spirits has taken ownership of a distinctly Canadian spirit: rye. Photo: Resurrection Spirits Inc./Facebook

There is an inescapable paradox at play in the notion of craft production. It is like the beloved local indie band that creates a hit single and then ends up filling stadiums on the next tour. “Sellouts!” we cry, too cool to support them now that they are popular. “It used to be about the music, man.”

Make something cool, people like it. Too many people like it, your thing is not cool anymore. It is a philosophical minefield that makes artisanship a tough gig.

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Thrilling open-bar event with 30+ drink stations mixes cocktails and science

With over 30 stations pouring exciting drinks made by top Vancouver bartenders, Science of Cocktails 2020 promises to be another thrilling night of drinks and fun. Photo courtesy Science World

It’s one of the city’s most dazzling drinking events: The Science of Cocktails pairs some of Vancouver’s most accomplished mixologists with the wow-factor of physics, chemistry, and biology for an epic open bar night to remember.

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Bottled Up! with Brian Grant

Brian Grant. Laura Starr photo

Meet the incomparable Brian Grant. With 20 years in his back pocket in the bar industry, he can school you with stories of what he’s seen and done in and around the Downtown, Yaletown, and Gastown neighbourhoods of Vancouver. He can also school you in a boxing ring, as he is an absolutely beloved and revered coach at Eastside Boxing, and a big part of the annual boxing charity event, Aprons for Gloves. Intimidation need not apply though. In everything he does, Brian is engaging, patient, and inspiring, whether he’s yelling his pep talk in your corner during a boxing match, or pouring your favourite drink at his extremely cozy lounge in East Vancouver that doubles as his distillery for Resurrection Spirits. Starting from the bottom, he has crafted a life in this industry through perseverance and humanity, and he continues to give and give and give some more. A big cheers to this legendary Vancouverite!

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Seven fall and winter cocktail events you don’t want to miss

With so many exciting events coming up, you won’t have a moment of boredom all winter long.

Art of the Cocktail. Supplied photo
Toronto Cocktail Week

Get your kicks in the Six this fall: The six-day festival of all things boozy returns
October 15 to 20, bringing together bars, brands and bartenders—as well as consumers, of course—to celebrate the city’s evolving cocktail scene. TCW will be shaking things up with a neighbourhood-focused bar guide, themed gala events, guided, seminars and pop-up bars featuring familiar faces from Vancouver. torontococktailweek.ca


Art of the cocktail

The Alchemist is pleased to sponsor Western Canada’s most important cocktail festival October 19 in beautiful downtown Victoria. Some 900 attendees will gather at the Grand Tasting to sip and sample cocktails and products from 40 exhibitors pouring more than 60 spirits. Plus there will be masterclasses, guided tastings and more fun than you can shake a cobbler at during this fundraiser for the Victoria Film Festival. artofthecocktail.ca


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Bottled Up! with Alex Carruthers

Alex Carruthers. Adam Chilton photo

This wild child has carved his own path in the industry, securing his place in the bar scene at an early age after passionately needing to be around live music. Currently working the wood in Gastown’s beloved music spot, Guilt & Co. as well as repping the new and alluring spirit called Trakal, he doesn’t stop there, concurrently pursuing acting, music, and his motorcycle license. He’s so damn charismatic, I can’t help but think of Brian Flannagan from the movie Cocktail, but don’t ever tell him I said that. This month’s feature bartender is the one and only Alex Carruthers.

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Variations on a theme

Five Vancouver bars that offer immersive fun along with your cocktail

Key Party interior
At Key Party, the 1970s are in full swing with retro-inspired cocktails like the B52 and a vegan Grasshopper. Photo courtesy of Key Party

Step into ABQ London bar and you’re no longer in the city’s Hackney district but an RV where people in goggles and yellow hazmat suits “cook” their own molecular cocktails. Taking its name from an episode of Breaking Bad, ABQ is a trip inside lead character Walter White’s mobile meth lab.

With its dry ice and gas masks, the spot is just one example of the kinds of immersive experiences that are making theme bars so popular around the globe. In Paris, for instance, there’s L’Urgence, a medical-themed bar that uses test tubes as tumblers. And New York’s Oscar Wilde pays homage to the playwright through marble statues, Victorian-era furniture and drinks that go by names like the Selfish Giant and Ugly Peacock, nods to his life and work.

In fiercely competitive markets and uncertain times, places that serve their slings and sours with a chaser of escapism have an edge, a draw that sets them apart and helps keeps them afloat.

Vancouver, too, is home to several bars that do more than pour masterfully mixed drinks by creating otherworldly settings. The Shameful Tiki Room was one of the first, its kitsch décor and Mai Tais having rekindled the city’s passion for tiki culture.

The city’s growing collection of theme bars extends far beyond Polynesian beaches, however. Here are a few to consider next time you’re looking for a delicious liquid getaway.

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