Home Team

Home Team cocktail. Photo courtesy of Chris Enns.

Chris Enns prepared this cocktail for the World Class Canada 2018 national finals. “This drink came from the Wanderlust challenge where we came up with a cocktail inspired by both home and an away location,” he recalls. A twist on the Sazerac cocktail, the Home Team is inspired by the feeling of “home” he found at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, as well the home-team support among the World Class bartenders. Here it is served in a Scottish quaich cup; however, a chilled Old Fashioned or Sazerac-style glass would be fine.

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Spotlight on Glenmorangie Spios

Supplied photo.

For its ninth Private Edition series, the venerable Highland whisky house Glenmorangie has released its first single malt aged in American ex-rye whisky casks. In the late 1990s, Dr. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky, travelled to the United States, where he was inspired by the elegant cinnamon and clove notes of rye whisky. “I have always loved American rye whisky’s spicy character, and I believed our Distillery’s smooth house style would perfectly complement the nuances of ex-rye casks,” he says.

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Farm to Flask

Artisan distilling started a conversation about the terroir of spirits. But can you taste those uber-local ingredients in the bottle?

On the drive up to Saanichton from Victoria, hand-lettered signs for honey and free-range eggs compete with honour-system farm stands exchanging wildflowers, produce or jam for money stuffed in a can. When I arrive on an oceanside hilltop, Ken Winchester points out 25 acres of certified organic vineyards, maple and fruit trees and, farther in the distance, barley being farmed to his specs before it’s malted at Phillips Brewery in Victoria. “I’m also a beekeeper, among other things,” says the deVine winemaker and Bruichladdich-trained distiller, gesturing to the hives. He’s more than that: he’s a farm-to-flask disciple.

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Whisky raid

Why did BC LCLB agents seize an estimated $150,000 in whisky? And could it happen to your favourite tipple, too?

Provincial liquor inspectors remove bottles of whisky from Fets Whisky Kitchen in Vancouver. Fets Whisky Kitchen photo.

It was a scene that might have been straight out of Prohibition—were this not 2018.

On the morning of January 19, 2018, plainclothes teams of B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch agents descended upon two licensed establishments in Vancouver and Nanaimo: Fets Whisky Kitchen and The Grand Hotel. Later that day, in Victoria, they visited The Union Club and Little Jumbo Cocktail Bar. What were they after? Illicit booze, grey market goods being sold as the real thing, or maybe something even more heinous?

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Liquid Gold

It can take years before brown spirits get to market. Here’s how B.C. distilleries keep their businesses liquid in the meantime

Illustration by Tara Rafiq

Imagine you make widgets: finely crafted, artisan widgets. Customers pay more for vintage widgets, so there are laws around how old they have to be as well as their quality. You spend a couple of years building your factory with expensive, traditional widget-making equipment. You hire workers, pay for raw materials, power and utilities, and finally fill a warehouse with a bunch of bulky, heavy containers, then wait a few years before you can sell any of your exquisite stock at a premium price. In the meantime, you absorb labour and storage costs to maintain your inventory, which you lose a mysterious chunk of every year as some widgets slip through the cracks and just disappear into thin air.

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3 Cocktails a True Scotsman Would Approve Of

Sláinte! January 25, 2018, is Robbie Burns Day—a day dedicated to the life and poetry of the late Scottish radical poet, Robert Burns. Burns suppers typically include haggis, Scotch whisky and the recitation of Burns’ poetry. For those planning on cheersing the famed Scotsman this year, here are three tribute-worthy whisky cocktail recipes that can be easily recreated at home.

Distillery Yaletown

Penicillin

1.5 parts DEWAR’S 12 Blended Scotch Whisky
0.75 parts lemon juice
0.75 parts honey syrup
3 slices fresh ginger
Candied ginger garnish

Using a wooden muddler, muddle the fresh ginger in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until it is well mashed. Add the blended Scotch, lemon juice, and honey syrup, and fill shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled (about 20 seconds). Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass (you may wish to double strain through a fine tea strainer to remove the small flecks of ginger), and spray the Islay Scotch over the top.

Distillery Vancouver

Dewar’s Dramble

1.5 parts DEWAR’S 12 Blended Scotch Whisky
0.75 parts lemon juice
0.50 parts simple syrup
0.25 parts. Crème du Mure
Blackberry garnish

Add all ingredients (minus crème de mure) to the glass. Fill with crushed ice and stir. Top with more crushed ice and then drizzle crème du mure on top. Garnish with a fresh blackberry.

Best Cocktail Bars Vancouver

The Darb

2 parts DEWAR’S 12 Blended Scotch Whisky
1 part Martini Rossi (Sweet Vermouth)
3 dashes bittercube Corazon bitters
Garnish with lemon twist

Stir and strain
Glass and ice—rocks / large cube

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Roll out the barrel

Surrey’s Central City may have begun as beer brewers, but they are fast becoming one of B.C.’s most important distillers of single malt.

Central City has 1,400 barrels of single malt aging right now.

He may have a lengthy career in brewing behind him, but Gary Lohin is clear: “I’ve been a whisky aficionado for even longer.”

He got his start in beer at Whistler Brewing back in 1989, before spending most of the 1990s at Sailor Hagar’s Brewpub in North Vancouver. He moved to Central City Brewpub in Surrey in 2003 where his Red Racer beer lineup established him as one of B.C.’s top brewmasters. It was on trips to Oregon and California that he visited microdistilleries and began noticing that breweries there were adding stills. So, when Central City began planning its new production facility in 2010, Lohin suggested to his business partner that they should add a distillery.

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Stone Fence

The Stone Fence cocktail, an historic drink given new life by bartender Jim Meehan in his new book Meehan’s Bartender Manual.

Here’s an old school classic getting a new life thanks to Jim Meehan. Cocktail historian David Wondrich traces it back to 1775 when it was “a savage mixture” of New England rum and hard cider. Nearly a century later, he notes, it had evolved into a “suave and smooth” bourbon cooler. Today, Meehan makes the most of the resurgence of craft cider and adds maple syrup for depth of flavour. And, he says, if you want to add a dash or two of Angostura bitters, by all means go ahead.

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Whisky raid leaves shelves empty, bar owners stunned

Provincial liquor inspectors remove bottles of whisky from Fets Whisky Kitchen in Vancouver. Fets Whisky Kitchen photo.

It’s the story that everyone in the BC booze industry is buzzing about: On Jan. 18, the provincial government conducted four simultaneous Prohibition-style raids on establishments in Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver and confiscated tens of thousands of dollars worth of liquor.

Their target? Bottles of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s unique (and expensive) whiskies.

Their reasoning? Although the bottles were shipped to B.C. under proper channels and all appropriate taxes paid, the licensees bought them through private retailers instead of government stores, which is not allowed.

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