Up to date

The Up to Date cocktail, created by Rob Scope, lead bartender at Homer Street Cafe.

In this updated classic, Homer Street Café lead bartender Rob Scope uses Lot 40 rye whisky for its bold flavours of spice and oak. The light, dry notes of Manzanilla sherry complement the rye, Grand Marnier adds a touch of orange and Angostura marries all the flavours together.

Adapted from Hugo Ensslin’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks, 1916 edition. Ensslin was the head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York City’s Times Square, and gained fame from publishing the first version of the Aviation cocktail.

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Roll out the barrel

Where B.C. was once a major barrel producer, today distillers are scrambling to find casks

Whisky and barrels at Legend Distilling in Naramata. Jason Lehoux photo

There’s a spot on the Seawall of Vancouver’s northeast False Creek that should be a pilgrimage—or maybe mourning grounds—for B.C. whisky fans. Under the Cambie Bridge in Coopers’ Park, a plaque marks where the Sweeney Cooperage set up shop in 1889, becoming an important international manufacturer of wooden barrels. It closed in 1981, three decades too early for the current demand from B.C. distillers.

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The Fire at the Mill

The Black Lodge's The Fire at the Mill cocktail.
The Black Lodge photo

This cocktail was created by Edmonton’s James Grant, and is featured on the list at The Black Lodge.

• Mist/rinse of peaty whisky
• 1 oz rosemary-infused gin (see note)
• 1 oz Scotch whisky
• 0.5 oz medium dry sherry
• 0.5 oz ginger syrup
• 0.5 oz lemon juice
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters

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Into the Aether

Photo courtest of Botanist

Designed by Botanist Bar team members Grant Sceney, Jeff Savage and Max Curzon-Price. Note that the team uses their own housemade vermouth, but any quality dry vermouth will also work.

• 1.5 oz Bols Genever
• 0.75 oz dry vermouth
• 0.75 oz cold-pressed white tea
• 0.25 oz BOLS Maraschino
• 1 barspoon peated Scotch whisky
• 1 barspoon salt water (5%)

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A barrel of fun

Private-cask whisky sales are a “futures” investment in B.C.’s small-batch distillers. Here’s how and why they do it.

istockphoto.com photo

They’re lined up like Papa, Mama and Baby Rye: 20-, 10- and five-litre mini-barrels, their ends embossed with the names of proud owners who, in eight weeks or so, get a crash course in craft spirits aging—and their own one-of-a-kind bottles of Custom Rye.

“We were kind of inspired by beer growlers,” says Brian Grant. He and Resurrection Spirits partner David Wolowidnyk charge customers once for the barrel ($150 to $350 depending on size), which they can pay the distillery to fill with white rye (or even gin) multiple times, at the bargain price of $37.50 a bottle. Vancouver’s Homer Street Grill and Unwind are among bar clients already serving their own private batches.

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A spirited selection at the BC Distilled 2019 Audience Favourites Awards

Odd Society’s Prospector Rye Whisky was voted the audience-favourite whisky at BC Distilled. Gail Nugent photo

They came, they sipped, they chose their favourites, ranging from a delicately herbal absinthe to a boldly spiced rye whisky.

Some 600 people descended on the Croatian Cultural Centre on April 6 for the sixth annual BC Distilled festival, highlighting the best of the province’s artisan spirits. Some 180 spirits from 39 distilleries were poured over two tastings, and at the end of it all, the audience voted for their favourites in 13 categories.

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The Alchemist Spring 2019

Quench your thirst for all things spirited: The spring issue of The Alchemist is out this week.

Jennifer Gauthier photo

The 11th edition of B.C.’s only magazine dedicated to cocktail and spirits culture brightens the season with a taste of the tropics.

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You can savour the best of B.C. whisky during a guided tasting this week

Two whiskey glasses. Istockphoto.com

Whisky & Words takes place this Friday, March 8 on International Women’s Day, and the event will feature some of the finest spirits from across the globe.

The Vancouver Writers Fest hosts the annual whisky tasting event, previously called A Dram Come True, in order to raise funds for youth education programming. Guests enjoy unlimited drams of whisky from distilleries around the world, as well as local craft spirits and beer. They also get to eat delicious food, enjoy live music, and partake in a silent auction that features rare and unique whiskies as well as experiences.

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