Harmony Arts Festival mixes a great Night On The Pier

Sebastian & Co. Fine Meats
(and vegetables)

A sunny, summer evening on the waterfront, cocktails, nibbles and a few hundred revellers roaming Ambleside Pier, is the recipe for another great Night On The Pier. Part of West Vancouver’s Harmony Arts Festival, Night On The Pier brought together seven of Vancouver’s top bartenders and mixologists to complete with each other for the superior sip.

Visitors were able to stroll Ambleside Pier and sample each of the libations created with a featured spirit. Amongst the cocktail stations were light bites from Sebastian & Co. Fine Meats, Las Margaritas, Cocoa Progressive Latin Restaurant.

Scroll through the participating bartenders’ beautiful cocktails to find the #1:

Skye Hanuel Kim from Ambersand Bistro & Bar
Cocktail: Sassy Secret
Featured Spirit: Cascadian Dry Gin
Souhail Rostainajad from Pourhouse
Cocktail: Amble Breeze
Featured Spirit: Bulldog Gin
Gareth Jones from Juniper Kitchen & Bar
Cocktail: Surely Seaside
Featured Spirit: Sheringham Distillery Seaside Gin
Katie Ingram from Elisa Wood-Fired Grill
Cocktail: Wannabe
Featured Spirit: Tanquery No. Ten Gin + Bittered Sling Clingstone Peach
Sabrine Dhaliwal from Pourhouse
Cocktail: Summer Sunsets
Featured Spirit: Belvedere Vodka

And voted number 1 cocktail for the 4th Annual Night On The Pier…

Robyn Gray from Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Cocktail: Ambleside Punch
Featured Spirit: Santa Teresa Rum

If you missed out on sipping these cocktails at Night On The Pier, you can see what these bartenders are mixing by visiting their bars.

BC Distilled 2017 – Main Tasting April 8th

This week, the fourth annual BC Distilled Festival celebrates British Columbia’s craft and micro-distilleries.

The BC Distilled Main Tasting at the Croatian Cultural Centre on Saturday 6pm – 9pm, brings out 30 plus distilleries, restaurants and other suppliers. Admission to the Main Tasting, $69+ fees, available online, is all you need to enjoy the Main Tasting. Unlike other food and beverage festivals, BC Distilled samples are not ticketed so guests are free to sample any sip that strikes their fancy.  Gin, aged Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Liqueurs and more, the distilleries will be sampling straight spirits and some cocktails, six restaurants will be serving canapés to make sure you’re not drinking on an empty stomach.

In addition to the Main Tasting, smaller events are taking place all week long. The Spirit Showcases series are at Legacy Liquor Store, tonight BC Gin Showcase features eight BC Gins + one non-gin ‘guest’ spirit. Then on Wednesday the BC Barrel-Ages Gin Showcase features eight barrel-aged BC Gins + one non-gin ‘guest’ spirit. The popular BC Whiskey Showcase is already sold out on Tuesday. 

Friday, April 7th another sold out event, the Distillers Dinner at Forage Restaurant is a meal pairing six courses with the products of six local distilleries. Chef Chris Whittaker has created the dinner menu to pair with a straight shot of the spirit as well as a mixed cocktail.

Find tickets for all of the BC Distilled events online at bcdistilled.ca/tickets


Friday Find: Victoria Distillers Tours

Saturday June 11th, 2016 is #WorldGinDay, so it was coincidental to hear about the new Victoria Distillers location in Sidney, BC and their distillery tours and tastings.

vicdistillerVictoria Gin has been a favourite since it was introduced in 2008, new owners expanded the distiller to the Sidney, BC waterfront and have introduced daily tours and tastings.  Visitors get a look at what goes on behind the scenes at one of Canada’s first artisan distillers. Learn about the distillation process, at what goes into and comes from the copper pot stills.  From the botanicals, blending to bottling and hand numbering each bottle guests see it all.  Then, after the tour, get a taste of the finished products. It’s the perfect way to celebrate #WorldGinDay!

Victoria Distillers Tours & Tastings are just $7 / person (children under 19-Free) and take approximately 45 minutes. Book online or by phone 250-544-8217

Watch for Victoria Distiller’s lounge to open soon, offering a change to watch bartenders make use of what the distillery calls their “Liquid Bar Tools”; Victoria Gin, Oaken Gin, Left Oak Hemp Vodka, Craigdarroch Whiskey.

Victoria Distillers is located at 9891 Seaport Place, Sidney, BC

BC Distilled Festival 2016

Tomorrow, the third annual BC Distilled Festival gets underway celebrating British Columbia’s craft and micro-distilleries.

Victoria SpiritsThe festival starts Friday night with a sold-out first of its kind Cask Strength Whiskey Tasting Preview, at the Westin Bayshore,  nine distilleries will be sampling straight from the barrel, under 3 year old (save for one) that are not yet for sale. This your chance to taste the future of BC’s burgeoning distilled industry,

Photo 2014-11-20, 18 42 38Saturday  evening, The Main Tasting Room at the Croatian Cultural Centre brings out 30 plus distilleries and restaurants.  Unlike other food and beverage festivals, BC Distilled samples are not ticketed so guests are free to taste anything that strikes their fancy.  Gin, aged Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Liqueurs and more, the distilleries will be sampling straight spirits and some cocktails.  The Legacy Liquor Store pop-up shop is on location if you want to take home anything you’ve sampled.

Photo 11-27-2013, 20 41 51While the Whiskey Tasting Preview is sold out, Tickets for the Main Tasting Room as available online for $59.99 or $79.99 for VIP Tasting.

Christmas Shopping for the Libation Lover

Vancouver’s cocktail and bar scene has had a great boost in the last few years with the opening of a wide variety of local distilleries.  Along with the distilleries has come a renewed cocktail culture, and side enterprises like locally blended bitters and creative bartenders creating their own spin on classic cocktails.

If Photo 2014-11-20, 18 42 38you have someone on your Christmas Shopping list who’s a fan of a good libation, create a custom cocktail kit of their own filled with Holiday cheer.

Family run, Long Table Distillery is Vancouver’s first micro-distillery and help launch the current spirit revival.  Long Table Distillery offers a selection of gin, vodka and seasonal spirits that make a great gift for the home bartender. Package the bottle in one of their handcrafted pine gift boxers for a terrific Christmas gift.Photo 2014-11-20, 18 25 02
To see the possibilities of what can be created, stop by the Hornby Street distillery & tasting room on Fridays for Gin & Tonic Fridays or Thursdays and Saturdays for their Cocktail Laboratory in partnership with Vancouver Apothecary Bitters, which also make a great gift for a budding bartender.

Photo 2014-11-20, 18 25 21Long Table also offers a great selection of bar tools, mixes and other equipment needed to make the spirits bright all year long.



The Liberty Distillery launches Endeavour Gin

Endeavour_3Spring has sprung and a new crop has bloomed at The Liberty Distillery with the launch of Endeavour Gin.

Endeavour Gin is a versatile London Dry Style Gin. Like all of the spirits from The Liberty Distillery, it begins with 100% organic BC grain. A triple distilled wheat spirit and a botanical gin basket, an elaborate blend of twelve traditional botanicals (selected for their essential oil content) are slowly infused during re-distillation in the distillery’s single copper pot still. The result is a Gin with a clean, fresh, long lasting, and smooth finish; perfect for preparing classic G&T’s and sipping Martinis.

The tasting noted identify Endeavour as a compelling gin with bright floral notes underpinned with savoury botanicals on a solid juniper base. On the palate, juniper is first detected, which is quickly followed by a subtle interplay of citrus and aromatic botanicals; that is lightly brushed with hints of peppery Paradise Seed. Alchemy leads to a seamless, long, smooth, and lingering finish.

Endeavour is extremely supple and easy to drink on its own; when blended it will create intriguing and refreshing cocktails. I look forward to trying it for myself. If it’s like the rest of The Liberty Distillery’s line up, it’ll be terrific. 

Endeavour Gin is available from The Liberty Distillery in 750ml,  375ml, 50ml bottles.
The Liberty Distillery is located at 1494 Old Bridge Road, Granville Island.
Follow them on Twitter @TLDistillery, or on Facebook

Vodka Mixology with Long Table Distillery & Grain Tasting Bar

Mitchell (left) & Jamie welcome us

Recently, a group of us were privileged to get an inside look behind the scenes at what goes into creating some of the cocktails at GRAIN Tasting Bar, one of my favourite newer spots in the city. Brian (@br_webb) won the chance for 5 of us to take part in the experience so Billy (@billyforce), Mary (@maryinvancity), Josh (@joshrimer) and I spent the afternoon learning how to make 4 cocktails and sampling some of GRAIN’s fine foods.

Mitchell Kerr, Bar Manager at GRAIN, who created most of the cocktails on their extensive menu, welcomed us and would be our guide for the afternoon.  Mitchell, and GRAIN itself, has a philosophy of keeping it local when it comes to the ingredients in his drinks, luckily Vancouver has fast become a mecca for locally produced spirits.  Long Table Distillery is one of these great new local producers and would be the key ingredient in the 4 cocktails we were mixing:


Grain_UrbanFarmerUrban Farmer: created by Mark Saxauer,  blends the tastes of fresh, muddled tomatoes, basil, a hint of spice and Long Table Gin to create a fresher, cleaner take on a classic Caesar or Bloody Mary.







Grain_SeatoSkySea To Sky: like a lot of Mitchell’s cocktails is named after a local landmark, a martini using Long Table Gin, St Germaine, basil and citrus flavours it evokes the crisp, fresh feeling one would get as they drove the Sea To Sky Highway.








Zen Martini: named after the Zen Tea that infuses the Vodka used in the cocktail, also combines Drambuie and fruit juices to create a sweet, wholesome feeling martini.








Vancouver Vesper: a local modification on the classic James Bond created Vesper, using Long Table Vodka and Gin with a hint of citrus bitters to make it a local and unique sip.



Each of our cocktails was intermingled with course of GRAIN Tasting Bar‘s great bites. Charcuterie with cheeses and house-made spreads and breads, pulled pork sliders and GRAIN’s renowned pizzas all topped off our afternoon to make it a great experience in a great location.

While you may not have the chance to get the behind the scenes experience that we did, you are guaranteed that whichever drinks and bites you choose you’ll be getting beautiful, creative and locally-sourced tastes.

GRAIN Tasting Lounge is located at 655 Burrard Street, within the Hyatt Regency Vancouver lobby.
Find them online, on Twitter @GRAIN_Bar, or on Facebook
Phone: 604.639.4768