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.

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

June is Provence Rosés month

June is Provence Rosé month and in celebration of the world’s oldest Rosé and French wine region, Provence in Southern France, Vancouverites are invited to free tastings across the Lower Mainland.

Provence-Wines of Provence Wine GlassProvence has been a leading wine region in France for generations, known for its specialty in making Rosé wines. The popularity of Provence Rosés has grown to represent 5.6% of worldwide Rosé production with an average of 141 million bottles produced each year.

Perfect for patio sipping or pairing with any cuisine, Provence Rosés are versatile, fresh, pale in colour, dry and affordable. For casual wine drinkers, like me, Provence Rosés make a great all purpose wine for every occasion.

Throughout the month of June, Wines of Provence free tastings allow the public to experience a taste of Provence Rosés. Some of the Provence Rosé Events include:Provence-Wine and food

  • Liberty Wine Merchants (Granville Island) – Celebrate Provence Rosé
    Friday, June 3rd, 2016 – 11:00am-5:00pm
    Liberty Wine Merchants-Granville Island, 1660 Johnston Street Taste Provence Rosés paired with Provencal canapés by chef Lori Smithers-Ruiz.
  • 39th & Cambie BCLDB – It’s Provence Rosé!
    Saturday, June 4th, 2016 – 1:00pm-5:00pm
    BC Liquor Store-39th and Cambie, 5555 Cambie St.
    Taste Provence Rosés with Provencal canapés provided by The Bon Vivant Catering Group.
  • Liberty Wine Merchants (various locations)- Weekly Provence Rosé tasting
    Complimentary weekly tastings in the month of June 2016 at select Liberty Wine Merchants stores. Please contact each store for tasting schedule and details.

Stop by any or all of the Provence Rosé Events in June and pick up a featured bottle at a BCLDB Store or Liberty Wine Merchant.

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.



La Mezcaleria Cocktails

Friday afternoon, guests at the #OaxacanTasting at La Mezcaleria were treating to some very refreshing and tasty cocktails created by Kelly Ann Woods.

Photo 2014-05-30, 11 02 46Put on in conjunction with the Tequila Expo, the afternoon started with a welcome cocktail, “Spiked Agua Fresca” – Watermelon Thai Basil con piquete (or without).  Garnished with a bright cube of watermelon, it was a great summer splash on a sunny day.






Photo 2014-05-30, 11 40 58As the food preparation and associated aromas filled the air, along came a palate warmer, “Spring in San Pancho” – Silver Tequila, housemade berry syrup, jamaica, berries and soda. Even a virgin version was a refreshing, fizzy pick-me-up.

When the meal was ready, Chef Susana Trilling’s Enchiladas Oaxaqueño were served with a “Tamarindo Margarita” – Tamarind infused Tequila, lemon, agave, tajine and orange flavours blended into a light and clean tasting Margarita. The flavours softened the usual hard bite of the tequila.

As the spot in the city for Mescal, a visit to La Mezcaleria wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the Mexican spirit as well.

Kindly mixologist Kelly Ann Woods has shared her recipe for the ” Tamarindo Margarita” so you can enjoy one with your Enchiladas Oaxaqueño, after spending the day making Mole and the Enchiladas you’ll need it.



IMG_3470Tamarindo Margarita
Rim a rocks glass with Tajin*
Fill with ice
In a shaker, put:
1.5 oz Tamarind infused silver tequila**
0.5 oz triple sec
2 oz lemon juice
1 oz agave syrup
Shake hard for about 30 seconds
Strain into the rocks glass
Garnish with an orange slice
*a common Latin specialty store condiment that is sprinkled on fruit and veggies in Mexico. Made from dehydrated lime, chili and salt.
** dry tamarind can be found in specialty Latin or Indian food stores I blocks. Break off up to a quarter of a brick, put it in a large mason jar, fill with silver tequila and let it sit for 3 days. Then, strain and use.
If you don’t want to make it, head over to La Mezcaleria at 1622 Commercial Drive an try the cocktails first hand.
See what else you can taste and try at La Mezcaleria by following the restaurant on Twitter @LaMezcaleriaYVR , Instagram @LaMezcaleriaYVR and facebook.com/LaMezcaleriaYVR

Christmas Gift Ideas 2013 – Local Liquor

Victoria Spirits  Photo 12-3-2013, 18 59 32With recent changes in BC Liquor laws (and more to come), there is a plethora of great distilleries and breweries popping up alongside the Lower Mainland already renowned wineries.

There’s something for everyone; Long Table Distillery, Victoria Spirits,  Odd Society Spirits, Liberty Distillery, Yaletown Distillery / Brewery, Granville Island Brewery, Brassneck Brewery, Parallel 49 Brewing,  Vancouver Urban Winery and many more new additions are all putting their stamp on our liquor cabinets with some great products.

Photo 11-27-2013, 20 41 51

Visit them and have a sip in their tasting rooms and pick up a great gift to surely raise the Christmas Spirits on your list!

Photo 11-27-2013, 20 40 18

Grain Tasting Bar

Recently refurbished and updated,  GRAIN Tasting Bar in the Hyatt Vancouver is a welcome addition to the downtown business district. A sleek new look has turned this restaurant/lounge into the perfect location to impress your business lunch, afternoon meeting or after-work cocktails.   The wall of retracting windows blurs the lines of outdoors and indoors to create a one of a kind urban patio so you can enjoy the fresh local fare in all weather or enjoy the comfortable lounge surrounded by glass, rustic reclaimed wood and rich leather.

Chef Thomas Heinrich has created a light menu of wood-fired flatbreads, sandwiches, salads and charcuterie freshly sourced from local suppliers and producers. Fresh bread, meats from Oyama Sausage Co., Ocean Wise Skuna Bay Salmon, organic Spring Creek Beef and Gelderman Farms Pork, cheese from Little Qualicum, Natural Pastures and Saltspring Island form the perfect accompaniment to GRAIN’s signature cocktails.

Again, fresh and local is highlight of the drinks menu, as Mitchell Kerr, GRAIN Bar Manager states of their philosophy: “GRAIN Tasting Bar is a nod to regional suppliers, brewers and distillers. A place where locals and guests to the city can sample local offerings from Vancouver’s finest suppliers while enjoying craft beer, artisan cocktails or VQA wine.”   Local suppliers like; Howe Sound, Lighthouse,  Red Truck Beer, R & B Breweries sit along spirits from Long Table Distillery, Okanagan Spirits, Victoria Spirits are partnered with classic imports to create a unique cocktail menu.

GRAIN introduced a series of new cocktails this summer (below) with more tea infused autumn drinks coming this season to keep the menu evolving and interesting.

Eastern Sunrise – Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, Campari, Sweet Vermouth, Burnt Orange Simple Syrup and Orange Zest
Cypress Mountain Tea – Rooibos Infused Gin, Okanagan Spirits ‘Taboo’ Absinthe, Blueberry Juice and Earl Grey Syrup
Xombie – Vanilla Infused Dark Rum, 151 Bacardi Rum, Sweet & Sour Mix, Pineapple Juice, Passion Fruit Syrup & Cherry Bitters
Blood Diamond – J & B Scotch, Okanagan Spirits Cherry Liquer, Laphroaig Quarter Cask, Sweet Vermouth, Cranberry Juice
Tatanka – Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, Drambuie, Apple Juice, Pear Juice, Passion Fruit Syrup & Angostura Bitters
Vancouver Fog – Earl Grey Infused Whisky, Stoli Vanilla Vodka, Simpler Syrup, Half & Half
The Perfect Gin & Tonic – Long Table Gin, Fever Free Naturaly Light Tonic, Orange Essence