Tales of the Cocktail has been bringing mixologists, spirit enthusiasts, professionals and suppliers together for the last eight years with their festival in New Orleans. For the first time ever, the festival is going on tour and they have made Vancouver their very first destination — with plans to make the Vancouver edition an annual event.
“This is a Vancouver-based event because we’ve done some great things that have been noticed,” said Jay Jones, Consulting and Founding member of the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association (and new Lead Bartender at Market by Jean-George at the Shangri-La). Jones has been in the industry for 15 years and he told me that this event will showcase the work of our local cocktail community and bring some much-deserved international recognition which can benefit the city as a whole.
The micro-festival in Vancouver will reflect the same high-standards of the New Orleans event, but highlight the Pacific Northwest, and more so Canada’s position on the world cocktail stage.
“It can help drive tourism and people will soon visit the city for its cocktail culture,” added Jones. “We’re known for our hospitality, natural beauty, restaurants, chefs, wine, and environment, and now you can add ‘great cocktails’ to form a complete package.”
Bringing the event here was the first step, the next was filling up the festival’s schedule with seminars and events that would showcase Canada’s spirit culture from coast to coast.
Seminars recently announced on the schedule include: Famous New Orleans Cocktails, For the Love of Gin: How the Historic Spirit is Making a ComebackThe Birth, Death and Rebirth of Canadian Whisky, The History and Importance of Ice in Cocktails, The Science of Cocktails: New Techniques Behind the Bar, and Who’s Your Daddy? A Mai Tai Paternity Test.
Special events include a tribute to the Caesar (“Canada’s Cocktail”), and a BC bar crawl. “A big part of the event is bringing the global community to Vancouver and getting them into our bars,” added Jones who praised the creative and innovative bartenders in our local establishments.
Tales of the Cocktail Vancouver will kick off with a welcome reception at the Vancouver Aquarium, a place Jones says is very fitting. “It will showcase our sea life, tourism, and some of the most beautiful things in our part of the world.” The theme of the event is “Gibson’s Finest Canadian Whisky presents “True North” and cocktails will be inspired by various regions of Canada. Attendees will also be able to taste Vancouver’s new signature cocktail — the Dalhousie by Jonathan Smolensky of George in Yaletown — that was determined in a competition earlier this month.
Recipe for the Dalhousie
Start by taking 6-8 Canada plums, which have been dehydrated in coarse sugar, and steep them in Gibsonâ€™s 18yr Canadian whisky for 4-5 days. Then use these ingredients:
60 ml (2 oz.) Canada plum infused 18yr Gibson’s
15 ml (1/2 oz.) Domaine de Canton liqueur
10 ml (1/3 oz.) Zwack Unicum
1-2 dashes of high quality rendition of Boker’s bitters
1. Chill a coupe glass and a mixing/Boston glass.
2. In a mixing glass, add the Canada plum infused 18yr Gibson’s, the Domaine de Canton, the Zwack Unicum, and Boker’s bitters. Stir until heavy and properly diluted.
3. Remove the pith of the lemon peel and rub the peel on the inside edge of the coupe glass, then toss the peel.
4. Double strain all mixed ingredients into the coupe glass and garnish with a small Canada plum fan.
The entire 3-day festival will wrap up with a Mardi Gras style closing reception and the finale, “Good Bye Vancouver, Hello New Orleans” Cochon de Lait. Tales of the Cocktail Vancouver runs March 13th until the 15th and tickets are now on sale.
The festival will return home to New Orleans July 20th – 24th, 2011 with its spirited schedule of seminars, dinners, competitions, parties and special events. Follow @TOTC on Twitter for festival updates.