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The CPBA Annual General Meeting was held in mid February. Since then, each member has had a chance to settle into their roles and we are please to announce our 2019 CPBA Board of Directors and their roles.

TREVOR KALLIES, PRESIDENT
Trevor has been in the Vancouver bar industry for close to 20 years. He is a founding member of the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association and is a Cocktail Apprentice Leader at Tales of the Cocktail. We often call him Dad at CPBA events.

President Role Outline:
-Chairs all meetings of the society and of the directors
-Acts as the chief executive officer of the society
-Co-ordinates and directs the other officers in the execution of their duties
-Represents CPBA BC Chapter to members, corporate sponsors, and media
-Is the liaison with CPBA Chapters across Canada as well as other Organizations & Guilds and represents
-Informs the Newsletter committee of key items that need to be communicated to members
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization
-Seeks input from members, directors and corporate sponsors for ideas on events
-Oversee specific duties or committees as needed (Education, Competitions, other)

AMBER BRUCE, VICE PRESIDENT
Amber is the Boss Lady behind the bar at the award winning Keefer Bar in Chinatown. She’s talented, hardworking, fun to be around and probably has the best laugh of the entire board.

-Works with president and assists with the presidential duties
-Chairs meetings and carries out the other duties of the president during the president’s absence
-May be assigned additional duties by the President as needed
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization
-Informs the President of issues and opportunities and provides recommendations for appropriate courses of action
-Oversee specific duties or committees as needed (Education, Competitions, other)

ROBYN GRAY, SECRETARY
Robyn is the Head Bartender of the Hotel Georgia. He is known as the friendliest and most helpful guy you’ll ever meet, as well as the legendary Clover Club birthday parties his parents throw for him every summer when he’s not at Tales.

-Conducts the correspondence of the society excluding that under the jurisdiction of the Communications Director
-Keeps minutes of all meetings of the society and directors. Distributes to directors & members as needed
-Has custody of all records and documents of the society, except those required by the treasurer
-Informs the President of issues and opportunities and provides recommendations for appropriate courses of action
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization
-Provides administrative support as needed
-Oversees specific duties or committees as needed, under direction of President

KYNAN WRIGHT, MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR
Ky works with Chris Chuy, our Events Coordinator, at Lavish Liquid Bar. He can often be found making jokes with Carolyn, our Communications Director. He is the more appropriate of the two.

-Actively recruits new members through participation in Membership Drives
-Keeps registry of new members
-May collect membership funds and passes these on to the treasurer
-Maintains all paperwork in regards to membership forms and submissions
-Co-ordinates printing of membership and corporate supporter cards for the directors and liaises with Corporate Liaison
-Sends out receipts and member cards as people join up within established timeline
-Works with Newsletter team to coordinate membership renewal notices to be sent out via Constant Contact to all members as needed
-Informs the President of issues and opportunities and provides recommendations for appropriate courses of action
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization
-management & distribution of Challenge coins and other membership items when available

JS DUPUIS, TREASURER
JS is an OG in the industry. He is the Beverage Director of Wentworth Hospitality Group (Homer St, Tableau) and our resident French Canadian on the board.

-Keeps the financial records, necessary to comply with the Society Act
-Provides financial statements to the directors as requested and to members at the AGM
-Keeps records maintained/updated and available for CPBA audits
-Maintains the bank account
-Co-ordinates payment of bills as required
-Provides assistance to the Event Coordinator on financial budgets for events and meetings when required
-Informs the President of issues and opportunities and provides recommendations for appropriate courses of action
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization

JON SMOLENSKY, CORPORATE LIASION
Jon owns liquor distribution company, Sovereign. He is known for his outgoing personality, charming smile and vast knowledge of absolutely everything in the industry. If you’re ever bored, ask Jon literally any single question and he will have several 20 minute answers waiting for you.

-Represents the collective views of the corporate supporters to the board
-Helps to develop and enforce CPBA criteria and standards, ensuring each Corporate/Associate Supporter is upholding those standards
-Assist with the promotion of corporate supporter events, articles etc through social media when possible.
-Ensures CPBA BC Chapter corporate contact information is kept up to date & CPBA is supplying Corporate members with promised items
-Coordinate with Creative team to ensure the corporate supporters’ details, logo and member benefits are listed in CPBA BC Chapter web site
-Acts as a conduit to the Communication Director for news from the corporate supporters that should be circulated via newsletter
-Ensures corporate sponsors get their logo in any communication applicable to members (newsletters discussing those topics, events, promotions, competitions etc.)
-Recruits new corporate supporters with the assistance of the executive and a volunteer team to help reach outer areas
-Provides input to the Vice President regarding any events that may involve corporate sponsors
-Annually invoices the corporate supporters upon renewal time
-Follows up with corporate sponsors that indicate they are not renewing, to find out why and report back to the board
-Informs the President of issues and opportunities and provides recommendations for appropriate courses of action
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization

CAROLYN YU, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR 1 
(PR/Media/Marketing/Newsletter)

Carolyn can be found behind the wood at Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar. She is obsessed with finding another cat to adopt and loves telling inappropriate jokes.

-Coordinates consistent branding and message to newsletter, website, Mixers etc
-Newsletter coordinator and final proofer. Co-ordinates formulation and distribution of the weekly electronic newsletter
-Monitors the maintenance of current content for the CPBA BC Chapter web site via Creative Director
-Writes/sources articles on CPBA BC Chapter events for Newsletter
-Drafts communications to the media with input from the President and the other directors and delivers these to the media with the approval of the board
-Informs the President of issues and opportunities and provides recommendations for appropriate courses of action.
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization

DEVIN McKEIGAN, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR 2
(Social Media, twitter, facebook)

Devin moved to Vancouver just over a year ago from Edmonton. She is a lover of dogs and owns a Boston Terrier named Chloe. This industry is her passion. Favourite cocktail: Toronto

-Coordinates consistent branding and message to all social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter etc)
-manages frequent content to be displayed on website, facebook page and twitter feed
-Communicates the latest developments on CPBA events and those of corporate sponsors to CPBA members through Facebook and Twitter
-continually looks for opportunities to expand CPBA into the Social media world (new platforms, industry uses, beneficial apps etc)
-Informs the President of issues and opportunities and provides recommendations for appropriate courses of action.
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization

CHRIS CHUY, EVENTS COORDINATOR
Chris is the mastermind behind his events company, Lavish Liquid Bar. He is an industry veteran with the sense of humour that all dads can appreciate.

-Seeks input from members, directors and corporate supporters for ideas on events
-Seeks opportunities to work with our Corporate Supporters to help support their events
-Oversees the Events Sub Committee
-Co-ordinates planning (budget, supplies needed, ticket price etc), promotion and implementation of events
-Co-ordinates volunteers at events
-Co-ordinates with sub committee to execute event needs
-Informs the Communications Director of planned events for social media and newsletter
-Promotes CPBA initiatives at industry events and throughout the cocktail and bar & restaurant communities
-Helps to execute membership drives with Membership Coordinator
-Co-ordinates ordering of promotional supplies
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization
-informs the President of issues and opportunities and provides recommendations for appropriate courses of action
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization

CAM BROWN, EDUCATION LIAISON
Cam oversees the bar program at Clough Club and Lamplighter. He probably knows more about the science of drinks than anyone on this list. Have a technical question about absolutely anything? Ask Cam.

-Seeks input from members, directors and corporate supporters for ideas on education
-Seeks opportunities to work with our Corporate Supporters to help educate their employees (ex. Distillation, ingredients, not just “good juice”)
-Oversees the Education Sub Committee
-Creates and maintains online education component on the CPBA BC Chapter website
-Creates and maintains an education brochure that can be take to our Corporate Supporters for training purposes
-Informs the President of issues and opportunities and provides recommendations for appropriate courses of action.
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization

BRICE PERESSINI, COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Brice is the founding member of Omakase Consulting, and also has a new and exciting youtube channel, where he covers everything from classic cocktails, to book reviews. Sorry, Carolyn, no cat videos yet.

Community Outreach & Special Projects Manager Role Description
-Assists Corporate Liaison and Events Coordinators with follow up on outside sales correspondence
-Assists on project management as developed by the board
-Is responsible for organizing volunteer/community outreach for special projects that relate to members and other, like-minded organizations
-Is responsible for assisting in curating and managing website content as related to community projects.

MAX BORROWMAN, OKANAGAN LIAISON
Max is 100% the nicest guy on our board. He is originally from the Okanagan, so this role is a no brainer for him. After spending over two years at Juniper, he is off on a new adventure that is completely his own. Needs to connect with someone outside of Vancouver area? Max is your man.

-Connect with smaller market bartenders and bar operators to encourage CPBA activity outside of major cities
-Work with Corporate Liaison to encourage offerings of brand ambassadors and educators to visit and create an impact on smaller markets outside of Vancouver
-Work to spread the values of the CPBA to smaller markets through education and opportunities
-Informs the President of issues and opportunities and provides recommendations for appropriate courses of action.
-Communicates with other directors as needed to ensure the smooth running of the organization

JAYCE KADYSCHUK, VANCOUVER ISLAND LIAISON
Jayce is the Bar Manager of the award winning Clive’s Classic Lounge in Victoria. If you need a connect in Vancouver..

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We have a small crew of Canadian Bartenders heading to San Juan for this year’s Tales of the Cocktail On Tour in San Juan Puerto Rico. You can live vicariously through them by following their stories via Instagram (@BCBartender, @tkallies, @robynagray) as they explore Tales on Tour Seminars and TOTC events. Get a behind the scenes look at the Cocktail Apprentice Program through pictures and images. Experience No. 36 on the World’s Best Bars list (La Factoria) through their eyes during the Tales of the Cocktail pop-up.

Trevor Kallies is the CPBA President as well as a Tales of the Cocktail Cocktail Apprentice White Coat.

Robyn Gray is the Head Bartender at Prohibition at the Hotel Georgia and CPBA Secretary.

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Almost two years ago we touched base with Chris Chuy, proprietor of Lavish Liquid Bar Services, to ask him about some of his favourite cocktails, teachable moments, and his general thoughts on the service industry.

And since a lot can happen in two years, we’re checking in with him again to discuss changes in the bar biz, new trends and what to look forward to…

Twitter Time – who are you and what do you do (in under 140 characters):

Wannabe bartender, who talks like he knows shit but just googles things during conversations like everyone else does. I own a cocktail catering company and it’s rad.

What’s new with you? 

I’m starting a couple new ventures with family and friends. It’s pretty hush hush for now…

How have you seen the industry change in the last few years? 

It’s become more of a community and less about bars and restaurants competing against eachother. Also some places are focused a lot more about the experience and less about just banging out a million vodka sodas and Jager bombs.

Has anything changed about the way you run your business in the last few years?

I’ve approached clients in a different way. Being honest about expectations versus reality. Educating people about the ins and outs, the dos and don’ts, the culture and why we do what we do. It’s refreshing to see how open people are becoming about the bar industry.

Has your style of cocktail making changed with the times, or is it more classic? 

At this time, I’m moving back towards the classic styles again. I love reconnecting with the simpler styles that were the root of what everyone is doing now. If you could compare it to music, I’m getting away from listening to progressive rock music and listening to the Beatles.

Do you have a definitive cocktail style?

Tom Cruise style…

Where do you look for inspiration when designing new drinks?

Mostly from life experiences, history & music.

Any local products you are particularly excited about?

I am actually stoked with what Christos is coming up with at Central City. Also my bartender Quinton Leary has some fun bitters which well be doing more production of soon.

Worst drink you’ve ever created?

Grad year in high school, when we used to get booze by standing outside of a liquor store waiting for a kind enough stranger to get us something that was full of sugar and low ABV. One of my best friends and I mixed in rootbeer schnapps in with rootbeer… cause we were awesome and still are

What’s the best part of what you do? And what’s the most challenging part?

Best part – Getting invited to the parties, schmoozing with the cool people, hanging out with buds while working.

Challenging part – I NEED MORE STAFF!!! Want a job?

What is your favorite spirit to work with behind the bar?

Bourbon, but if I could work with some other form of spirit behind the bar, can I mix drinks with Frank Sinatra?

Do you have any notable “teachable moments” from behind the bar?

First time I was singled out at a “bar safety meeting”,the boys were welcoming me to the team. I thought they were going to tell me how slow and shitty I was at the age of 20 being it was my first real busy bar job. We all slammed a cheeky beer, gave each other high fives, and got ourselves pumped up for the night. They gave me a lot of support and let me know that they all started just like me, slow, nervous and clueless to a bunch of shit we served…Gotta have a solid bar TEAM, with cheeky beers. Keep the morale high and work environment fun.

What’s your go to drink to mix for someone who doesn’t typically drink cocktails?

A Tommys Margarita!

Favorite local bar? Favorite bar abroad?

Does my couch count for local bar? Grab a bottle from the shelf, a glass and put on a movie. Favourite bar abroad would have to be Multnomah Whiskey Library in Portland. #heaven

On a night off, what are you doing?

Trying to turn off my brain, doing some laundry, trying to eat something healthy and binge on some shows.

Your dream boilermaker? (Can be anything you like!)

Off The Rail Brewing – Raj Mahal India Ale & Woodford Reserve.

Check out our original interview with him here.

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OG Twitter time – who are you and what do you do (in under 140 characters):

My name is Satoshi. I manage and bartend at Grapes and soda in South Granville

How did you get into bartending? 

A night club bartending job in Kyoto, Japan

Do you have a definitive cocktail style?

Cocktail pairing with food and savoury drinks.

Where do you look for inspiration when designing new drinks?

It is very fortunate to work next door to Farmer’s apprentice restaurant. I take a sneak peak of their walk-in fridge for my daily cocktail and often ask cooks if they have anything fun they are working on.  Most importantly, we are trying to minimize our food waste by saving trims of fruits or mint stems to make syrups and soda.

Any local products you are particularly excited about?

Odd society spirits Mia Amata Amaro, Okanagan spirits poire williams

Worst drink you’ve ever created?

Onion consommé martini with cheddar infused gin and amontillado sherry. I’d like to come back to it some time for improvement but not any time soon.

What’s the best part of what you do? And what’s the most challenging part?

The flexibility to change menu and ingredients to use daily basis. The challenge is when seasonal ingredients are not available.

What is your favorite spirit to work with behind the bar?

 Anything but Vodka

Do you have any notable “teachable moments” from behind the bar?

I like batching cocktail to some extent, at least alcoholic components for the items on the current menu. It improves efficiency and ensures consistency. You will have smoother operation and have more time to engage your customers and to think irregular dealer’s choice order. Not for everyone, but works very well in our working environment at Grapes and Soda.

What’s the most memorable moment you’ve ever had working behind a bar?

It is at the Elk Room at the Diamond when I was barbacking when tales of.  cocktail was held in 2011.

What’s your go to drink to mix for someone who doesn’t typically drink cocktails?

Forager’s Gimlet. It is an archived cocktail at Grapes and Soda, made with gin, lime, Canadian hemlock syrup and juniper tincture. Very refreshing and citrusy.

Favorite local bar? Favorite bar abroad?

Local: Gringo, Diamond, Crowbar.  Abroad: Bar Benfiddich, Rocking chair

On a night off, what are you doing?

Playing ping pong at Back and Forth

Your dream boilermaker? (Can be anything you like!)

Wild Turkey 101 & Brassneck Ambiguation

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The day that BC Bar Industry legend Gerry Jobe came to the realization that Tabasco was not merely a store brand of hot sauce and was actually closer to a topical bar ingredient that was making waves in cocktail culture will go down as one of the funniest in not-so-recent memory. I can still hear his voice ringing in my ears & all over my social media feeds: Ol’ McIlhenny’s Chili Pepper Shrub!

It spawned an interest for local bar-keeps to learn more about this multi-century old process of extending shelf-life, discover new ways of adding acidity to drinks without citrus and of course taught those following and contributing to the Facebook thread that there was much more to Tabasco than spice.

The company turns 150 this year, is still family operated and boast just 200 employees and as the heading will tell you – they are fighting for survival, but not in a business sense. Below is an article from Earther.com. It is most definitely worth the 5minute read.

Original article here.

_______

Row after row of blackened wood barrels are piled 30 feet high in a dim warehouse on Avery Island in southern Louisiana. Harold “Took” Osborn leads me through the endless stacks, in a setting reminiscent of the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The recycled bourbon casks are filled with Tabasco mash, laid to rest for three years until they’re ready to become the signature condiment. Some of the barrels are bubbling with the gaseous byproducts of the aging process. The air is thick with the smell of pepper, vinegar, and salt. We are both coughing.

“Deer conglomerate here when the mosquitos get really bad,” Osborn tells me, explaining that that the vapors are powerful enough to drive away the bugs.

Osborn is the executive Vice President of McIlhenny, the company behind Tabasco, and the great-great grandson of Edmund McIlhenny, who first concocted the popular pepper sauce on Avery Island in the 1860s. He started working for Tabasco as a kid in the 1970s (unofficially, and discreetly paid). Although they now produce more Tabasco sauce in one day than Edmund McIlhenny made in his entire life, the process has transitioned to mass production with few alterations.

“It’s remarkable how little has changed,” he says.

When we walk out of the warehouse into the sun and breathable air, though, we come across one of the few conspicuous changes Avery Island has seen over the past century: a 17-foot levee that encircles 38 acres of the Tabasco operation. The company was forced to make this $5 million investment in 2005 after Hurricane Rita nearly flooded the facility.

Even though it’s only 152 feet above sea level at its peak, Avery Island is one the highest points in the Gulf Coast. A two hour drive west of New Orleans, it sits atop an enormous salt dome that bulges from the earth, elevating the land above the swamps and bayous that surround it. A generation ago, it was unthinkable that this natural fortress could be overcome by water. But Hurricane Rita’s threatening surges were a symptom of an immense shift in the Gulf Coast, the result of decades of harsh land use practices and climate change.

“The waters are rising,” Osborn says.

Now, the McIlhennys are fighting to save the island to which their family history and business are inextricably linked.

This $5 million, 17 foot tall levee was constructed after Hurricane Rita nearly flooded the Tabasco factories in 2005.
Photo: Michael Isaac Stein

Louisiana is losing land at a rate of one football field every 100 minutes. The marshes that provide a buffer between the coast and the temperamental Gulf of Mexico are falling apart, exposing the cities and towns of Southern Louisiana to the direct blow of storm surges. “If you don’t have marsh and natural systems out ahead to knock down that surge, you’re just a sitting duck,” says Randy Moertle, a longtime biologist and the land manager of Avery Island.

The Mississippi River once reinforced the swamps and marshes with its excess freshwater and the tons of sediment it carried. But this process was inhibited when levees were constructed to contain the river and prevent flooding, a project that ramped up significantly in the mid-19th century. Today, Louisiana’s Flood Protection Authority estimates there are roughly 1,000 miles of flood control structures along the entire length of the river and its tributaries.

Industry has also taken its toll. Since the early 20th century, tens of thousands of miles of wetlands have been dredged to build canals and lay oil and gas pipelines. The dredging changed the delicate hydrology of the wetlands and carved paths for saltwater intrusion, which kills the freshwater vegetation holding the land together. Some of the canals have naturally tripled in width since they were built, eroding their banks over time.

“We’ve been here 150 years. And I believe that someone will be here to celebrate the 300th anniversary.”

Meanwhile, intensifying hurricanes and sea level rise, driven by climate change, are aggravating all these problems.

Over a cup of Tabasco ice cream smothered in blueberry Tabasco sauce (surprisingly good), Osborn tells me he’s optimistic that they’ll remain on the island, even as a flurry of recent media attention has framed their future as uncertain. “We fight hard. We’ve been here 150 years. And I believe that someone will be here to celebrate the 300th anniversary,” he said.

Osborn, who holds a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Oxford, has led an effort to protect the island since the early 1990s. Insisting that the solution doesn’t lie in engineered protection alone, he instead uses a holistic approach that treats the protection of ecosystems, wildlife, and culture as parallel goals.

“When levees are looked at as a panacea, it never works,” he says. “A marsh breaks up a hurricane more than any levee can do.”

His ultimate goal is to protect and rebuild the marshes that act as a cushion between his island and storm surges. To that end, the company has planted cord grass to plug up old canals and fortify the wetlands. They’ve invested in water control structures to regulate the wetlands’ delicate circulatory system. They hunt the invasive feral hogs that erode the swamps.

“That’s just the stuff that worked,” Osborn says. “I could give you an even longer list of things that didn’t work.” The autonomy of being part of a family-owned company allows Osborn to experiment with any idea that’s affordable and seems worth trying.

The McIlhenny family built these terraces, known as Bird City, in 1895 to help Snowy Egrets rebound from near extinction.
Photo: Michael Isaac Stein

Osborn’s most ambitious, and arguably most successful, experiment came in 2014 when he helped found the Rainey Conservation Alliance (RCA)—a coalition of major landowners in Iberia and Vermilion parishes who have dedicated themselves to restoring and conserving the coast. (Avery Island is in Iberia Parish, but sits close to the border between the two.)

“We were competing against each other for these multi million dollar coastal restoration projects to go on our own property,” Moertl explains. “So we came up with the idea of forming an alliance. Let’s erase our property boundaries, and let’s work together, pool our resources and our expertise, and see if we can’t go after this with a more regional approach.”

“The property boundaries are artificial,” says Osborn. “If your neighbor’s land starts eroding, so will yours.”

The RCA now manages over half a million acres of land, and Moertle calls the effort “off the charts successful.” They’ve been able to secure tens of millions of dollars for coastal projects including marsh creation, bank stabilization, and hydrologic management programs. And Osborn and Moertle say they’ve been more effective than most of the coast at keeping oil and gas companies in check, compelling them to use more sustainable practices and help mend the damage caused by decades of operations.

The RCA also helps government officials plan projects and shape regulations. “We’re the on the ground people,” says Moertle. “Federal and state employees have an understanding somewhat of what’s going on, but I’ve been in the marsh every day of my life. I’ve watched it change.”

Eighty five percent of Louisiana’s coast is privately owned, and Osborn sees this type of local, private effort as a key ingredient for maintaining a healthy coast. But whether this model can be recreated en masse by landowners along the entire Louisiana coastline is unclear.

Osborn hops behind the counter at the Avery Island Tabasco shop to show off his favorite products.
Photo: Michael Isaac Stein

Tabasco is something of an anomaly among companies of its size. It’s a privately owned business, unaccountable to shortsighted shareholders, and its owners have a long tradition of conservation and preservation. In the 19th century, E.A. McIlhenny founded a wildfowl refuge on the family property that helped bring Snowy Egrets back from the verge of extinction. The McIlhennys have donated thousands of acres of land on and near Avery Island to the Audubon Society, and in 1971, the family adopted the motto “Man and Environment in Balance.”

What’s more, unlike many of the Texas-based oil and gas operators that own vast tracts of Louisiana land, the McIlhennys are firmly established in Louisiana. “We have a saying here,” Osborn tells me. “If you break a branch tree on an oak tree, you plant an oak tree. I’ll never be here to see them grow to be big, but someone will.”

Whether other Louisiana companies will follow Tabasco’s model of corporate responsibility, or whether Tabasco’s environmentalism will stand out as a singular case of a wealthy, conservation-minded family with strong geographic roots, remains to be seen.

But Louisiana doesn’t have much time to wait and see.

Based in New Orleans, Michael Isaac Stein writes about criminal justice and the environment in the Gulf.

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Twitter time — who are you and what do you do (in under 140 characters):

I’m Reece and I am a bartender, cocktail enthusiast, gym junkie, bacon lover and Whiskey Muse founder.

How did you get into bartending?

Oof, it’s a long story. But to try and give you the short version: I worked in Marketing/PR in Architecture, Interior Design + Urban Planning for a number of years. In mid-2014, I yearned for a change and decided to quit my corporate life. Wanting some time off to figure out my next move, I went full “Eat Pray Love” and moved down to Santa Monica for the summer. I came back to Vancouver in Fall 2014 with a vision to start a marketing consultancy. The only problem? I was broke (living in Los Angeles ain’t cheap!). So I picked up at bartending job at a local pub/nightclub and quickly realized how creative, fun and fascinating the world of spirits was. Flash forward to 2018 and I’ve truly been able to marry both of my worlds together, consulting/producing content in the spirits industry by day and bartending by night!

Do you have a definitive cocktail style? 

Over garnishing everything. (I WILL cut your name/initials out of a citrus peel any chance I get!)

Where do you look for inspiration when designing new drinks?

I follow a number of cocktail-related hashtags and people on Instagram. I am constantly taking screen shots of beautiful cocktails or interesting recipes and then researching their flavour pairings. Either that or asking Chris Mosey for a great cocktail name and building out the ingredients from there.

Any local products you are particularly excited about?

There are tons of great local products in the mix these days, however, some modifiers that I’ve been loving in cocktails lately include: Sons of Vancouver Amaretto, Odd Society Spirits’ Creme de Cassis, Legend Distilling’s Naramaro and The Woods Spirits’ Amaro.

Worst drink you’ve ever created?

My friend Jayce, Bar Manager of Clive’s Classic Lounge and I went on a cocktail crawl in Victoria and one of the cocktails on his bar’s list (created by West Bourget) was called “Funk & Seoul”. It contained a kimchi elixir. Inspired by this, I bought kimchi and tried many iterations to make a cocktail with it. None of the results were good. I still have a stomach ache thinking about it.

What’s the best part of what you do? And what’s the most challenging part?

My favourite part of my job is combination of creativity and conversation that I get to do. Creating a memorable experience for guests via customizing their drinks, teaching them something new, or just having a meaningful discussion is so satiating. The most challenging part is the long hours and late nights.

What is your favorite spirit to work with behind the bar?

Whisk(e)y of course! But more specifically, probably Bourbon or a high-rye Canadian whisky.

Do you have any notable “teachable moments” from behind the bar?

I would think my biggest piece of advice for aspiring bartenders is “it’s not what you know it’s how you make people feel”. Of course it’s important to invest in yourself, your knowledge and your skill sets but providing exceptional hospitality (in your own unique way) amongst guests, coworkers and peers is what’s going to set you apart.

That being said, here are some other overheard gems from friends:

Chris Mosey: “There are two types of drinks in this world, blue drinks and disappointing drinks.”
Liana Madera: “Build stirred drinks first and shaken drinks second.”
Cari Leslie: “At the end of the night, always go through your checklist: phone, wallet, keys, fruit order.”
Jesse Finnigan:
“When in doubt, make it a double.”
Kristi Leigh:
“When purchasing a new peeler for the bar, be sure to also stock up on bandaids.”

What’s the most memorable moment you’ve ever had working behind a bar?

My first bartending job was at the Blarney Stone in Gastown and two of my co-workers, Tanner and Robyn and I decided to take a trip to Ireland together. As we ventured around the country and eventually arrived in Belfast, we were determined to visit the iconic Harp Bar, which is housed in the original headquarters for The Old Bushmills Distilling Company. When we arrived and sat at the bar we ordered boilermakers (which consisted of Harp and Bushmills of course!). Feeling rather audacious, I asked if I could look at the bar setup behind the bar, and the bartender said “yes, in fact you can pour the beers and whiskeys back there too. Less work for me.” It was a pretty epic moment.

What’s your go to drink to mix for someone who doesn’t typically drink cocktails?

If I absolutely had to choose I guess I’d say a Paper Plane (equal parts Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino + Lemon). However, I try not to have a “go-to”. I’d rather spend the 30 seconds asking the guest a few questions and catering a drink (or drink recommendation) to them.

Favorite local bar? Favorite bar abroad?

That would be like choosing a favourite child! For me it’s all about the people. I love going to visit friends at their places of work. After all, the people define the bar, the bar doesn’t define the people. Abroad (ish), I was pretty blown away when I had the opportunity to visit Bar Chef (in Toronto) this past year.

On a night off, what are you doing?

I might go out for a drink with friends on the rare occasion but I’m usually at home researching cocktail ideas, ideating content for YouTube videos, editing photos/video, or designing flavours wheels/infographics related to Whiskey Muse. Producing short weekly videos takes a lot more time than you’d think! That or maybe I’m just slow.

Your dream boilermaker? (Can be anything you like!)

My dream boilermaker of the moment would be either Parallel 49 Tricycle Grapefruit Radler with Red Breast 21 or a Lonetree Cider with Glen Grant 18.

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