Vancouver bar stars compete in the "Olympics of bartending"

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Photo courtesy Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

16 of Vancouver’s best bartenders came together at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar this past Tuesday to compete in the world’s most prestigious bartending event, the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year Competition.

Considered “the Olympics of bartending”, the Canadian regional finals are held in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver with the top 10 competitors heading to Chicago, Illinois for the Canadian nationals (coinciding with the Americans) which will run the gauntlet of bartending challenges testing both skill and nerve. The winner will then represent Canada amongst the top 16 competitors from around the globe, facing off in Cape Town, South Africa this coming September for the prestigious title of World Class Bartender of the Year.

Here in Vancouver, the regional finals saw such esteemed bartending talent as Alex Black of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Adam Domet of Bufala, Kyle Hamilton of Clough Club, Amber Bruce of Cuchillo, Thor Paulson of The Diamond, Cooper Tardivel of Hawksworth Restaurant, Matt Cooke of Homer St. Café and Bar, Joe Cheng of Italian Kitchen, Danielle Tatarin and Gez McAlpine of The Keefer Bar, Max Borrowman of the Lobby Lounge at The Fairmont Pacific Rim, Robyn Gray and Brad Stanton of Prohibition at The Rosewood Hotel Georgia and Lauren Mote, Elise Godwin and Katie Ingram of UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar.

Photo: Vibrant Ideation & Marketing

Photo: Vibrant Ideation & Marketing

The theme of the competition was ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, and competitors were challenged with creating two unique cocktails inspired by two different locales, all while showcasing their bartending acumen and connecting the audience with their story.

Judges Grant Sceney of the Lobby Lounge at The Fairmont Pacific Rim and Jenner Cormier of Toronto’s Bar Raval — the past two Canadian champions — had no easy task determining the winner. In the end, Cooper Tardivel of Hawksworth Restaurant wowed the judges with his professionalism, execution and quality, and will advance to the next round for a chance at the title of World Class Bartender of the Year.

Photo: Vibrant Ideation & Marketing

Jenner Cormier of Bar Raval and Grant Sceney of the Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Pacific Rim with winner Cooper Tardivel of Hawksworth Restaurant. Credit: Vibrant Ideation & Marketing

Below, Cooper kindly shares the recipes for his winning concoctions.

1. Barrett’s Grogg

Representing Cooper’s homeland of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Ron Zacapa 23 yo Solera Rum
  • 0.5 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry
  • 0.75 oz Coconut Water
  • 0.75 oz Verjus (sour juice from unripe grapes)
  • 1 dash DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
  • 0.5 oz Vanilla Syrup

Method:

Shake ingredients with ice and strain to a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an aromatizing spray of Talisker 10 yo Whisky.

2. The Whiskey Coast

Representing Vancouver, Cooper’s current hometown.

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 oz Bulleit Bourbon
  • 0.25 oz Grand Marnier
  • 0.75 oz Bosc Pear, Coconut, Ginger and Vanilla Shrub

Method:

Stir ingredients with ice and strain to a cinnamon- and cherry wood-smoked cocktail glass.

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Justin Taylor A renowned bartender and cocktail creator, Justin Taylor has been a fixture in the industry in both Toronto and Vancouver for the better part of two decades. As Bar Manager at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, located at the iconic Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, Justin continues to stir up the Vancouver bartending scene with a heady mix of knowledge, panache, wit and hospitality.
@taylormixology

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