A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining Diana for the Made With Love Regional Finals in Vancouver. We were tasked with tasting 16 different cocktails which were lovingly mixed by apprentices and barchefs. It was definitely an enjoyable way to spend a Monday night!
The event was held at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Attendees where bestowed with two dog tags, one to give to their favourite mixology apprentice, and one to give to our favourite bartender. In order to successfully try all 16 cocktails, I learned that one had to sip and not consume the entire drink.
This proved to be difficult since many tasted good and were easy to sip on until it was gone. What made it more challenging was the lack of substantial food. I understand that it was a cocktail-tasting event, but doing so on an empty stomach was tricky.
Some of the barchefs were clever by offering a food pairing. It so happened that the Public’s Choice went to Dylan Robert Williams of The Westin Bayshore, who offered mini hotdogs with his “Crystal Lake” cocktail. His cocktail featured Ungava Gin, which I decided was my go-to gin by the end of the evening. The mini hotdogs were elevated with artisanal condiments, which paired nicely with the drink.
The Judges’ Choice went to Chelsea Rose Schulte of Cocktails & Canapes Catering. Her cocktail was called the “Zenyatta (Lady’s Secret Stakes)”, which featured Woodford Reserve Bourbon. Grilled pineapple and candied pecans was the food pairing that complemented the drink.
Most of the cocktails featured Gin or Campari.
My choice of cocktail from the apprentice competition was a sweet and fruity concoction made by Steve Samotowka. His cocktail was called “Pomplemo and Circumstance” and consisted of:
- Ruby Red Grapefruit
- Fresh strawberries
- Angostura bitters
- Float bitters and sliced strawberry
The winner of the apprentice competition went to Sam Hirano (and he was Diana’s choice!).
The Made With Love finale will happen in May 2018, where you can see both Chelsea Rose Shulte and Dylan Robert Williams compete among the best of the best mixologists in Canada. Made With Love is an experience not to be missed. I enjoyed seeing the creativity that went into the cocktails, and I definitely enjoyed tasting them!