Story Ideas

10 mixologists putting Canada on the map

Canada’s bartenders are winning international competitions and awards, and earning our place as a cocktail capital.

11 March 2016

Suggested tweet: 10 mixologists putting Canada on the map: #explorecanada

Canadian bartenders have been garnering worldwide recognition of late for their creative and original cocktails. Whether they’re out there winning awards, or simply winning the hearts of their patrons, these bartenders know how to mix and shake with flair.

  • Lauren Mote had already won acclaim for her small-batch cocktail and culinary bitters – sold under the label Bittered Sling – when she was named Bartender of the Year in 2015 by Diageo World Class Canada. Mote manages Vancouver’s UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar.
  • Sabrine Dhaliwal, also at UVA knows how to make a martini worthy of James Bond. Last year she won the Belvedere Vodka Challenge, partly for her Bond-inspired Pink Skies at Night cocktail.
  • Toronto’s Evelyn Chick also proved Canada is a global cocktail force by winning the 2015 Beefeater MIXLDN Global Bartender Competition in London. Her cocktail beat out 31 other competitors. Chick mixes at The Harbord Room.
  • Johnathan Strokowski Ross practices his alchemy at Bistro Le Sam & Bar in Fairmont’s Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City. Ross placed third in the recent Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge, competing against a dozen of the world’s best mixologists.
  • Nathan Head was the judges’ top pick at Calgary’s Made With Love mixology competition in 2015. For Head, crafting innovative cocktails is all in a day’s work at Proof Cocktail Bar.
  • Christopher Cho handcrafts cocktails at Ayden Kitchen & Bar in Saskatoon. He forages for rhubarb and Saskatoon berries, and checks out the farmer’s market for local ingredients to create unique syrups, cordials and shrubs.
  • Mike Fox of Albert Street Cocktail Company has helped take Winnipeg’s cocktail scene to the next level with creations such as The Kindness of Strangers, inspired by regulars at the ‘Peg’s first serious cocktail bar.
  • Simon Hooper has garnered lots of awards including Mott’s Clamato ‘Best Caesar in Town’ competition in 2014. Hooper is a partner in Rush Lane & Co., named one of Toronto’s best new cocktail bars when it opened in 2014.
  • When Jeff Van Horne isn’t coaching paralympic canoe and kayak athletes he’s mixing cocktails at Lot Six in Halifax. He won Halifax’s Made With Love competition in 2012 and Silver in the Best Bartender competition in 2015.
  • Eric Scouten manages the bar at Port City Royal in St. John – one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants in 2015. And yes, he makes his Manhattan’s stirred, not shaken.

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