Strathcona Spirits – From jam pad to Edmonton’s first distillery

Strathcona Spirits – From jam pad to Edmonton’s first distillery

As far as any historians can tell – Edmonton, Alberta has never had a legal distillery. The space where Strathcona Spirits stands wasn’t ever meant to be a distillery, either. When owner Adam Smith secured it, he wasn’t a distiller. In fact, he had no idea that he would be involved in such a groundbreaking effort. The Baby Seal Club “We’ve had the space for well over 10 years”, relates Smith. “The original purpose for…

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Odd History: The Hindenburg Cocktail

Odd History: The Hindenburg Cocktail

The hydrogen powered Hindenburg was a notable accomplishment even in an era when humanities’ technological advances were on overdrive. It’s also a history that can feel weird to research from a cocktail archaeology perspective – given that the giant blimp flew from Nazi-controlled Germany. The Zeppelin Company Chairman Eckener didn’t want his flights politicized for Nazi propaganda. His stance got him very publicly chastised by the Nazi’s. Prior to the first Zeppelin transatlantic flight in 1936,…

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Erick Castro Talks About What’s Working vs. What’s Not

Erick Castro Talks About What’s Working vs. What’s Not

Bartender Erick Castro runs the award-winning and innovative Polite Provisions, in San Diego. The documentary series he shares with his wife; Bartender At Large is increasingly being seen and screened across North America. He’s known for his time working for global brands and bars in big markets on both coasts. Notable on his bar resume are the critical hits, Rickhouse in SF and Boilermaker NYC. Given that he spends a lot of his time interviewing bartenders to gain…

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Bees Knees and a thought on resistance

Bees Knees and a thought on resistance

Free House, Tavern Law, Speakeasy. It’s easy to forget where these terms for pubs came from. The history of the bar is fully intertwined with free-speech and the right to protest. When a government seeks to controls the rights of all, or some – conversations between assembled groups of drinkers is one of the hardest to stop. The surreal political climate in the United States has me heartened to see famous bartenders like Diageo World…

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A Bootlegger’s Death; Florence Lassandro

A Bootlegger’s Death; Florence Lassandro

Alberta, a Bootlegger paradise To say that Alberta has a checkered past with its relationship to alcohol is putting it mildly. This constant strain between the people who like to drink VS. the people who try to prevent them has wielded more wild stories than I can recount in a small piece. The territory that became Alberta first enacted prohibition in 1875. That fell apart by 1892, partly due to widespread bootlegging. “Yes, I voted for…

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5 hard-won lessons for any Bartender

5 hard-won lessons for any Bartender

Do anything long enough and you’ll start to see the familiar patterns form that help make the job easier. In line with that; here are a few of my most hard-won observations on being a modern bartender. 1. Hospitality first Biz Markie once said: “Hip hop is the culture, rap is what I do.” Similarly, my mantra is that bartending is the profession, of which making drinks is a component. It’s not about the drink….

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De La Corne, by Chris Enns

De La Corne, by Chris Enns

Chris Enns is fast as hell as a bartender. He has to be. He’s one of the rugged stand-outs at The Diamond, in Vancouver’s Gastown neighborhood. This is one of the true Canadian homes of high-energy, high-volume craft-cocktails. Chris has also shown his capabilities in speed competitions, such as Barate Kid, where he finished second in his qualifier. But, that doesn’t mean that Chris can’t slow it down, get back to his Prairie roots and…

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Bartender Health; Doing The Wrong Thing The Right Way

Bartender Health; Doing The Wrong Thing The Right Way

The summer of 2016 is seeing a rise in popularity for a bartender trend that once seemed implausible, health and fitness. Jim Meehan recently issued a rousing call to bartenders to live less as flash in the pan rock-stars. He wanted more career artisans in a technically challenging profession. I consider Meehan’s talk for pourdrink.org titled Serving Ourselves And Each Other required viewing for everyone in the hospitality industry. And he’s not the only one pushing for…

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Warren Bobrow – Cannabis Cocktails

Warren Bobrow – Cannabis Cocktails

Warren Bobrow is standing outside Café Beignet in the French Quarters of New Orléans. As we’re looking for a spot to start our interview, I ask him if showing his book off at TOTC brought him to the city. He responds that his family lineage can be traced to the city going back some 300 years. He speaks of the culture and architecture of the city, and specifically its graveyards. Then he flashes a knowing smile…

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Vermouth: A fundamental of Bartending

Vermouth: A fundamental of Bartending

Vermouth basics and history The term comes from the Germanic ‘Wermut‘ or wormwood – a salute to one of the core botanicals found in many Vermouth. Although people started drinking aromatized wines as medicine thousands of years ago, that use waned in the end of the 18th century. Consumption as an apéritif, or cocktail ingredient, exploded in Italy and France there after. Whether wormwood technically needs to be in a modern vermouth is a hotly debated…

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