by Jay Jones, Urbandiner.ca (http://urbandiner.ca/2009/11/09/the-bar-craft-cointreau-competion-at-pourhouse/)
Bartenders are fiercely proud of what they do. It’s not a job, or a career, and much more than a craft – it is a way of life for those lucky enough to do it. Drinking brought us to what we do for a living, and it persists in maintaining our enthusiasm for it.
(All images by: Jackie Connelly Photography)
Bartending, at its highest form, represents a keeper’s emotion for the drink and all it embodies. Book smarts and experience count for much, but the craft of cocktailing is a product of spirit infatuation – an extension of true affection for the bottle; all its truths, promises and lies.
The Craft of Cointreau was designed around the love of Bartending. In creating this event, the mandate for skilled crafting was clear; but how do you judge love? The perception of essential intangibles would decide the victor. To the winner went respect (and a week of drinking in France). The criteria: creative use of Cointreau, competence in technique, and plain and simple devotion to the craft.
Mike Parks makes what he likes. At the Cascade Room, he builds sound drinks with brazen character – in old fashioned style with hand crafted bitters.Christina Kuypers of Voya has a way with words. She talked her way into our hearts and livers, with bold ingredients and eclectic flavours. Trevor Kallies is unassuming. At Granville Room, he builds some of the best drinks in town with understated integrity – showing bold innovation, and the satisfying kick you hope for.
Bobbi Kay of Boneta fought through nerves to bring grace, a killer smile and humble skills to the Bar. Her Hepburn-influenced “Audrey” is a stunner.
Giovanni Giardino has a big mouth, and some pretty interesting and funny stuff comes out of it. At Campagnolo, he not-so-quietly blends imagination with intoxication. His “Cointrol” is a vibrant suggestion of fresh possibilities.
Colin MacDougall of Blue Water Café is a devoted student of the craft – showing through strong technique and obvious study; evident in his “The Horse You Rode in On”Lauren Mote of The Refinery is huge geek, and we love her dearly. The consummate foodie Bartender – her culinary Cocktails insist upon us and we are grateful. 3rd place honours were given for her complex creation.^ 3rd place, “The Side Loire” by Lauren Mote.Justin Tisdale brings a quiet cool to Market at the Shangri-La; his “Cointreau Esplendido” is a bold candidate for the perfect (long) cigar Cocktail, and good enough for 2nd place.^ 2nd place, “Cointreau Esplendido” by Justin Tisdale.If you want to see what pure love of Bartending looks like, go see Geoff Robinson at The Diamond. In his first ever competition, not only did he win the whole thing, but reminded us all of the importance of doing things with respect and humility.^ 1st place, The “Auld Alliance” is a striking Cocktail in so many ways, but Geoff truly won the judges over with seemingly effortless swagger, seamless construction and obvious sincerity.
The future of Bartending in Vancouver is bright. Cheers to all of us.
~ Jay Jones
All photos by Jackie Connelly