Four Finalists Compete to be Named Best Bartender in Cocktail Kitchen Finale

Vancouver's hottest bartenders cook up blow-your-mind cocktails worthy of Mother Russia at The Refinery on Wednesdays through January.


Vancouver’s hottest bartenders cook up blow-your-mind cocktails worthy of Mother Russia at The Refinery on Wednesdays through January


Six months after The Refinery restaurant launched its weekly battle-of-the-bartenders event, four finalists go head to head this month to determine an ultimate winner.


Cocktail Kitchen Finals

The Refinery
1115 Granville St, Vancouver


Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in January 2010

Tickets $50. Space is limited. Reserve: 604-687-8001

The Cocktail Kitchen series, running every week since July, challenges Vancouver’s best barkeeps to create a cocktail program that perfectly complements a three-course meal. A region and a liquor serve as monthly themes, and the bartenders compete by making original cocktails, or re-working classics, that suit the themes and the menu dreamed up by chef Ben de Champlain, himself an accomplished bartender as well.


Each month a winner is determined by ballots cast by the judges (a.k.a. the diners themselves), and this month the four finalists garnering the most votes over the past six months compete for the grand prize: a trip to California’s Napa Valley.


Competitions like this, says The Refinery’s Lauren Mote, “give all bartenders an opportunity to shamelessly promote their bar, their style and charisma in a living-room type environment.” They also give amateur cocktail enthusiasts a reason to hit the Granville Strip on a Wednesday night.


David Bain, Cocktail Kitchen

Here’s a look at the finalists and their previous performances:


David Bain, West Restaurant

During July’s launch month, David Bain of South Granville’s West Restaurant caught guests off guard with his cocktail “The Triple Threat.” This well conceived and super creative cocktail used several different techniques and components. Guests were impressed by the fresh-foam that sat atop a simple four-ingredient cocktail, including a homemade triple-chili infused heated agave nectar, The Refinery’s chocolate sweet vermouth, citrus and raw cacao nib Hornitos Reposado Tequila. This cocktail was an instant winner with its pairing of Driftwood Whitebark and Achiote marinated flank steak.


See David compete as a finalist at The Refinery on January 12, 2010.



Jay Jones, Cocktail Kitchen

Jay Jones, Barjonesing Consulting

August saw Jay Jones of Barjonesing Consulting take us on a sensory adventure with Courvoisier Cognac. Being that the second course was amongst one of the hardest pairings—rich Cognac with a light frisée aux lardons salad—Jay convinced the room that his straightforward spirit style would be perfect. “The Bellefleur” cocktail included Courvoisier, Joie Farm Rose, The Refinery’s strawberry and lemongrass bitters and a touch of tropical passionfruit syrup.


See Jay compete as a finalist at The Refinery on January 5, 2010.




Justin “JT” Tisdall, Chambar

Justin JT Tisdall, Cocktail Kitchen

During the same month, the newly appointed general manager of Chambar, Justin “JT” Tisdall knocked it out of the park with his “First” cocktail focusing on deconstructed tasting notes that paired exceptionally with Chef Ben’s first course: a decadent foie gras parfait. Courvoisier cognac, cognac-cask smoked butter, Sauternes, The Refinery’s house bitters plus two of Justin’s homemade aromatic autumn fruit and herb tinctures.


See Justin compete as a finalist at The Refinery on January 19, 2010.


Graham Racich, Cocktail Kitchen


Graham Racich, Fraiche Restaurant

The fifth month of Cocktail Kitchen welcomed an incredible line up of apprentice and veteran bartenders that completely won guests over with a sort of “green” passion that captured everyone’s attention. Overall, November proved to be one of the most successful months for weekly sell-outs and an extraordinary array of cocktails. The month’s Havana Club 7 year Anejo Rum and the cuisine of the West Indies was definitely a “hot and spicy” one. Attacking a line up of spicy dishes with higher proof cocktails was definitely a challenge, but Graham Racich of Fraiche Restaurant “up on the hill” in West Vancouver wow-ed guests with two passed cocktail canapes, including deconstructed cocktail jellies, plus a line-up of refreshing and unique pairings for each course.


See Graham compete as a finalist at The Refinery on January 26, 2010.



Cocktail Kitchen Finals every Wednesday in January

Russia is the theme for January, and Russian Standard Vodka is the liquor of the month. The schedule for the Cocktail Kitchen Finals is:


January 05   Jay Jones, Barjonesing Consulting
January 12   David Bain, West Restaurant
January 19   Justin Tisdall, Chambar
January 26   Graham Racich, Fraiche Restaurant


Guests are the judges.

Tickets are available through The Refinery; call or pop in with a valid credit card to purchase on the spot. Tickets are $50 per person. Each guest receives a “welcome” cocktail-canape pairing by Lauren Mote and Ben de Champlain, plus three courses of hearty and flavourful Russian inspired cuisine, three paired Russian Standard Vodka cocktails by the competing bartender, and a score card.

Cocktail Kitchen Final winner and guest prizes will be announced at the Russian Standard Finale party at The Refinery February 07, 2011.


For more information, please visit The Refinery website or call 604-687-8001.