Vancouver’s best bartenders compete at Cocktail Kitchen

The Refinery restaurant's innovative weekly cocktail pairing competition.

Credit: Cory Dawson | Jesse Bannister, Kmishn Design Vancouver logo design

Vancouver’s best bartenders compete in weekly The Cocktail Kitchen series at The Refinery.

The Cocktail Kitchen marries the fine art of pairing good food with good spirits, Wednesdays at The Refinery

Starting Thursday, July 8, 2010, The Refinery on Vancouver’s Granville Strip launches an exciting interactive and educational series working with the art of pairing food and spirits.

The Cocktail Kitchen invites a different bartender every week to go head-to-head with a group of discerning palates (that’d be the guests), pairing their best cocktails with a menu only revealed to them a few days prior.


The Cocktail Kitchen bartender competition

The program premise is this: A different country or region’s cuisine will be featured each month, including a spirit that the restaurant feels is best paired to the region. (The November menu features The West Indies and Havana Club 7 Year Rum.) A $30 ticket allows guests to get involved by eating, drinking and grading the bartenders in a variety of categories.


Cocktail Kitchen at The Refinery

1115 Granville St, Vancouver
Wednesdays, 7 p.m.

Tickets $30. Space is limited. Reserve by calling 604-687-8001.



At the conclusion of the month, the winning bartender will carry on to the following month; after six months, the top four bartenders will compete for a trip to Napa Valley.


What’s in it for you?

“Well, did you ever think that cocktails were meant to be separate from food? We don’t,” says The Refinery’s award-winning mixologist Lauren Mote.

She hopes the competition will highlight the importance of creating artful marriages between food and drink—a feature of contemporary mixology that has served as the backbone of Lauren’s cocktail program at The Refinery.

Essential to this partnership of edibles and thirst-quenchers is a respect for the body, which is why Lauren is dedicated to serving only high quality local and organic ingredients, no refined sugars and bitters made from scratch in house. Every drink she mixes up at the restaurant incorporates super foods and ingredients bearing other health properties like antioxidants, protein, amino acids, potassium, electrolytes, etc. 

“Whether you drink every day or every third day, you might as well drink as well as you eat,” says Lauren, who will serve as the first bartender in the Cocktail Kitchen series, this evening at 7 p.m.


Vancouver’s best bartenders compete each week

A two-hour presentation from both the featured chef and the featured bartender aim to broaden guests’ horizons, offering the opportunity to try some of the most innovative cocktails at the hands of Vancouver’s best barkeeps.

Some of the bartenders making appearances in the next couple of months include Lauren Mote (The Refinery), Justin Tisdale (Market), Jay Jones (Bar Consultant), Shawn Soole (Clive’s Classic Lounge), Shaun Layton (L’Abbatoir), Ben de Champlain (The Refinery), David Bain (West Restaurant), Trevor Kailles (The Granville Room), Colin MacDougall (Blue Water Cafe & The Pourhouse) and Kris Jensen (The Refinery).

There are only 28 seats available each week. For a schedule of regions and competitors, visit The Refinery blog.

Reservations are taken by phone only, 604-687-8001; tickets are $30 (includes tax and gratuities).


Follow along with Lauren Mote

Lauren will be blogging periodically for Granville magazine about the winning bartenders and their food and cocktail pairings. Check back regularly for updates and ways to win tickets to upcoming Cocktail Kitchen events! Also check The Refinery blog.