Guy Stowell started his bartending career at 19, where he found his first job cleaning glasses at a pub in London. Fascinated by the endless possibilities in alcohol and spirits, he slowly moved around the industry. Four years ago, Guy moved to Canada with his wife and has been behind the bar of BaoBei for the past 3 years. I sat down with Guy and we chatted about the mixology/cocktail scene in Vancouver.
What is the bar scene like in Vancouver?
It’s quite different between Vancouver and London. There are limitations on the type and brands of alcohol we could use here for mixing, so bartenders are challenged to be more creative with the recipes. The enormous support for local food producers also encourages bartenders to incorporate local ingredients in the cocktails.
Customers in Vancouver also have a more sophisticated palate, not just with food but also with their cocktail selection. They are open to trying different things, and pay attention to food pairings. We have moved away from sweet cocktails for a number of years now, more focused on sours, but what’s also catching on is earthy, medicinal spirits. Bartenders have been drinking these for awhile now, because we have to try different spirits to look for inspirations, so it’s great to see that customers have started to pick that up.
What are a few bars that you would suggest us to visit?
There are many great bars in Vancouver so depending on what you like/feel like, there’s always something for you. The ones I’m suggesting here all have a great cocktail list, some classics, some non-pretentious, some with unique regional items (e.g. Tiki cocktails):
- The Cascade Room
- The Diamond
- The Keefer Bar
- The Shameful Tiki Room
What should we expect at the MadeWithLove competition?
14 bartenders mixing great drinks to entertain 400-500 guests. There is a ranking system, allowing top scoring bartenders to select their alcohol first. It will have lots of energy and I’m sure you will all have fun!
I asked Guy what his go-to spirit is, but naturally, he ended up naming almost every kind he can think of. Not surprised since each spirit has its own characteristics and would be great for certain drinks. In closing, Guy has graciously shared one of his favourite cocktail recipes – Tapatia:
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1- 1/2 oz 1800 blanco
- 1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
- 1 oz lime juice
- 20ml sugar syrup
- Top with 05 kombucha
Muddle rosemary in a mixing glass then shake all ingredients, except for the kombucha. Fine strain over ice into a tall Collins glass and top with 05 kombucha.
Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.