Just in time for a mid-week break from our normal desk duties, our Notable Vancouver team headed down to help judge the GREY GOOSE Pour Masters Competition at The Vancouver Club. Our editor sat alongside GREY GOOSE celebrity mixologist Marian Beke (of London’s Nightjar Bar) and globally-renowned GREY GOOSE Global Ambassador Ludo Miazga for an afternoon of serious mixing and sipping.
Pour Masters from some of Vancouver’s top lounges, restaurants and bars had been invited to participate in the noteworthy competition, which required that they create a unique cocktail inspired by GREY GOOSE Cherry Noir vodka (vodka flavoured with subtle spice and black cherries sourced from orchards located within France).
Mixologists were required to showcase their skills, expertly melding Cherry Noir with a local BC ingredient, French ingredient and several other ingredients left to their discretion and were judged on presentation, inspiration, flavour and taste profile, as well as visual appeal.
With about a dozen participants (a mix of seasoned competition veterans and new entrants), it became very apparent that our task of selecting a winner would be a tough one.
We sampled Remember My Name (created by David Wolowidnyk), which saw a spritz of Absinthe, Green Chartreuse, Red Dubonnet and Moondog bitters effortlessly fused together with Cherry Noir. We were entranced by The Evolution, which combined Bittered Sling’s grapefruit and hop bitters with Gentian, a grapefruit and lemon Verbena-basil shrub with Vermouth. We loved Hawksworth‘s own Cooper Tardivel‘s Hidden Gem cocktail creation. Masterfully mixed, Tardivel incorporated cherry wood-smoked, cocoa nib-infused Okanagan spirits alongside Kirsch Eau De Vie, Nardini Il Rabarbaro, Absinthe and Giffard Guignolet D’Angers. Our taste buds were truly wowed.
Ultimately, we could only select three finalists – with one winning creation.
Third place went to Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Grant Sceney, who truly caught our attention with his Thibault Punch (which incorporated bee pollen and honey, black Rooibos tea soda and Grand Marnier – dangerously easy to drink.
Second place landed in the lap of Evelyn Chick of Blue Water Cafe, who truly took her audience of judges on a sensory journey culminating in a refreshing elixir.
Ultimately, it was Robyn Gray of PiDGiN Restaurant who earned the Pour Master title with his clever cocktail contraption titled Duck, Duck, Goose! Not only did he fully embrace the outlined theme of the competition, he scored some major points for overall creativity, presentation and influence. Gray had prepared duck fat-washed Cognac in advance and blended Grey Goose Cherry Noir with Noilly Prat French Vermouth and orange bitters, presented to the judges in a carefully shelled-out Goose Egg and garnished with a foie gras-stuffed Torchon Cherry.