With the arrival of May, we have a prediction for this summer in Calgary: it’s going to be sweeter than ever.
Amidst the beer halls, beer festivals and the unlikely resurgence of beer pong, there seems to be a growing taste for flavour when it comes to having a drink in Calgary. Menus all over town are expanding their horizons when it comes to boozy handcrafted beverages, and some of the best were on display this weekend at The Art of the Cocktail Calgary’s Grand Tasting.
For the second year running, dozens of exhibitors were on hand at this year’s venue, The University of Calgary’s Downtown Campus, to showcase their creations to an intimate, discerning crowd. While many might have expected the long lines and short pours that are often the reality at some other events of its kind, the Grant Tasting was perfectly executed to encourage guests to spend time savouring their drinks and the stories that accompanied them.
A well-rounded selection of major brands and up-and-comers from as close as Turner Valley and Saskatoon, to as far as France and Belize, each table presented a unique, world-class cocktail experience. Some of Calgary’s favourite bartenders were also in attendance from establishments like Bar C and Brasserie Kensington serving up a hint of what’s in store for patio season.
And what would a cocktail festival be without a little love for the amateur mixologist? Answering the call to create a cocktail truly representing Calgary, two contest finalists went head-to-head until only one was left standing, as The Majestic Prince took home the honours. A surprisingly smooth rye-based sipper, winner Anthony Cuthbert blended Canadian Club 100 Percent with locally-distilled Dark Horse rye, named for the unlikely Calgary horse that won the Kentucky Derby in the late 1960s. To sweeten it out, he added Galliano, as well as cherry bark vanilla bitters and homemade cherry puree. We can tell you that yes, it was as delicious as it sounds.
If you missed it and suddenly feel a thirst for a cocktail education, we suggest you start planning a fall weekend getaway now, as the Victoria Art of the Cocktail runs October 24 and 25.