liquor and libations

get a black belt in booze

ice cider & Desperados: An Eat Vancouver roundup June 13, 2007

Filed under: events,local,tasting — liquorandlibations @ 12:19 pm

eatvancouver.jpgThis is a little later than I’d hoped, but here is a quick recap of Eat Vancouver. The event was a rousing success – Vancouver’s BC Place stadium was packed with people eating, drinking, collecting copious samples and watching celebrity chefs all while trying to avoid the sea of people and strollers.

We wandered around the whole exhibition, but ended the afternoon at the tasting pavilion and beverage stage. Two things that really caught my eye were Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider and Desperados tequila flavoured beer. The ice cider was very tasty, a little too sweet for me (not surprising considering the sweetness of ice wine), but had a great rich flavour. The tequila flavoured beer was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It was a lot better than I thought, but I can’t say I’ll be drinking it regularly. It did inspire me to start thinking of tequila-beer cocktails, so maybe something good will come of it.

One of the highlights for me was a man on the beverage stage opening champagne bottles with a large machete-like knife. I thought he was crazy until I was searching around Wikihow today and found this fantastic post on how to Open a Champagne Bottle with a Sword, which promises you will:

Amaze everyone at your next social function with le sabrage, or opening a bottle of Champagne with a sword. Napoleon’s officers did it — you can, too! Teaching yourself to “behead” a bottle of champagne isn’t hard, but takes a little practice (and a case or two of cheap bubbly) to perfect.

Sounds exciting, and may just be an idea for my next camping trip – I think a few rounds of practice outdoors might be in order before my next social function.pekka.jpg

One final note on Eat Vancouver, congrats to friend of l&l Pekka Tavela, pastry chef at A Kettle of Fish, who placed third in the Belcolade Chocolate Competition. Yay Pekka!


Music Goes Better with Wine May 30, 2007

Filed under: events,general,tasting,wine — liquorandlibations @ 2:59 pm

The Gorge amphitheatre on the Columbia river in central Washington state is touted as one of the best outdoor concert spots in the States and it deserves the reputation. Visually stunning with excellent acoustics and room for 20,000 people the Gorge hosts prime music festivals such as Sasquatch, which recently took place on the Memorial Day weekend.

A mere five hour drive from Vancouver, the Gorge is an excellent reason on its own to inspire a roadtrip. But the icing on the cake is the fact that along the way you can visit some of the many excellent wineries that have been cropping up in Washington state over the last decade, making it the second largest wine producer in the USA after California.

At about the same latitude as the Bordeaux region in France, Washington has many areas suited to wine growing but the one best explored on the way to the Gorge is the Columbia Cascade region. Heading east from Everett through Stevens pass, the road travels through snow capped peaks and lush forests on to rolling sagebrush hills ideal for vineyards.


3 BottlesIn the Lake Chelan region Tsillan Cellars is the winery of choice. Designed and developed by Dr. Robert Jankelson, the winery provides “an unmatched venue to enjoy the Italian art of living enhanced by fine wines.” Sounds good to me! Try the ’03 Bellissima Rossa, a Cab Sauv, Merlot and Cab Franc blend which won the double gold at the 2007 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Don’t miss Leavenworth, the cutest little Bavarian Village in the state. Try the boutique Eagle Creek Winery, full of old-world European charm to prepare your taste buds.

To round out the trip, be sure to visit the easily accessible Chateau Faire Le Pont in Wenatchee (only an hour from the Gorge). The name means “Bridging the Gap” and refers to when a holiday falls mid-week but you continue right through to the weekend. We should adopt this motto more often! Not to be missed, the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Pinot Noir, and the new 2003 Tre Amore.


For more information check out

Happy road trip!


For the Locals – Eat Vancouver! May 22, 2007

Filed under: beer,events,local,tasting,wine — liquorandlibations @ 5:00 pm


This weekend marks the annual Eat Vancouver festival. Billed as the “Everything Food & Cooking Festival” this year also includes a beverage stage highlighting beer, wine, sake, coffee and more. While the Food Network celebrity stage will definitely be a big draw for many people, for those of you already sick of “Vancouver’s Own Iron Chef Rob Feenie” (and if I have to see him on one more White Spot commercial, I definitely will be), then check out the tasting areas.

The drinks stage promises you will:

Enjoy some of the best wines, beers and spirits from British Columbia and around the world, offered for tasting by the vintners and producers themselves. Sample, compare and ask questions directly from those who know.

The Grapes & Hops Presentation Stage, located right inside the Tasting Pavilion and hosted by Vancouver’s own Wine Diva, Daenna Van Mulligan, will feature an impressive lineup of seminars, food pairings and wine tasting’s with celebrities drawn from the world of wine and beer plus culinary and mixology experts.. The Presentation Stage is located right in the Tasting Pavilion and provides comfortable seating. Master of Ceremonies Daenna will host writers, chefs, vintners, wine experts and a host of other presenters from across the country.

We’ll be checking out the Wine, Beer and Spirits tasting pavillion on Saturday and promise to report back on our best bets.


Sundance meets wine tasting April 26, 2007

Filed under: events,wine — liquorandlibations @ 4:02 pm

If only I had known about this sooner, I would have been high-tailing it over the boarder next weekend to Portland, for the city’s third annual Indie Wine Festival. The event is a juried festival for Oregon wineries who make under 2000 cases in total production, and is touted as “a fun, lively, community experience. Think Sundance meets wine tasting.”

The winemakers will be on hand and you can purchase wine directly from the people who make it, what a great way to get people involved in their local wine industry. Portland is a cool city and with strong local community production and involvement in many industries – in particular beer, coffee, wine and music.

Tickets are $60 a day (for either Saturday or Sunday) or $100 for both days. Saturday’s highlight is a grand tasting with complimentary food from top Oregon chefs, and Sunday includes an event called the Sunday Cellar where wines from both 2005 and 2006 will be poured for you to compare how the wines are aging.

If anyone is in Portland, or heading down for this, and wants to guest write a post for us, leave a comment below with your email address and we’ll be in touch.

Link Imbibe Unfiltered.


Ode to Shiraz April 8, 2007

Filed under: events,local,wine — liquorandlibations @ 11:12 pm

Oh Shiraz, how do I love thee, let me count the ways…

After attending Vancouver International Wine Festival this year where the featured wine was Riesling, I was a bit surprised to find that all my favourites were still…you guessed it, Shiraz. Not that the Riesling isn’t a lovely wine – crisp and fresh with those hints of kiwi and apple. Because it is! In fact on a hot summer’s day it ranks near the top of my list, particularly if it is a certain Dr. Loosen‘s 2005 Riesling in its delightfully blue bottle.

Its just that the Shiraz (Syrah in France) is so…perfect. And drinkable. Always delightful to the palate, it has a full bodied and powerful flavour often tasting of ripe juicy berries, and chocolate…earthy and complex. Its dark and mysterious flavours titillate, beg you to explore a little more.

Australia loves its Shiraz, hence its prevalence at the 2007 Vancouver wine festival. Some of my mentionables were:

  • Hardy Wine Company – Oomoo Shiraz 2005, $21.99
  • Peter Lehmann – Futures Barossa Shiraz 2003, $28.99
  • Barossa Valley Estate – Ebenezer Shiraz 2002, $39.99
  • Wolf Blass – Black Label Cabernet Shiraz 2003, coming in near the top of the price list at $89.99

And surprise surprise, Canada’s very own Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Proprietor’s Grand Reserve Shiraz 2004 was voted the best Shiraz/Syrah at the 2006 International Wine and Spirits Competition (I.W.S.C.) in London…a first for a North American Shiraz at probably the most important event in the industry. And while it was unfortunately not at the festival this year, it is in the liquor store around the corner. Lucky me.


Vancouver International Wine Festival March 28, 2007

Filed under: events,local,wine — liquorandlibations @ 1:01 pm

Its that time of year again! The Vancouver International Wine Festival is taking place this week, featuring wines from 17 different countries with an emphasis on Australia. Generally considered one of the best festivals of its kind in North America, the event is a fundraiser for the Vancouver Playhouse, contributing to the city’s theatre scene. There will be an estimated 21,000 people attending this year with over 31,000 bottles of wine to uncork…which could lead to an interesting week. This year’s theme wine is the ever versatile riesling. Unfortunately tickets to the festival tastings at Canada Place Thursday through Saturday evening are sold out but there are still other events during the week, you can find out more details on the website at

For those unlucky people without tickets, liquor and libations will be working undercover to get the inside scoop on who’s who and what’s what at this year’s 29th annual festival.

Updates to come later in the week on trends, our favourites, and what to look for in the perfect riesling!