Bartender of the Year
Satoshi Yonemori Grapes and Soda, 1541 W 6th Ave., grapesandsoda.ca When is agood drink more than just the drink itself? For Bartender of the Year Satoshi Yonemori, the answer to this question lies in dovetailing the inordinate amount of care and precision that goes into crafting a top-shelf cocktail with unwavering consistency and exceptional customer service.
Originally a cook in several noteworthy Vancouver restaurant kitchens, Yonemori honed his mixology craft behind the wood at the Diamond, Wildebeest, and at Eau de Vie in Sydney, Australia, before settling into his position as opening bar manager for Grapes and Soda. His culinary backgroundaffords him aunique perspective when it comes to building the overall flavour narrative of his thoughtfully curated drink list. Lauded by both his peers and this year’s judges for his finesse and technical prowess, he creates classically rooted libations that eschew flash and fads in favour of elevating balance and taste above all else.
Yonemori successfully nurtures asymbiotic relationship between bar and kitchen. He’s highly skilled in articulating subtle nuances of flavour, seamlessly integrating unconventional ingredients from Grapes and Soda’s locally focused food menu into his cocktails to give them a unique identity of place. Refined elegance and meticulous attention to detail are Yonemori’s hallmarks, right down to his handcarved ice cubes, and an evening spent at his bar is invariably a singular drinking experience.