The Georgia Straight

Liquor perfect for those who have all they need

- By Mike Usinger

As we head into the holiday season, let’s stop and think about an undeniable reality: whether it’s a new set of Le Creuset cookware, life-size Star Wars chess set, or Bengal tiger complete with its own enclosure, no one really needs more clutter in their lives. That makes consumable­s the savvy choice of smart Christmas shoppers. The following gift ideas revolve around liquor, which is practicall­y indispensa­ble for making it through the holiday season.


Normally, when the words “peat” and “whisky” are put together, one thinks of

Scotland’s famously fog-shrouded moors, craggy windswept islands, and watermonst­er-inhabited lochs. East Vancouver’s much-loved Odd Society Spirits puts a local spin on the smoky-whisky game this fall with not one but two new offerings. Working with peated malt from the States and across the Atlantic, craft distillers Gordon Glanz and Joel McNichol came up with two standout offerings. Peat & Smoke Washington incorporat­es peat from the Skagit Valley for a whisky bursting with notes of fresh orange peel and toasted almonds—the smoke lingering in the background. Scotland provides the magic malt ingredient for Peat & Smoke Scottish, a more earthy offering where the smokiness takes centre stage, with

vanilla-laced caramel and dark chocolate part of the profile. Both bottles weigh in at 46 percent ABV, and come in compact—and kind of cute—375 ml bottles. Finally, while this double-shot of must-haves is covetable enough—as a gift for someone else, or yourself—just wait until Odd Society Spirits unleashes its Burns Bog peat edition in 2025. ($40 for each bottle at Odd Society Spirits, 1725 Powell St., Vancouver.)


Ever feel sorry for someone whose homecockta­il repertoire consists of gin and tonics, Screwdrive­rs, and Sailor Jerry-spiked Five Alive? Help them elevate their mixology game with Vancouver author Jennifer Croll’s Art Boozel, a how-to guide which is as fun as it is informativ­e. Subtitled “Cocktails inspired by modern and contempora­ry artists” the book offers exactly that with original recipes that capture the spirit of renegade visionarie­s ranging from Yoko Ono and Miranda July to Piet Mondrian and Jeff Wall. Each cocktail comes with a Kelly Shami drawing of the artist who inspired it, along with a quick history lesson on why that artist matters. Mixology neophytes will have zero trouble following Croll’s instructio­ns—after you’ve made a batch of pineapple ice cubes and picked up some gold sugar in the baking aisle, the rest of a Jeff Koons cocktail is easy as pouring brandy, Goldschläg­er, fresh lime juice, and Angostura bitters into a shaker. Or making a rum and coke. ($27.95 at store.


There are those among us whose bucket-list goals include three nights at the Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki Beach, an apprentice­ship at Los Angeles’ impossibly excellent TikiTi, and an extended visit from the ghost of Trader Vic. That makes our favourite drink the Mai Tai, which has traditiona­lly led to

something of a problem in Vancouver. To make a proper Mai Tai faithful to the original recipe, one needs not only Jamaican rum, orgeat and simple syrups, fresh lime juice, and orange curacao, but also something called Martinique rum. (Yes, different rums matter in Tiki drinks—as anyone who’s ever tried to make a Painkiller with Havana Club will grimly tell you). For years—which is to say right back to when government B.C. Liquor Stores were run out of tents and off of horse wagons—Martinique has been nonexisten­t in these parts. That changed this fall. Instead of having to fly to Paris to load up, you can now—finally—find St. James Agricole Royal Ambré Martinique rum at B.C. Liquor Stores. In a best possible world St. James Hors D’Age or Extra Old would also be available, but hey, one Martinique rum on the shelves is better than none. ($32.99 at B.C. Liquor Stores.)


Let’s stick with the theme of tiki ingredient­s that are more difficult to find in Vancouver than snow at Christmas. Two of the secret ingredient­s in any tropical-drink bartender’s arsenal are falernum (a ginger-lime-andspices concoction) and pimento liqueur (made with allspice berries, not those red things in ’70s-style olives). Boozy versions of both can be found in grocery stores the next time you’re on Barbados, or made at home if you’ve got the time and ability to follow one of the many online recipes. Or .... you can head to Vancouver’s Shameful Tiki on Main Street the next time you’re only an ingredient or two away from executing an authentic Aku-Aku Gold Cup, Pearl Diver’s Punch, Navy Grog, or Three Dots and a Dash. Lotusland’s most authentic tiki bar is now offering house-made (and booze-free) falernum and allspice syrups, meaning instant gratificat­ion instead of having to mess

 ?? ?? Odd Society’s Peat & Smoke whiskies started with peated malt from Scotland and the U.S.A.
Odd Society’s Peat & Smoke whiskies started with peated malt from Scotland and the U.S.A.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada