Shaken, stirred or neat?! We all have our preferences when it comes to enjoying our favourite libation. Much to the delight of die-hard cocktail aficionados, cocktails have radically evolved over the years! In fact, some Barchefs have as much of a following as that of some of the most notable culinary chefs.
I am very pleased to announce that the extravagant Canadian mixology competition, Made With Love, is back again for a second year in a row!
The Toronto, Montreal and (I am happy to add) Ottawa cocktail scenes have proven themselves to be truly something else. Barchefs have taken on the creativity and competitiveness of making the most flavourful and unique cocktails with the hope of being crowned Canada’s best Barchef.
Ottawa’s talented Barchefs will be vying for the Public’s Choice and Judges’ Choice awards. The crowned winners from each category will represent Ottawa at the National Finals held in Ottawa in May 2018. The finalists will try to win the coveted title of best Barchef in the country, and have a chance to win one of 11 trips to one of the Made With Love affiliated distilleries: 2 trips in Italy with Campari, 3 trips in Nicaragua with Flor de Cana, 2 trips in France with Grand Marnier, 2 trips in Kentucky with Woodford Reserve and 2 trips in Spain with Made With Love.
Martin Pinealt’s (2018 Made With Love Ottawa ambassador) cocktail @ Made With Love
THE 2018 OTTAWA FINALISTS ARE:
Connor Currie – CHARLOTTE OTTAWA
Jason Frederik – COMMON EATERY
Cory Contin – ZOE’S LOUNGE – FAIRMOUNT CHATEAU LAURIER
Mark McLachlan – ATARI
Julien Forrester – STEAK & SUSHI
Natalie Sole -INDEPENDENT
Jesse Baillie – INDEPENDENT
Chris Howell – EVOO GREEK KITCHEN
Stan Reyes – DATSUN
Josh Schweyer – BAR LUPULUS
Jennifer Gwynne – TOMO
Christopher Vachon – THE CLOCKTOWER BREW PUB
Eric Romolock – FAUNA FOOD +DRINK
Jovan Morales – KINKI LOUNGE KITCHEN
Jeremy Gaulin – FOREIGN CINÉMA
Jeff Taylor – SOUTH BLOCK WHISKEY BAR
Cody Nicoll – LOCAL PUBLIC EATERY
Jonah McPherson – E18HTEEN
Martin Pinealt, 2018 Made with Love Ottawa ambassador @ Made With Love
I was fortunate to acquire some inside information from last year’s Ottawa Regional Finals winner (Public’s Choice) Jayson Frederick as well as from Mati’s Bar Manager, a 2017 Ottawa Regional finalist and Made With Love’s 2018 Ottawa Ambassador, Martin Pinealt.
Both talented Barchefs shared their insights on several topics related to the competition and Ottawa’s cocktail scene.
Jayson Frederick, last year’s Ottawa’s Regional Finals winner (Public’s Choice) @ Made With Love
How would you describe the Ottawa bartending scene?
Jayson: The Ottawa bartending scene is becoming something to be aware of. We are young in experience compared to other cities, but the talent is nothing to take lightly. There are a lot of bartenders like myself who have come to Ottawa from other cities to help develop the bartending scene. My prediction is that in 5-7yrs, Ottawa will be a well-known cocktail city like Montreal and Toronto!
Martin: I will describe it in a few words: young, creative, thriving, growing, family
What are some current trends in spirits and cocktails? Any prediction for 2018?
Jayson: Current trends in spirits from what I see is Mezcal, Bourbon & Scotch-based cocktails. People love to see cocktails being smoked but I think 3D ice is the next big thing.
Martin: Well here in Ottawa, I’ve noticed that we love our stirred down high ABV (Alcohol by volume) cocktails such as the “old fashion” or “Manhattan” and have a strong love for egg white sours “whisky sour” “tequila sour” and so on. I predict that for summer 2018 we are going to see a huge spike in “spritz” style cocktails with a more modern twist as opposed to the classic style.
How did you get involved in the bartending world?
Jayson: I used to bartend for my dad when he had parties in our basement. I wasn’t making cocktails like today with syrups and multiple bitters but that’s where I learned a lot of bar lingo like splash, neat, easy rocks, twist. I was only 11 but I’ll never forget the goalie of my dad’s soccer team yelling “Jay, another rum and water and one turn of the Angostura”.
Martin: I can’t remember that far back….but seriously it was a long time ago anything from nightclubs to pubs to pretty much anything that had alcohol.
Last year’s Ottawa’s Regional Finals winner (Public’s Choice) Jayson Frederic’s cocktail @ Made With Love
Jason, what is your biggest challenge this year as a competitor? Anything you can share about your upcoming concept?
My biggest challenge this year is the fact that the bartenders competing in this year’s event are much stronger as a whole, which makes me become more creative. The only thing I can share about my concept is that a childhood staple meets present urban culture.
Martin, what is your role as Ottawa’s MWL ambassador?
Well, my main role as the Ottawa ambassador is recruiting local cocktail bartenders “mixologist” to push themselves to compete for the Crown as Ottawa’s best and hopefully defend our National title that just so happens to be in the nation’s capital this year. However, with that being said, over the last 5 months or so I have been so privileged to get to know so many talented and dynamic people in Ottawa’s bartending community, its a privilege and an honour to be the ambassador for Ottawa!
There you have it my cocktail lovers…let’s support our Ottawa Barchefs and enjoy their intoxicating labours of creativity!
Where: Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park
When: Monday, March 19, 2018
Time: 6pm – 11pm
Tickets: $65 (pre-sale) at each participating bar or $75 at the door. 19 years+
Ticket prices include a complete tasting of all showcased cocktails, a selection of food-pairings,
a Red Bull cocktail, and the privilege to vote for your favourite cocktail creation, and favourite Barchef!
Need I give you more reasons to attend this fun and of course tasty competition? Guests will be entranced and seduced by the talents of the cocktail competitors, all vying for the top spot!
See you there, Cheers!