Is Vodka boring? Modern bar tending tends to overlook it in favor of sexier libations and the vodka cocktail has certainly fallen off the radar because if its simplicity. The fact is that vodka is an amazing blank canvas for talented cocktail technicians to create something great.
Alta Bistro, my favorite spot in Whistler, held their inaugural Iceberg Vodkacocktail and infusion competition on September 15th and kindly invited me to come and use my borderline “12 steps” skills and judge from a list of some of the best bartenders from Whistler and Vancouver. The restaurants and bars represented were as follows. Sidecut at the Four Seasons Whistler, Hawksworth Restaurant in Vancouver, Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, Alta Bistro (obviously) in Whistler, Maenam in Vancouver, The Mix in Whistler, The Cascade Room in Vancouver and Chambar in Vancouver.
Each bartender had to make an infusion with Iceberg Vodka and then create an original cocktail featuring their infusion and prepare 4 drinks in 5 minutes. I could go on and on about how amazing everything was but lets face it, you guys just want to look at the pictures right? The runner up was Tanya Roussy From Meanam with an infusion of orange, red cedar, noble pine and vanilla and a cocktail called the Full Moon. The winner was Arthur Wynne from The Cascade Room with 2 separate infusions, one was black tea, marigold and passion fruit and the other was shiso leaf. His cocktail was called Shiso Pretty. They both won a trip to Newfoundland to visit the Iceberg Vodka distillery!! Special mention to my man Scot from Alta bistro who’s infusion was crazy complicated and awesome and his cacktail, the Jardin de Vie was also great and to Derek from Chambar for making a caesar with a chipotle, cummen, black pepper, oregano, ancho, coriander and garlic infusion. Caesars rule.
Dinner was awesome as usual, 3 courses consisting of a pate and charcuterie board, a tuna nicoise salad and seared bison with green peppercorn sauce. I have yet to be less than blown away by the food Alta Bistro serves and the price points they are able to do it at, simply outstanding. Huge thanks to Eric and Edward from Alta Bistro for inviting me!