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The Refinery’s Cocktail Kitchen Series Features Driftwood

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Derek Vanderheide at The Refinery CKS

Derek Vanderheide mixes a Thai-pirinha at The Refinery Cocktail Kitchen Series competition.

Writing for Urban Diner exposed me to the world of cocktails. It was on assignment for UD that I met Lauren Mote, who introduced me to the concept of pairing craft cocktails with food. UD was my entree into the community of local bartenders who approach their profession with the dedication and passion of craft brewers. I find it interesting that what is happening in Vancouver’s cocktail scene very much parallels developments in our craft beer culture. Sometimes the two intersect, as when The Refinery hosted a beer cocktail competition in 2009 featuring Whistler Brewing.

This month, craft beer and cocktails meet again at The Refinery’s Cocktail Kitchen Series, an ambitious bartender competition that involves the active participation of the public. The format of CKS is that each month features a food theme and a spirit. For May, there is a Thai vegetarian menu designed by The Refinery’s Ben de Champlain up against Driftwood Brewery beer. The competing bartender then must create original cocktails to pair with each of the three dishes, using the featured beverage and one of The Refinery’s house bitters. Guests then rate the cocktails, the success of their food pairings, and the bartender’s presentation. I attended last night’s CKS where former Dix (RIP) bartender, Derek Vanderheide, was the competitor. Ironically, even though Derek is no stranger to beer, this was the first time he actually created beer cocktails. Here is what Derek and The Refinery served participants last night:

Thai-pirinha Cocktail

Thai-pirinha - cachaca, Farmhand Ale-ginger-white pepper-lemongrass syrup, citrus melange, grapefruit bitters.

Thai Vegetarian Soup

Coconut-based soup with mushrooms, galangal, chili, herbs.

Thai Salad & A Little More Thai Cocktail

A Little More Thai cocktail -- blanco tequila, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, Thai chili, mango, kaffir-white tea botters topped with Driftwood White Bark Wheat-- and salad with mango, papaya, mint, coriander, citrus.

Derek Pouring a Patong Fizz

Derek pouring a Patong Fizz made with Driftwood Fat Tug IPA.

Patong Fizz Cocktail & Mussaman Curry

Mussaman curry and Patong Fizz -- Hendrick's gin, cucumber water, grapefruit, roasted pineapple, Delhi bitters, palm sugar, and egg white topped with Driftwood Fat Tug IPA.

Thai Happy Ending Sorbet

Thai Happy Ending Sorbet

Next week’s CKS is a special edition for Vancouver Craft Beer Week where Lauren Mote & Ben de Champlain will get behind the bar and demonstrate their incredible talents:
Cocktail Kitchen Season Two: Driftwood Brewery VS Thailand
May 11, 7:00 – 9:15pm
The Refinery
1115 Granville Street, Vancouver
Cost: $45, including HST
Tickets: online via eztix.

The bartender who wins this year’s Cocktail Kitchen Series will win a trip to Nicaragua designed around Flor de Caña rum. There will also be a draw at the end of the competition for one guest who has attended any of the CKS events to also go to Nicaragua. I highly recommend you experience the Cocktail Kitchen at The Refinery. It’s an opportunity to meet the city’s leading mixologists and upcoming bartending talent. The quality of the food and drink is excellent, offering good value for money. This would be a great option for entertaining out-of-town visitors. Oh, did I mention they have a good beer list? Driftwood Ale and White Bark Wheat are also on draught.

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