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Laowai x Florería Atlántico, VCW2024

Tonight was the last of Laowai’s guest shifts for Vancouver Cocktail Week. This time the bar was taken over by World’s 50 Best Bars Industry Icon Award winner Renato (Tato) Giovonnani of Florería Atlántico, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Florería Atlántico is currently ranked No. 30 on the Best Bars list and tonight Tato was a one man show representing.

I knew to come early to ensure I would be posted up by the bar. I stand firm that this is best spot to be able to watch and engage in the guest bartenders, and that is really the highlight of attending such events.

We would try all 4 of the cocktails and honestly as a whole, they were the best of the series and my favourites for the week. Each unique on its own and a wonder as to how they came to be. We were witnessing the pinnacle of mixology tonight with the creation of something completely new from that which is familiar. And after trying his cocktails, I can see why Tato has won the awards that he has.

The Antesala Del Infierno was a showstopper with a flame show to boot. Ford’s gin, kirsch, Noilly Pratt, grand marnier, maraschino, camapri, and over-proof rum. You don’t get florals or any herbal notes from the gin, you can’t make out the orange in the grand marnier, or the warm spice of camapri, nor the sweetness and candy-like flavour of rum. This was a drink all on its own, done so intelligently with a warm honey finish. Hard to describe and just needs to be tasted.

The Cha Cha Cha is a fun one. Ford’s gin, apricot brandy, peach puree, and champagne. Like a sparkling Bellini in a cute and girly package, it just needed a garnish of some kind. The more I drank the more I got strawberry and other summer fruits from this. A very easy and dangerous cocktail.

My favourite of the night and series is the Fernet Con Fruitilla. Strawberry Fernet, Creme de Cacao, strawberry liquor,
cherry soda, and creme de menthe. Like drinking strawberries and chocolate, this was sex and romance in a glass. You don’t ever see strawberry fernet anywhere, and that is because they macerate their own strawberries to have it for this cocktail. Once again it is so clever how Tato got this from all of the above. And to hit that point home, the cocktail was topped with a chocolate covered strawberry. The dark chocolate enrobed fruit echoed the flavoured you just sipped on.

There has to be a least favourite and that is the Algo Amarillo, but only because the others were so unique and this is similar in profile to what I have had before. Banana infused Siete Misterios, Strega, and Tonic. This was Smoky mezcal forward where I wanted and was more exited for the banana, especially seeing as their macerated strawberry above was so good. This was refreshing and light when compared to everything else, but even reading the ingredient list not as nuanced or layered as the other three.

And of course we had to tie in some of Laowai’s dumplings. The dumplings of the evening were the Chicken & Chive from Fujian. Chicken Thigh, sweet & sour soy, sesame seeds fried shallots, chili oil, chives, and cilantro. These had me resending my previous comments on their dumplings the nights before, like they read my posts and took the feedback. The filling was not dense, and it was not just a lump of meat, but a mix of herbs that echoed what was sprinkled on top. Next, the wrapper was not over cooked that it fell apart, but firm enough to offer a nice chew. And finally the sauce was on point, not just one flavoured flat, but a salty mix that picked up on the natural flavours of dumpling. Like day and night. Well done.

In short, this ends my week of Laowai visits to get a taste of the world through a glass, and to be able to fan girl over award winning international bartenders. But although Vancouver Cocktail Week may be drawing to a close, Laowai will continue to do their guest bartender series, with a new pop up every month. And I cannot wait to attend them all.

251 East Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6A 176

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