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Vancouver Foodster Martini Challenge 2023

This year I was invited to be one of the judges for Vancouver Foodster’s latest martini challenge, running from April 6-30th, 2023. This is a challenge where restaurants/bars enter into a competition to showcase/create a dish/drink vying for a specific title. In this case it was the best martini, with 4 hotel bars and their head bar manager competing for the honours. And as one of the three judges, it was my duty to visit all 4 locations to try their specialty creations and score them based on presentation, originality, and taste. A score totalling 40 points, with taste having the heaviest weight.

For those wanting to participate, diners and drinkers are also invited down to each establishment to try said creations and to cast their vote for their favourite. Doing so by following the link below. The winner earns the coveted title of People’s Choice. Guests were able to vote daily, ensuring their chosen champion earns the win, the bragging rights, plus the certification to go alongside it.

In the order of which I visited each bar, the following are the combatants and my notes on each. I will not be revealing my scores, as to not indirectly reveal the winner. So, use these as consideration to try the ones you deem most interesting.

At Stock & Supply located in Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites they were offering a classic clean and dry martini. This is “This Side of the Coast” featuring a coconut washed vodka from Sons of Vancouver, Dry vermouth, vanilla syrup, pineapple bitters, and a maraschino spritz. Served in a chilled coupe and finished with lime zest and twist.

This was a true martini, boozy and strong with a taste that does not beat around the bush. It had one overall tone and pace. I compared it to a loose interpretation of a piña colada, given the familiar flavour and use of tropical coconut milk. Its coconut oil lingers on the lips, extending its luxurious feel in your mouth. And it ends of a refreshing note with a cucumber-like freshness that hits the back of your throat, along with citrus. This is definitely a sipping cocktail that doesn’t quite settle on the palate.

Stock & Supply
550 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1L6, Canada
+1 604-899-3049

At C|PRIME located in Century Plaza Hotel they had a rift on the classic espresso martini. As the bartender prepared the drink, she gave us a history lesson on it. When they first invented it, people were ordering it one after another and then finding out they weren’t able to go to bed after, due to all the caffeine. Therefore, the name “Up All Night” seemed especially fitting. Hennessy, Cognac, Giffard caramel toffee liquor, Kahlúa, and Illy Espresso; double strained into a chilled coupe and topped with chocolate powder, coffee beans, and in house made caramel tulle.

I found it not as booze forward as your typical martinis, so it drank more like a dessert and drink in one. It was smokey with the Henny and you could tell the difference using freshly brewed Italian espresso made. And for those who like their drinks on the sweeter side, you could lean on the toffee caramel topping. I found it best to nibble and let it melt some on your tongue before taking a sip. This was an easy drinking pick-me-up that you can definitely get caught up having 2-3 of and not feeling it.

C|PRIME Modern Italian Steak and Wine
1015 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y5, Canada
+1 604-684-3474

At Diva at the Met, located within Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Karolina, the head bartender, and the winner of the Vancouver Foodster’s best nergroni challenge (which I also judged). Today she had another creative and visually ornate cocktail for us to try. This is the Botanist Confection Martini. A cocktail that was inspired by the lifestyle of a botanist and their love of floral and fauna. It was made using rose infused gin, lemon rose vodka, elderflower liqueur, hibiscus simple syrup, green chartreuse, and lime. The chilled coupe is finished with a garnish of edible rose candy, glitter mist, and a cotton candy skewer. The extra glitz and glam was very much so appreciated on my end. The pinch a gold and a dusting of glitter “like the faeries use”, sealed the deal.

From start to finish the Botanist Confection Martini had a cohesive story and you can tell the effort that was put into making it. Like its creator it was youthful, playful, and full of joy. With the cotton candy melted in, it came out on the sweeter side, so you can decide how stiff you want it by either including it or omitting it. Overall, it was floral with a classic gin undertone, the lemon brightened and brought the drink together with zest.

Diva at the Met
645 Howe St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2Y9, Canada
+1 604-602-7788

And last but not least, was the martini at 1927 Lobby Lounge, another lobby bar located within another hotel. This time it was the prestigious Rosewood Hotel Georgia. A narrow space with a historic feel serving up classic confections. Their martini competing for the title as the best is the Java Drop. A clear espresso martini made with vodka, espresso vodka, chocolate liqueur, chocolate bitters, cinnamon bitters, espresso caviar, and espresso sugar agar.

This epitomized what you’d expect from the property given the year in its name. A classic martini utilizing high end spirits that is refined and boozy, presented with a clever tangent. Served with a dish of Kahlúa and Bailey pearls on the side this was a deconstructed cocktail of sorts. You were directed to self-scoop the pearls into the clear martini. However, I found that each, despite its described flavour, had no taste. The pearls simply added a texture similar to bubble tea, but miniaturized. Just as well as I enjoyed the martini as is and found it smooth with all the flavour of coffee you want and none of its associated gritty texture.

1927 Lobby Lounge
801 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1P7, Canada
+1 604-682-5566

In closing you have until April 30th to try all the creations above and cast your vote for your favourite. So don’t miss out!


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