NOLA meets LOLA, Tim Pawsey photo

Fancy yourself a good mixer?

Here’s a great chance to hunt down that silver cocktail shaker you were given for your 21st (well, wasn’t everyone?) and polish up your mixology skills.

Tales Of The Cocktail on Tour rolls into Vancouver, March 12-15.

If you’re ‘in the biz’ you won’t want to miss this spirited weekend.  But even if you’re just a keen amateur you might also want to jump at the chance to rub shoulders and swap swizzles with the best of them.

‘TOTC’ to the hip crowd of local bartenders (who, by the way are gaining lots of international cred), the New Orleans (NOLA) extravaganza was started eight years ago by Ann Tuennerman.

Today it runs four days and hosts 15,000 people—which is why organisers have decided to take the show on the road.

How come YVR?

Just like New Orleans, there’s ‘a phenomenal drinking and dining culture’ here, says Tuennerman, as she sips on a Vieux Carré, the classic NOLA concoction that’s so representative of New Orleans history and culture.

You can thank the likes of local cocktail guru Jay Jones (who helped kick-start the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association) for pointing the Big Easy folks in our direction.

TOTC’s founder sees plenty of similarities between The Big Easy and Lotusland, none the least of which is a shared enthusiasm for the classics.

Trevor Kallies, Bar & Beverage Director Donnelly Group; Heather Yau, bartender, Waldorf Hotel; Ann Tuennerman, founder Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans; Jonathan Smolensky, bartender, Brix/George Ultra Lounge, winner of inaugural Vancouver Cocktail Competition; Danielle Tatarin, Bartender, Keefer Bar; Jay Jones, Market, Founding Director Canadian Professional Bartenders Association. Tim Pawsey photo

Joining the ‘pro-team’ of renowned mixologists coming here in March will be six apprentices from across Canada, picked for their own creativity in using local ingredients.

Scooping top spot for the first Vancouver Cocktail Competition was Brix / George Ultra Lounge’s Jonathan Smolensky. His ‘Dalhousie’ (named for Montreal’s CPR station, from which the first trans-Canadian train departed in 1886) yields a culturally diverse personality by mixing Chinese spirit Domaine de Canton and eastern European Zwack Unicum with plum infused Gibson’s 18 year-old Canadian whisky. Here’s the recipe.

Better book fast if you want to be in on the deal. And what a deal it is, with a weekend packed full of dinners, seminars and special events. And, no doubt, more than a few spontaneous get togethers at our more illustrious bars—of which Vancouver boasts an increasing number…

Check the full list of events and register at