Behind Bars: People’s Choice winner back for Art of the Cocktail

Expect something special from Cenote for this Victoria Film Festival fundraiser Oct. 19

When the team from Cenote Restaurant and Lounge signed up for their first appearance at The Art of the Cocktail, they had a pretty clear plan: let as many people as possible know who they were, where they are and what they do.

They went all out to create a memorable experience for attendees at the Victoria Film Festival’s 2018 fundraiser event at the Crystal Garden, doing their best to recreate the essence of their basement bar. And while competition wasn’t their focus, they wound up winning the people’s choice award for their tequila-based cocktail Night Swim.

Scott Lansdowne, the man behind Cenote’s cocktail program.

“We probably brought more stuff than anybody to create the same kind of essence that we have in our basement,” says Kevin Tahouney, who co-owns Cenote with Seth Asch and Scott Lansdowne, the man who oversees the bar side of their operation underneath Lyle’s Place Records at 768 Yates St.

The success enjoyed by the Cenote crew at Art of the Cocktail – yes, they’ll be back for the Oct. 19 event this year – belies the fact they only got serious about creating cocktails four years ago. For Lansdowne and his team of bartenders including Nate Caudle, Adam Price and James Harrison, creativity is the key. They seize on new items and new trends to create drinks that raise your eyebrows.

When I dropped by Cenote recently, I sampled a Pistol Whip (Bulleit bourbon, Triple Sec, absinthe, orgeat, lime and fresh mint) off the cocktail menu. I had just finished this delicious and refreshing beverage when Harrison whipped together an amazing, unnamed cocktail on the spot, with some ingredients he’d been working with lately. There’s that creativity in action.

Victoria Film Festival director Kathy Kay has seen Art of the Cocktail evolve from a business casual, after-5 affair to cocktail classy where attendees, like many of the exhibitors, also go all out.

“Now they’re stunning, absolutely stunning,” she says. “And this year with the Paris theme, I think we might even see some Chanel.”

There’s about 45 exhibitors expected this time around, including many newcomers, Kay says. While the majority are offering cocktails, more are expected to provide food items – a good thing for people looking to pace themselves. After all, this event doesn’t have tokens or tickets for drinks, it’s one ticket for everything. Which is likely a big reason it sells out about 900 tickets every year.

Among the features to watch for this year are an ice luge, courtesy Prince of Whales, with a mystery cocktail at the end; potato latkes and smoked salmon appetizers courtesy of The Village Restaurant, and fresh oysters from 10 Acres.

But in the end, it’s all about the cocktails. Tahouney says Cenote’s bar crew haven’t quite determined what they’ll be concocting for the event, but you can be assured it’ll be something special that will do the Victoria basement bar proud.

VIP tickets, with early entrance, are sold out but you can find general grand tasting tickets, along with more information, at artofthecocktail.ca.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Claremont Spartans win the inaugural Senior Girls’ AAAA Basketball Island Championship

Claremont Spartans win their Feb. 15 game agains the Royal Bay Ravens 71 - 64

Campus View Elementary undergoes $4.2 million in seismic upgrades

Campus View Elementary undergoes significant seismic upgrades

Sidney company tastes sweet success with sugar kelp

Cascadia Seaweed is experiencing rapid growth after launching six months ago

Westin Bear Mountain invests $2 million to renovate newly-named spa

‘Amatista Spa’ has yet to announce official opening date

North Saanich floats tougher policies for buoys and moorings near Tsehum Harbour

Municipality also considers additional collaboration with Sidney and other communities

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read