I’m originally from Alberta. I started bartending when I was 18 and I fell in love with it.
By Danielle Tatarin
The history of bartending, the creativity you can pour into your work (no pun intended) is amazing. It quickly became both a passion and now a full-time career.
When I decided to move to Vancouver I had one year of university but wasn’t sure what I would do – school or work, preferably for myself. I decided on the latter and started Garnish Girls with some friends, creating lavish and sumptuous garnishes for custom drinks. That experience made me realize that my true passion was making customized cocktails. When the other girls decided to go their own way I started my own company, Designer Cocktail, freelance bartending and teaching cocktail classes.
Fast forward: A new contact, Cam Watt, approached me to work with him, and we became friends. When he was opening The Keefer Bar in Vancouver’s Chinatown, he asked me to design drinks and a training program for his bartenders. Keefer is a classically-inspired cocktail bar with a Chinese apothecary theme. We make our own bitters, tinctures, teas and syrups and incorporate them into our cocktails (all have Chinese medicinal ingredients), creating drinks that are good for your health (in moderation). One example is our Richard Parker, made with Sailor Jerry Rum, Tiger Beer, Lemon, Honey and Hailong Genjie Extract.
Spring cocktails are generally lighter flavours using lighter spirits. Gin, for example, was popular last year and will continue to be a spring/summer favourite. I like to incorporate seasonal produce. I’m a big fan of herbal concoctions; I enjoy playing around with different mixtures until I get just the right taste.
People are becoming more in tune with what they put in their bodies so cocktails are becoming more refined. Local ingredients, house-made concoctions and simple drinks are things that people really like, whether it’s a professional bartender or home enthusiast.
Danielle’s spring-infused cocktail
1 oz dragonfruit infused gin
1 oz Nigori sake
1/2 oz ginger syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
3 dashes Magnolia Bark Tincture
Shake all ingredients together with ice in a shaker
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with an Asian pear fan