Vancouver bartender wins top spot in huge North American cocktail competition

Sep 21 2018, 1:47 am

It’s no secret that Vancouver has an incredible cocktail scene, and that means we’ve got some of the best mixologists in the country serving us tantalizing concoctions from our favourite local watering holes.

One of those bartenders is Max Curzon-Price from Botanist in the Fairmont Pacific Rim, who recently landed a top spot in the North American leg of the 12th Annual “Most Imaginative Bartender” Competition presented by Bombay Sapphire gin.

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This event pins 16 talented finalists against each other, putting their creative skills to the test as they present their most artfully crafted cocktails. Curzon-Price placed sixth overall, doing Canada proud as one of only two Canadians who competed in the fierce competition in England.

Curzon-Price shared some of his knowledge about the burgeoning cocktail scene in Vancouver and included a Bombay Sapphire gin-based recipe for you to try at home.


Max Curzon-Price (Photo: Alyssa Dawson Photography)

How did you get started in your mixology career?

My bartending career started out seven years ago. I was uncertain as to which direction in life I wanted to pursue and having grown up in a family restaurant, my mother encouraged me to find a job in the hospitality industry whilst I was figuring out where I really wanted to be. She told me, “it makes salt-of-the-earth people.”

Within a few months of being behind the bar, I found myself really enjoying my work as a creative outlet and more so, the communication with a variety of new individuals.

What’s a cocktail trend you see being big in 2019?

Having spent my early bartending years around the London cocktail scene, I was fascinated to get to Vancouver and realize how progressive the city is here compared to some of the larger international scenes. I feel the progression of bitters, amaros, and sherries is at the forefront of bartenders palates currently. I’m excited to see how the more bitter and umami flavours find their way onto menus in 2019.

Where do you like to go for a cocktail in Vancouver when you’re off?

It’s a tough call but I love sitting at the bar with Robin and Jason at L’abattoir. My favourite drink in this city is Jasons’ ‘Foie-la’! Foie-washed Whiskey with some bitters and vermouth – it’s perfection!

What is Vancouver doing to change the cocktail game in Canada?

I feel that Vancouver and BC, in general, are producing some serious craft distillates that we’re starting to see around the world. We have such a vast bounty of flora and botanicals growing naturally around British Columbia that we’ve really started to showcase our terroir in our distillation as well as in our wine.


Hay, Hoe, Let’s Grow


(Photo: Alyssa Dawson Photography)

  • 60ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 30ml Acidified Parsnip Juice
  • 22ml Bee Pollen Syrup
  • 2 dashes Hay and Burdock Root Bitters
  • 1 Egg White
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