There's something for everyone, whether you’re enjoying zero-proof or the real deal
Sure, 2020 was not the ideal year to start a bar/catering company, but as events shut down, Born to Shake founders Shayne Labis and Nicole Barron stirred up something else. The Kelowna-based brand started manufacturing DIY cocktail kits, bitters and syrups in a variety of unique flavours (for example, the “Cherry Bomb” syrup is made with local cherry juice, allspice and cinnamon, while the “Mountain Man” bitters are crafted with cedarwood, wintergreen, chamomile and blackcurrant).
Vancouverite Heidi Kuhn rescues rejected produce and turns it into shrubs—vinegar-based concentrated syrups—which she’s been selling at farmers markets since 2014. Her company Mixers and Elixirs offers flavours like nectarine ginger, blackcurrant, quince and rhubarb. The “drinking vinegars” can be used to give cocktails an extra wow factor (or to spice up regular old sparkling water).
Products from Frostbites Syrup Co. go excellently with spirits and soda, but founders Peggy Speir and Martyn Meek started making all-natural syrups for a much more kid-friendly purpose: Hawaiian-style shaved ice. The Squamish-based wife husband duo officially became syrup manufacturers in 2013 (after many requests from customers at their shaved ice stand) and their small-batch bottles of cordial now come in 30 flavours (think elderflower, hibiscus lemon and key lime and mint).
You likely know Jessica Schacht as the co-founder of Ampersand Distilling Co., the Cowichan Valley-based distillery (founded in 2014) that makes awesome gin. But she’s also a writer, and her new book The Five-Bottle Bar: A Simple Guide to Stylish Cocktails is a super-accessible blueprint for creating a great home bar without breaking the booze bank.
Level up your cocktail-making game with Victoria-based Twist of Fate Cocktail Co. Andrew Langford and Sarah Worrall both had backgrounds in hospitality before founding the company in 2017, and they’re eager to share the knowledge: their interactive classes (like the super-popular Cocktail 101) offer helpful advice for beginner mixologists and a dash of cocktail history, too.
A handmade drink needs some handcrafted glassware... and the mid-century modern style of Cameron Dougherty’s glass-blowing is definitely cheers-worthy. He founded Vancouver-based Dougherty Glassworks in 2018, and is opening up his own glass studio in Aldergrove this July—so you’ll be able to see the process behind his stunning barware designs up close. He also offers glass-blowing workshops.
Mind the Minimal founder Stephanie Keung chose to work with concrete because of her father’s background in construction, and her modern homeware has an industrial yet playful vibe. Since launching her Richmond- based biz in 2016, she’s crafted an impressive collection of homewares (including coasters for keeping your coffee table ring-free).
Everyone knows a real bartender always has a kitchen towel casually slung over one shoulder. Add some whimsy to your home cocktail game with Badger & Burke’s playfully printed tea towels and sponge cloths (rainbows, lemons and dalmatians all make an appearance in the Vancouver-based company’s products). Jamie Armstrong and Holton Brock founded the biz in 2017—their funky prints are a super stylish way to clean up spills.
Bartender and long-time hospitality vet Nick Devine launched Edna’s Non Alcoholic Cocktail Company in 2022, just a few months before Canada changed the recommended alcohol guidelines (two—or less— drinks per week is the latest hot goss from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction). The Vancouver-based brand’s zero-proof lineup includes a mojito, collins, mule and paloma.