Blog post

Botanist Bar and Cocktail Lab

November 15, 2019

Imagine a cocktail that leaves you intrigued, captivated and engaged. While visiting Vancouver, discover Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Inside, you will encounter Botanist Bar and Cocktail Lab’s whimsical menu and chemist-like libations.  

When sitting at the bar, you have a high chance of meeting one of their charismatic bartenders, Max Curzon-Price. Curzon-Price joined Botanist Bar during its inception in 2017. He creates cocktails with Jeff Savage, the Botanist head bartender, and Grant Sceney, the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s creative beverage director.

Like the entire Botanist Bar team, Curzon-Price is an excellent storyteller. You soon find yourself intrigued and captivated by his words. You want to know more, and you want to discover what the cocktail will taste like.

The bar’s extensive list features sophisticated and individualistic cocktails which take inspiration from the abundance of Botany surrounding the Pacific Northwest. In addition to locally-sourcing eco-minded ingredients, the program takes a “no-waste” approach.

If it’s your first visit, then I suggest exploring their experiential designs from the Lab. The Cocktail Lab program features expressive and in-depth anecdotes. Specifically, each creation is themed around a different element: earth, fire, water, wind and spirit.

The Creation of ‘Spirit’

The team crafted Into the Æther as a competition submission for Bols Around The World 2019. As their goal, they designed a drink with a clear concept to win the competition and live on the Botanist menu. With high-creativity and collaborative efforts, Botanist Bar received a first place victory against the 250 bar teams from 40 different countries.

“We recognized that the original four elements are the roots of life,” explained Curzon-Price. “With consciousness developing as human life evolves, we become aware of the sense of spirit or energy that guides us all.”

The ambiguity of spirit inspired the team to create a cocktail unlike anything they had served or tasted. A few objectives included establishing a sense of “mystery and awe about the drink.”

After experiencing Into the Æther, I can see why Lab Cocktails are only served at the bar. The cocktail’s showmanship and narration must be witnessed in person, not simply dropped off at a dining table. The interaction with the bar team is not to be missed while at Botanist.

“I hope that every guest that leaves Botanist feels that they’ve learned or experienced something new and intriguing, hoping to return soon to hear the next story and indulge in something different,” said Curzon-Price.

Aside from Botanist Bar…

After an exceptional cocktail experience, I recommend dining in Botanist for a menu created by executive chef Hector Laguna. Much like the bar, the dining menu focuses on the flavors and botany found in the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, Botanist prides itself in only using sustainably-sourced seafood and organic-agricultural methods from backyard suppliers.

Thank you to the Fairmont Pacific Rim for sponsoring my experience at Botanist Bar!

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