We have a pretty fab cocktail scene here in Vancouver with tons of local distillers and crazy-good seasonal produce. Because of that, I stay pretty local: I wouldn’t say super I’m in the know when it comes to the international cocktail scene. But, when famed mixologist Mashiro Urushido of Katana Kitten decided to collab with Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge and RawBar, my interest was definitely piqued.
Katana Kitten is known for its Tokyo-inspired drinks and even won number 10 in the World’s Best Bars annual ranking last year. Owner and mixologist Urushido says he has “always been inspired by coastal flavours” – so this collaboration with the Lobby Lounge and RawBar is a no-brainer. The cocktail tasting experience features three New York inspired drinks and two that are influenced by Vancouver. Of the NY cocktails, the Watini was a clear favourite at our table. Made with Fords gin, vermouth, koji, ao-togarashi and green yuzu, it was the kind of cocktail I always pictured adult-businesswoman me would sip on. Although an adult, I am no businesswoman, however the combo of locally-sourced yuzu and umami-forward koji made for very easy drinking. Plus, it was served with accoutrements –nigiri and pickled vegetables. And it isn’t very hard to love something that comes with a snack.
Of the Vancouver-inspired cocktails, the aptly named Check In (they’re a hotel, get it?) was floral, fresh and lightly sweet. Made with Fords gin, blueberry and lemon oleo, Luxardo bitter bianco, lavender and brut it is the most springtime of all the drinks available. The rest of the menu is equally fun, with flavours I haven’t seen together before (a Ramune-inspired cocktail featuring local Superflux IPA is a standout).
This is the first collab of its kind at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, however they’re looking to continue the trend and host other influential mixologists in the future. Plus, they’re planning on having live music and food truck-style eats every night of the summer.