Internationally renowned for his work in the hospitality and marketing industry, Victoria resident Shawn Soole is once again recognizing the ever-growing cocktail scene.
Soole recently released his second book titled Great Northern Cocktails featuring the best-of-the-best bartenders in Canada.
His first book, Cocktail Culture, was based around Victoria B.C.’s cocktail scene and was released five years ago.
“This book I have been aching to write for a couple of years now, but obviously it is sometimes hard to talk publishers into releasing a cocktail book about the Canadian cocktail culture,” explained Soole. “So, after 14 publishers saying no I found a publisher that said yes.”
From there Soole took off across the country from Vancouver Island to Toronto collecting biographies of local bartenders.
“I wanted to showcase the big cities like Toronto and Vancouver because everyone gets that. But, there are also bartenders from Red Deer, Tofino and Saskatchewan,” he said. “Everyone is in here. It gives a good voice from the little markets to big cities.”
Four bartenders from Kelowna are noted in the book. Gerry Jobe and Dave Simpson are given a special kudos after the duo spent three years creating the perfect blend of ingredients for their first Simp’s Serious Caesar mix. Now the highly regarded bartenders have opened a storefront on High Road to sell their vegan, gluten-free and 100 per cent Canadian made product.
Also featured in Soole’s book is the award-winning bartender of Skinny Duke’s Glorious Emporium Mark Veriker and founder of Bar Travelling Man cocktails Harry Dosanj.
To the south, in Penticton, Jonathan Cote of Craft Corner Kitchen also gets a nod.
Soole was in Kelowna for the launch of his new book as well as to guest judge at the Okanagan Spirits Distillery Mixoff earlier this month.
“After the night’s event I think I will be adding four or five new bartenders to this book,” Soole said. “The good thing is we have an opportunity for me to update this book on a regular basis and by August next year I could bring out a second edition, with another 50 or 60 bartenders.”
He originally visited Kelowna more than four years ago and had said at the time the city seemed to plateau in the cocktail scene, losing a few bartenders to bigger centres.
“It’s nice to see that it has come full cycle, we are seeing some super talented bartenders and venues and managers, that are hospitality based and are backing the people,” said Soole. “I like what BNA is doing, they have a bowling alley which is just awesome and they also have Skinny Dukes. There are now enough older guys here to mentor the younger bartenders, which grows the cocktail culture.”
To make the cut for Soole’s book he must personally meet you or has to be a recommendation from an industry leader.