Tasting Notes: Cocktail Culture and Cultural Cookbook

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As everyone learned how to make sourdough during the pandemic, Craig Nienaber imbibed a whole different kind of culture.

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Cocktail culture, to be precise, but it’s not like he has the burning and permanent desire to open a store that bears his name.

“It was exactly the opposite,” admits Nienaber behind the counter of Cocktail culture , which he quietly opened on Whyte Avenue a few weeks ago. “It is only recently that I entered this field. Like many other people in recent years, I was looking for some sort of creative outlet. Others started baking, I started to learn how to make cocktails.

It was only the first step. After concocting his own cosmopolitan and gin fizzs, Nienaber got hooked and started delving into the various accessories and ingredients needed to make more complicated drinks. During the process, he discovered that much of what he was looking for couldn’t be found in town and had to be ordered.

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“In terms of cocktail scenes, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are really developed,” says Nienaber. “It’s a little different in Edmonton, where until now you didn’t really have a store that answered that, and you had to order things online. That being said, we have world class bartenders here, and you can feel the change.

By bringing all the necessary accessories, Nienaber hopes to reach the growing number of people interested in diving a little further into the world of cocktails. This includes high quality shakers, jiggers and pestles, as well as a large selection of bitters, syrups, shrubs, glasses, tiki mugs, books and other items – it stores items related to wine, beer and absinthe.

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“Obviously, the craft beer scene is huge and the market for small distilleries is growing,” notes Nienaber. “With people a little more adventurous in their taste for wine and food, it all kind of fused together. I have met people in the industry who are excited about what they can get in the store, but the retail side is also important. Wedding parties, Christmas gifts, I hope the gift market will be a really big part of what we do.

There’s still plenty of space in the store for Nienaber to work on, and he’s already thinking about some unique ways to use it.

“At some point, probably more in the New Year, we’ll be trying event-driven things,” he says. “I would love to put a real bar here with a 24 hour liquor license, and then we can bring in some of our local distilleries, as well as guest bartenders so that we can do demonstrations and tastings.”

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EdmontonEATS Cookbook

It has been a little over two years since EdmontonEat took over the kitchen from Ernest’s dining room at NAIT for the social enterprise’s first event, A Taste of Libya.

The organization, which pairs families of newcomers as cultural hosts with local culinary experts for an evening of food, culture and community, has adapted to this difficult time. Rather than the traditional meeting at the restaurant, the organizers opted for the food-box delivery model. They followed their initial event with a socially distanced Flavors of Somalia, then switched to last winter’s Holiday Cultural Box, which featured recipes, spice blends and ingredients from Libya, Syria and Bangladesh.

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Now they’re celebrating with Cooking Around the Globe, a collection of 23 favorite recipes in cookbook form with photos and information about each dish.

“We wanted to bring them all together in one place,” says Maureen Murphy-Black, founder of EdmontonEats. “Some of them are from our cultural hosts, some from entrepreneurs we’ve worked with, like Najim (Altameemi), who now sells his honey vinegar all over Edmonton. We also have one from Human Connection, a group that connects people in Mexico with tourists – they’ve been one of the inspirations for EdmontonEats, actually.

The cookbooks, made with help from Paper Lime Creative, can be ordered from the EdmontonEats website for $ 25 each. However, they can only be purchased in packs of four, so when shopping you should also consider who else on your friends list might want one as a Christmas present. Coming later in November, EdmontonEats’ annual vacation box; the recipes have been chosen, and they have already started the tastings with their cultural leaders.

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Even more exciting news is the possibility of their new five-spice blends being picked up by a downtown market.

“There is some interest, we just need to meet the buyer,” says Murphy-Black. “We spoke with our very first cultural host, and if it took off, we would hire her to help us. It would be his first job in Canada, so it would be amazing if that comes to pass. “

Cooking Around the Globe, a new cookbook from EdmontonEats.
Cooking Around the Globe, a new cookbook from EdmontonEats. Photo by provided /Postmedia

Northern Light Dining Experience

The mild autumn that we are currently experiencing should not make you forget that we are inexorably sliding into winter.

Along with the snow and the cold comes the restoration domes, which you are going to see popping up all over the city over the next few months. As the Northern Light Culinary Experience , which takes place at the University of Alberta Botanical Garden concurrently with Luminaria, from November 27 to January 9. – person dome under the stars. Reservations run Monday through Thursday until after Christmas when they add Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $ 125 per person plus tax, which includes access to Luminaria. More information is available at botanicgarden.ualberta.ca.

yegarts@postmedia.com

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