Saturday, April 9, 2011

Luxury On The Rocks

Often overlooked, ice is truly one of the most important ingredients in any cocktail. You might be thinking that all it does is chill the drink and thus, any ice will do, but there's much more to it than that. As the ice in your shaker or glass melts, it adds to the cocktail providing the right amount of dilution to complete the experience. The quality of the ice itself and have a big impact.

Our friends at On The Rocks know ice better than anyone and they've gone one step further. Not only do they offer the purest, cleanest ice around, they now offer Luxury Ice products which we think are totally cool!

Ice Spheres
The ice sphere is one of the most efficient and attractive ways to cool your premium beverage. The pure, crystal clear 2.5" diameter ice sphere is designed for maximum cooling and minimum dilution appealing to the high-end cocktail connoisseur.

2" Cubes
Top shelf cocktails and liquors should be chilled to enhance their individually unique flavours. These 2" cubes do just that without weakening them with quick dilution. They stylishly address the problem of maintaining the integrity of fine liquors and enable your customers to savour the taste. For a custom touch, your own logo or design can be added to the cubes.

Cleaner ice = better tasting cocktails and with these new offerings from On the Rocks, now you can add that extra touch of luxury to your next cocktail party.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Back to the Prom

Last weekend we went back, way back to 1969 for a birthday party prom-style, joining the girls at Dream Group to recreate the authentic 60's prom experience for Marianne's 60th birthday party. From brilliant decor, to Prosecco punch, the event looked great. And when the guests arrived in full costume, the party really got going. Check out Dream Group's blog for some pics of the event.

Looking forward to the next party!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Leaving the Beer Garden

Some shred of good news in Canadian liquor law reform this week. In Ontario, the government has announced they are "exploring" the idea of loosening up liquor laws for special events and vacation resorts. In typical Canadian fashion, the highly contentious topic of allowing people to take a beer out of the beer garden tent has garnered a lot of debate.

Proponents say the relaxed laws will stimulate tourism by allowing Ontario resorts to sell all-inclusive vacation packages (why go to the Caribbean when you can go to Muskoka?) and making it easier for festival planners and the events industry. Opponents swear there will be anarchy in the streets with drunken fathers and abusive alcoholics running rampant.

Am I the only one that thinks this debate is given more attention than need be? We're talking about a legal substance consumed only by adults (responsible enough to vote for the people making these laws). While I'm glad to see more attention being given to liquor law reform (hopefully this will rub off in BC), I really just don't see why all of this is such a big deal. If you treat adults like adults, perhaps they will actually act like them. Where else in the world do they deal with this issue? The outdated laws that place the tight restrictions on alcohol consumption need to go.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Food & Beverage Trends for 2011

What's in store for food and beverage trends in 2011? Tate & Lyle's food experts convened at a roundtable to develop the Top 4 trends that will shape the food industry this year while helping manufacturers supercharge their brands to meet consumers' ever-changing preferences.

Trends for 2011:
  1. Simplicity
  2. Stealth Sugar and Calorie Reductions is the new Mid Calorie
  3. One Product, Multiple Benefits
  4. Restaurant Quality at Home

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Finer Details Event Planning: 5 Tips to Choose the Right Vendor

A great article by our friends at the Finer Details Event Planning.

The Finer Details Event Planning: 5 Tips to Choose the Right Vendor: "You’re getting married – Congratulations! Beyond the ever important questions of when & where comes, “Who’s making your cake?”, “W..."

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Unique Approach to a Wedding Event

Anyone who has been married, knows someone who is getting married, has a friend whose friend is getting married, etc.. has been dragged out to one of the big wedding shows. They typically take place at a large hotel venue and feature hundreds of vendors vying for your business. They are anything but intimate and rarely give brides an opportunity to discuss their wedding with qualified professionals.

The folks at Veil TV however, take a different approach with their Intimate Cocktail Party events. Focusing on quality over quantity, these gatherings bring together 18-20 top wedding vendors for an informal mix and mingle with brides-to-be. Away from the impersonal tradeshow environment, brides can feel free to get to know these professionals, ask questions about their wedding, and see if there's a fit. And perhaps the best part is that the event is totally FREE for brides.

The next event is on February 27, 2011 at the Terminal City Club. Lavish Liquid will be there and we hope to see you there as well. For more information and to register, click here.

I'm excited to be a part of the event and look forward to filling you all in on how it goes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Navigating BC Liquor Law for Events Is Not Easy

Everyone knows that the liquor laws in this province are at best restrictive, and at worst, downright draconian. While the claim is that the laws governing the service and sale of alcohol are meant to "protect public interest" and "regulate a controlled substance", the reality is that the BCLDB has an effective stranglehold on the special events industry and even private citizens looking to host an event.

I understand the rationale behind controlling liquor sale and consumption, the system has become so convoluted and complicated that it almost takes a lawyer to sift through the regulations. With more than 8 types of liquor licenses out there, it can be very confusing.

I can deal with the above. It's typical of government. But what really gets me is the glaring conflict of interest. Here's a situation where the regulatory agency is also a competitor in the industry. The BCLDB regulates sales and service in a manner that ensures they always turn a profit to the detriment of private enterprise.

Of particular interest to me is the events industry. Here's just a few examples of what I'm talking about:
  1. Did you know that to qualify for a special occasion liquor license, you must purchase all alcohol for your event from a BC liquor store? You cannot purchase any liquor for use at an event from a private beer and wine store. Cash-grab #1.
  2. If you've ever hosted an event and hoped to recover costs by having a cash bar, you're probably aware of the BC liquor price maximums which are set so ridiculously low that it's difficult to break even on the costs, much less offset any other event costs. Does the BCLDB offer discounted pricing so you can cover costs? Hell no. Cash-grab #2
  3. Even the ServingItRight program, while well-intended, is not much more than another cash grab. Simply complete the rigorous and intense open-book online test and pay $35 and, bam, you're now a certified professional. We all know there's a lot more to responsible service than that.
Add in the municipal permit requirements, police approvals, fire department approvals, etc.. and you almost need a lawyer to wade through all of the red tape. It's no wonder people need event industry professionals to help coordinate events. There are even businesses that focus exclusively on helping event organizers obtain the necessary licensing for events!

Why is this so complicated? Have you ever hosted a special event? How did you make out when dealing with the BCLDB, local gov't, police, fire department, and all the other controlling entities?

Share your stories here. I would love to hear other people's thoughts on the subject.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cool Mobile Bars from Around the World

Everyone knows that the liquor laws in BC are, well, rather restrictive with respect to where you can and can't consume alcohol. I came across some really cool mobile bars from other countries that I thought I'd share. This week I came across some great examples of mobile bars in other countries and thought I'd share. Unfortunately all of these ideas would essentially be illegal here in Canada, but it never hurts to dream.

Here are my top 5 Mobile Bars:

#1 - Amsterdam pedi-bar

Imagine cruising through Stanley Park on this!

#2 MrFrothy

(Check out It's awesome!)

#3 Best VW Bus Ever!!

They really know how to do it up in Thailand

#4 Bar2D2

Not that I like the idea of being replaced by a robot but this is pretty cool....

#5 - The Travelling Goodbar

I lived in NZ for a while but unfortunately never had the opportunity to see this up close and personal. The
Travelling Goodbar is probably one of the coolest mobile bars I've ever seen.

If you have some other examples of great mobile bars, please share.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Keep your resolution with natural and low calorie cocktails

By January 21, statistics say that 80% of us will have abandoned our new years resolutions. This is especially true for resolutions revolving around improving our health by exercising and losing weight.

Fortunatly, you don't have to quit drinking to keep your resolution! Even better, you're not condemmed to vodka sodas all year either. Here are some ideas for reducing calories and not taste:

  • Drink low calorie cocktails - Mojitos are one of my favourite cocktails and, surprisingly, they're low in calories (122 calories).  Compare this to something like a Long Island Iced Tea (780 calories) and the difference is clear. Here's an article on some other low calorie cocktails.
  • Less is more - When you're out for the night drinking highballs, screwdrivers, etc.. a lot of the calories come for the sugar in all the pop and juice you're drinking.  One option is to just reduce the amount of juice/pop in the drink.  Vodka soda with a splash of grapefruit juice is one of my girlfriend's favourites.  You still get the flavour, but with way less sugar and calories.  This really adds up over the course of a night.
  • Insist on natural ingredients - cocktails using real fruit, vegetables, and syrups contain way less refined sugar and preservatives and often have the added bonus of vitamins and anti-oxidants.  If you're going out, visit Lauren Mote at the Refinery or Shaun Layton at L'Abittoir for some great natural cocktails.  Or if you're feeling creative, here are some healthy syrup recipes for cocktails you can make at home.
  • Low carb beers - Admittedly, most of these are not very tasty.  Watery and more like soda water is what you typically get. Amstel Light is pretty good though difficult to get in Vancouver.  Regardless of which one, you want to stick to the ones in dark bottles or cans (they stay fresh longer) and drink them ice-cold, preferably in a frosty mug.  This helps enhance the light flavour.
  • Low carb wines - There are low calorie wines out there, but I have yet to taste a really good one.  For the most part, wine is generally pretty safe as long as you're staying away from the super sweet ones.  The average glass has between 75-90 calories. If you're numbers kind of person, here's a table on calorie count by wine type.
If you've got any comments or some other healthy or low-cal cocktail suggestions, please share.

And, good luck with those resolutions.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Planning an Eco-Friendly Event Bar

Are you going green at your wedding or planning an eco-friendly event? Don't forget to think about the bar. Your event planner will undoubtedly have lots of ideas relating to venue choices, food menu, and eco-friendly decor, but the bar is often not really thought about until the last minute. There are a lot of options available to "green" your bar and a well-crafted bar menu showcasing organic, all-natural cocktails will excite your guest's tastebuds and is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Here's a few tips for “greening” your event bar:

  • All-Natural Beer, Wine, and Spirits – There are tons of options when it comes to organic liquor. It is important to note though that not all organic liquors are created equal. Don’t just buy without tasting. Sample the goods first or consult a professional. Some of our favourites include Nelson Brewery, Summerhill Estates Winery, White Bear Winery (not organic but affordable and 15% of proceeds go to rainforest conservation in northern BC), and Prairie Organic Vodka.
  • Organic or All-natural fruit and mixers – Organic juices and sodas are readily available and, while they may cost a bit more, your taste buds will thank you.
  • Homemade Ingredients - Ask your bartender to get creative and prepare some homemade, natural mixers in advance or do it yourself. You’ll find tons of recipes for homemade syrups, nectars, and sugars that not only showcase natural ingredients, but are relatively inexpensive.
  • Avoid Plastic Cups – This may seem like a no-brainer but many people are still convinced that plastic cups are a good option. Cheap to buy and no cleaning required. But think about the waste. Consider renting glassware from a rental company. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, it’s also way classier and adds a more upscale feel to your reception. If you insist on disposable glassware, consider going with biodegradable cups.
  • Ban Bottled Water – Of all the things you can do at your wedding to be green, there is perhaps no greater one than eliminating bottle water. I won’t go on a rant about how awful this stuff is for your health and the environment (check out for more info if you’re interested) but will instead say that there are cheaper options. Why not just rent pitchers and have wedding staff keep them filled with tap water? Better for you, better for you wallet, and better for the planet.
  • Recycling – Proper recycling is more than one garbage bin and one blue bin. Set up separate recycling bins and proactively separate throughout the night. Save yourself time at the end by planning ahead. Organic waste, plastics, paper/cardboard, glass, and garbage should all be separated for proper recycling. If you’re hiring someone to do the bar, they should have no problem doing this and will even take everything with them when they leave.

For more tips on creating your ultimate eco-friendly event bar, contact us directly or post your question here and I’ll get back to you asap.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Welcome to the Lavish Liquid Blog

That's right, we're blogging now. Visit often for thoughts and insights on event bar planning, great cocktail recipes, information on the always complicated liquor laws, and other random ideas we may choose to share.