We often hear the same names of Vancouver bartenders in local media. We follow their exploits in cocktail competitions and look forward to trying whatever it is that they might come up with next, but we seldom consider who toils alongside them. There’s a growing pool of young, talented barkeeps in Vancouver, and their time is now.
This series of short interviews looks to introduce our readers to this new breed.
Satoshi Yonemori has a kind and reserved way when greeting and hosting guests, but as soon as the tickets start printing he turns into an assassin, pounding out rounds of cocktails with precision and grace. Though he learned his trade in “bang ’em out” environments, at Grapes & Soda he’s been able to slow down, pull out a jigger, and create a dynamic program. Say hello to…
First bartending job? A night club in Kyoto when I was 19.
The moment that it went from a part time “gig” to a career? When I start barbacking at The Diamond.
What you like best about your current gig? I get to play with unique ingredients that do not normally apply to cocktails.
Dive bar you love, and beer you’re drinking? Okanagan Pale Ale at The Brickhouse.
Favourite bar in the world? I must say The Diamond. And it’s very bad when I live across the street…
A trend that should have been 86’d a long time ago? Over-garnished Caesars.
Best skill outside of work? I know how to make pretty good sausages.
Martini or Manhattan? Manhattan, please.
House-made or store-bought ingredient, what’s your preference? House-made all the way, as long as it tastes good!
Favourite Vancouver neighbourhood? Chinatown.
Jigger or free pour? Jigger.
Favourite chef? Ciaran Chung [Savio Volpe].
Mixologist or Bartender? Bartender, please.
Tacos or burgers? Burgers. Mamie Taylor’s makes great one.
Twitter or Instagram? Instagram.
Good customer who tips bad, or douchebag who tips huge? Neither.
Rye or bourbon? Rye.
Post work drink, what is it, where, and who’s making it? The Diamond. Emmett makes me the ‘Sneaky Japanese’.
The cocktail pictured below is Grapes & Soda’s ode to the holidays in Nog form. The use of sunchoke not only emphasizes the focus of the neighbouring kitchen (The Farmer’s Apprentice), but also Satoshi’s original and concise menu. It was definitely best nog drink I had all year!
House-spiced rum, bourbon, sunchoke, milk, egg, vanilla