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.
by Shaun Layton | Giancarlo Quiroz Jesus comes to Vancouver by way of New Zealand, where he worked at some excellent bars. His natural sense of hospitality is complimented by a very friendly demeanour — keeping a smile on your face during BUSY weekend shifts at The Diamond is an untrainable skill, and Gian is one of the best to have ever stood behind that storied bar. He’s just returned from a strong showing repping Canada at the eighth Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition in San Francisco.
Current Bar: The Diamond | Previous Bar: Wildebeest | Years in the Game: 6
Career Highlights – Representing both Canada and New Zealand at global cocktail competitions
First bartending job? A bartender was hungover and I was the only eager busboy that wanted to get behind the bar.
The moment that it went from a part-time gig to a career? The small family feel that the service industry has among guests and co-workers got me hooked.
Advice for up & comers? Work hard and it will all pay off!
Favourite three bartenders you’ve worked with? Peter Lowry (Hawthorn Lounge, Wellington), Hannah Waters (28 Hong Kong St, Singapore), and Drew McGuire (Wildebeest). I must say that everyone I have worked with in Vancouver has been pretty amazing.
Three bartenders you’d like to work with? There are so many to choose from! Robyn Gray at Prohibition; Satoshi Yonemori at Grapes & Soda; the crew at The Keefer…the list goes on.
If you could be a Brand Ambassador for any brand, which one would it be? With my Peruvian roots, it would have to be a brand of Pisco.
Favourite city in the world for food and drink? I haven’t been to many, but Oaxaca, Mexico was pretty up there.
Any bar in the world that you’d love to stage at? Really tough call as there are many. The Black Pearl in Melbourne, Tales and Spirits in Amsterdam, and 28 Hong Kong St. in Singapore, to list a few.
A trend that should have been 86’d a long time ago? The days of throwing a wedge of citrus on the rim of a glass are over. I personally prefer my citrus in the cocktail.
Best skill outside of work? Is eating a skill? Apart from that, learning about music.
Martini or Negroni? Martini, 6:1 (gin to vermouth), lemon twist, please.
Good service or speedy drinks? Good service should always be a standard. Speedy is only a perk if the drinks are properly made. At the end of the day, we’re all providing an experience.
Favourite Vancouver neighbourhood? Main Street.
Jigger or free pour? Depends on the cocktail, but free pouring is badass.
Favourite chef? My mum — she makes a mean ceviche.
Mixologist or Bartender? Bartender.
Favourite ingredient to work with? A customer’s request with room to play.
Go to bar for a “cheeky”? Portside.
Twitter or Instagram? Instagram. Know what I meme?
Good customer who tips bad, or douchebag who tips huge? Good customer who tips bad — at least you can have a conversation.
Jager or Fernet? Are we talking shots? Bourbon, please.
Bar tool you can’t work without? There’s a lot of important ones, but music is the foundation of every great shift.
Post-work drink: what is it, where is it, and who’s making it? With The Diamond being one of the last places to close, my post work drink is a cold pale ale, made by our mates at 33 Acres Brewing.
Two others of your generation you would recommend for this column? Chad Rivard at the Shameful Tiki and Chris Enns at The Diamond.
Make us a drink? The El Ritmo…
50ml Bacardi white
30ml fresh pineapple
15ml fresh lime
15ml coconut cream (depending on cream, simple syrup to taste)
Shake ingredients and serve in high ball filled with crushed ice. Mint sprig garnish