Time at the Bar: Kaitlyn Stewart

A recent winner of the World Class Global Finals 2017 (was it two years ago already?) in Mexico, Kaitlyn Stewart blew us away with her cocktail innovations. Growing up in Canada, the drinks industry has always been in the family so no wonder cocktail making is second nature. Now running the Royal Dinette in Vancouver, we had a chat about what inspired her early on in her career.

 

How did it all start?

I somewhat grew up in the industry. Both my parents still work in hospitality. But I started my first restaurant/bar job when I was in my first year of university, to help pay for school. 

The bar where you cut your teeth?

I’ve had many bar jobs throughout the years, but Boulevard in Vancouver is where I fell in love with cocktails.

What’s your strongest bar memory?

Pouring Rod Stewart a glass of Chardonnay.

Your biggest influence when you were starting out?

My first ever bar mentor, Justin Taylor. He showed me a whole other side to bartending that I never knew existed. He pushed my creativity and encouraged me to take risks.

The drink you hated people ordering?

A Bloody Mary. Because I’m a Canadian and I believe that the Caesar tastes way better! 

How has the scene in Vancouver changed?

I believe that Vancouver has always been on the up and up when it comes to cocktails and cocktail culture. We’re a fairly small city, but we’re filled with creative, passionate people who are always looking for that next best thing. It forces us as bartenders to always be at the top of our game. Step outside the box and think two steps ahead.

What are today’s bartenders missing?

We sometimes get caught up in the spectacle of bartending and forget why we’re doing it in the first place. Hospitality always has to come first.

Who is killing it in the scene today?

There are so many talented bartenders all over this world, it’s hard to pick out just a few. So I’d like to shout out all those bartenders who never get the recognition they deserve. The ones who always remember your name and what you like to drink. The local guys & gals who may only pull pints, but always take care of you. Your local hometown heroes who are grinding away seven days a week just to pay rent. 

If you could only make one more cocktail?

A Jägerbomb. Really go out with a BANG…