Coupland inspires Fairmont cocktails, Superflux reimagines hot dog day, and a Vancouver legend rebuilds in Oaxaca

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      It’s happening again—and by that, we’re not only talking another cold and miserable Juneuary, but atmospheric rivers swamping the Lower Mainland, flower-bed apocalypses, and the running of the furnace like it’s in the November monsoon season.

      Seriously, look at your favourite weather app, and then crawl back into bed, because, even though the sun is shining for 10 minutes this morning, the forecast is rain, rain, and more rain for the next 10 days. Man, if only there was something else to think about, like, for example, the following.....

      The Clint.

      Art inspired

      A great cocktail is often a work of art as well as a drink, and not just when tiny origami cranes, miniature clothespins, and pandan leaves shaped like the dwaying palm trees of Ko Samui are involved. For the month of June the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge & RawBar is serving custom-designed cocktails that pay tribute to the work of one of Vancouver’s most consistently fascinating artists: Douglas Coupland.

      The man who first blazed onto the world with Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture has since proven a master of reinvention, giving the world everything from Digital Orca to the BC Place memorial sculpture Terry Fox deserved right from the beginning.

      The Fairmont Pacific Rim is currently hosting Coupland’s Red Light, Green Light exhibit in its Pacific Gallery. The Lobby Lounge & RawBar meanwhile has come up with a limited-edition cocktail menu of drinks inspired by that exhibit, highlights including the Dirty Harry, The Clint, and Tokyo Twilight.

      What’s in those gin-and-vodka-based cocktails, what do they have to do with the exhibit, and why can they be considered part drink and part art? There are answers for those questions, and they start at the Fairmont.

      Superflux's Choripán hot dog.

      Hot Dog Day redux

      Strange as this might be, there are those in the world who will argue that what we know as hot dogs are in fact technically a sandwich. That’s understandable—like a good sandwich, what you’re getting is a chunk of meat nestled in between bread, and topped with an assortment of condiments. Hell, yes, to mayo, cheese, relish, sriracha, seaweed, mustard, caramelized onions, bonito flakes, jalapeños, sauerkraut, teriyaki sauce, chili, and chimichurri. And put that ketchup back where it belongs—which is to say not on a hot dog, but on a hamburger or French fries (preferably mixed with mayo and sriracha).

      On the subject of hamburgers, no one balks at calling them sandwiches, the same going for subs, muffalettas, and stupidly delicious Egg McMuffins. Hot dogs on the other hand? Has anyone ever said “Man, I could really go for a hot dog sandwich”.

      Heading out for a hotdog, on the other hand, sounds great right about now, and even better when a beer is part of the package. On that front, East Van's ever-inventive Superflux has launched a new and ongoing special event called Hot Dog Happy Hour. For $15 (tax included) you get one of the brewery’s much-loved hot dogs and a 12 oz. beer.

      This week’s special is the Al Pastor with a Vienna wiener, jalapeño, pineapple relish, cilantro-mayo, and crushed tortilla chips. As for the beers, remember what it was like to be a kid in a candy shop with a crisp $20 bill? Do you go for the Coconuts IPA, Fountainbier Peach Gummy, Superflux Lager, or The Creamery Key Lime Lager? Actually, make a true liquid lunch of it and try them all, hot dogs on rounds two and three optional.

      Gota Gorda after Hurrican Agatha.

      Gota Gorda rebuilds

      Ever-curious mixologist Danielle Tatarin wasn’t born or raised in Vancouver, but by the time she left she was something of a local legend. Lotuslanders will remember the one-time Edmontonian as one of the founding forces of the Keefer Bar (which recently landed at number 25 at the William Reed-published North America’s 50 Best Bars list).

      After moving to Mexico to run the cocktail program at the Keefer-affiliated Acre in Los Cabos, Tatarin decided it was time to strike out on her own, eventually launching the gorgeously intimate and chill Gota Gorda mezcaleria in Zipolite on the Oaxaca coast. (The Straight was lucky enough to spend some time at the bar this past spring break, and left Gota Gorda and the tiny beach community nothing less than fully enamoured).

      Until recently everything was perfect in paradise—so much so that Tatarin decided to open a second Gota Gorda in Mexico City. And then, at the beginning of June, Zipolite found itself devastated when a Category 2 Hurricane Agatha slammed into the coast, destroying buildings, littering the beach with debris, and ultimately leaving nine dead.

      Gota Gorda was one of the businesses in the hurricane’s path. In an Instagram post, Tatarin describes the aftermath as follows: “When we signed for the space we didn’t expect to be side swiped by a violent hurricane and have our stock, boxes and labels ruined by a flood of mud. We lost our baby and main income for a while until we can clean up the mess that Hurricane Agatha left us in.”

      She continues with: “As hard as it is to not break down, I know that what has got me here has been hard work, passion, determination and a dream to share the best small batch mezcales and distillates with guests. I’ve been buying mezcal to sell mezcal turning over an ongoing investment and supporting families we work with and our staff.”

      Moving forward, Tatarin—who sources her mezcal from small family-run operations—has come up with a plan aimed at those who plan to be in Mexico City in the coming months. For a contribution of $1,500 Mexican pesos (roughly $95 Canadian), mezcal aficionados can reserve a bottle of Hurricane Agatha Edition Artisanal or Ancestral Agave Distillate to be picked up at Gota Gorda in the Roma Norte district. The money will help pick up the pieces on the coast. 

      For more information, go here. And then start making your travel plans, with visiting a rebuilding Gota Gorda in Zipolite at the top of your list.

      Next stop Mexico.