Central Okanagan  

Thinking outside the bottle

He quit his day job to start a movement in the Okanagan, a scene that some may only be privy to in metropolitan centres.

Gerry Jobe a self professed mixologistiticalcullinarianist is inspiring bartenders across the valley to generate a cocktail culture.

“The Okanagan Cocktail Movement really began when I really wanted a place to go out and drink. Where can I get a good Negroni, or a good Manhattan, or a good Old Fashioned? And there wasn’t that here five years ago,” explains Jobe.

“I thought by starting something like that (The Okanagan Cocktail Movement) using a hashtag that could connect us all, and show everyone what we were doing we would have some jelling of the community and all of a sudden everyone sort of arose out of that, these little superstar cocktail guys.”

Through the Okanagan Cocktail Movement Jobe challenges mixologists online, to create a cocktail using  ingredients found right in their own back yard.

Currently there are eight to ten bartenders working with Jobe in the movement, and he hopes to mentor even more saying he can’t wait to take on another ‘young padawan’.

“We think outside the bottle and use a field to glass philosophy,” says Jobe. “So that’s working with our farmers, our local bounty, our local artisans, our local brew masters and vintners.”

Jobe says the time has come for the broader public to look past the bartender as some lonely soul who only has bartending under their belt as an accomplishment.

“Yeah, there are career bartenders, there are corporate bartenders, there are bartenders on television, finally. You can do this for a career, it is a career and a damn good one.”

The goal for Jobe would be to take the Okanagan Cocktail Movement to the next level, to the Food Network, to have top bartending competitions exposed for the world to see the true talent of mixologists. In fact Jobe says he tweets the Food Network daily with production concepts for a bartending talent series.

Through his website  nichecocktails.com Jobe consults on drink menus with several restaurants in Kelowna and when a new tapas concept bar opened downtown Jobe jumped at the chance to get involved with Bacaro.

Bacaro chef Mike Wilkins says people told him Kelowna wasn’t ready for what the restaurant had to offer.

“But I guess we don’t listen well,” laughs Wilkins, explaining that the meaning of the word Bacaro is Italian for a typical Venetian hostaria or tavern.

“We are a really young team, all of us were friends going into this and I hope still are,” he jokes.

“You know a big part of this for us is delivering a really nice cocktail experience, a really good wine experience, a really good dinning experience in a really cool modern setting.”

The restaurant embodies the notion of farm to table,  just as Jobe’s movement takes on the philosophy of field to glass.



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