On Tuesday I ran a little profile of Quinn Taylor, one of the barchefs competing in the Ottawa Finals of the Made With Love cocktail competition. Today, I’m pleased to introduce Jordan Lang, bartender at The Albion Rooms who inched out Quinn for top spot in the regional qualifiers back in February.
I’m giving away two tickets to this awesome event – open to residents of the Ottawa area – head over to this Instagram post for instructions on how to enter.
Jordan is a lot of fun to be around. He’s easy to talk to, passionate about his craft and laughs easily. No doubt he’s honed his natural social grace over his 10 years working behind the bar.
I had the pleasure of watching Jordan work as he dreamt up a “smoke and fire” themed cocktail for me over the weekend. I challenged both Jordan and Quinn to come up with a drink inspired by this current cocktail trend. You can find smoked or fired cocktails at a number of bars across the city – Common, The Albion Rooms, The Wine Bar at Beckta and more.
For those working in the industry, this trend might be getting a bit long in the tooth but is still new and fresh for many bar guests. There is a distinctive element of theatre when you order a smoked drink.
Maybe the bartender breaks out the blowtorch and flames a plank of cedar and upturns an empty rocks glass on the plank, letting it fill with smoke, settling into the absinthe rinse in the glass. Or possibly you get to watch your completed drink get tucked into a glass cloche that gradually fills with cedar smoke from a smoking gun. When the drink arrives in front of you, you open the door or pull off the cloche and inhale the heady scent.
Fire and smoke are time-honoured traditions in Tiki culture. Picture that volcano bowl coming out with rolling clouds of dry ice pouring out from the base of your punch-bowl-sized cocktail. Or a bit of pyrotechnics shooting up from the top of your crushed ice sipper.
Jordan is a self-proclaimed Tiki slut (I can relate). He brought the heat to his cocktail, The Talisman, by filling a spent lime half with overproof rum, setting it on fire and giving us fireworks with a fresh dusting of cinnamon.
Jordan is going to be bringing some serious Tiki flair to the Made With Love Ottawa Regional Finals on April 1st from 6-11 p.m. in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park. His cocktail will be of the Tiki persuasion, he’ll be serving up a food pairing of crab rangoon AND his team is constructing a custom Tiki shack just for the occasion. I’m here for it.
When he’s not sipping down Tiki cocktails – Jordan will reach for a classic Negroni. His go-to cocktail spot in Ottawa? El Camino on Clarence, a bar he helped open. But if he’s drinking for purpose, not pleasure, you can find him at The Brig for “casuals”.
He’ll be showcasing more of his Polynesian know-how alongside Quinn Taylor at the forthcoming restaurant, El Dorado, on Preston Street. As I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of this cocktail subculture and can’t wait to see where he takes things.
El Dorado is due to open later in April – in the meantime, grab your tickets for the Made With Love Ottawa Regional Finals to see what Jordan concocts. Tickets are $65 in advance or $75 at the door. Don’t forget, you have until Tuesday, March 26th at noon to enter to win a pair of tickets through my Instagram giveaway!
Combine Flor de Caña, mezcal, pastis, saline solution, chili-lime cordial and fresh lime juice in an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
Strain into Tiki mug and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple leaf and insert straw.
Carefully nestle spent lime half into mound of crushed ice on top of the drink. Pour half ounce of ocverproof rum into the lime shell and set on fire with match or kitchen lighter. When you’re ready to dazzle your guests, sprinkle dash of cinnamon over top of the flame and watch the pyrotechnics unfold before your eyes.