Bittered Sling Bistro - Recipe Book Volume #1

Bittered Sling Bistro - Recipe Book Volume #1


Back in 2008, when the birth of Bittered Sling Bitters was still suspended in mason jars, the idea of cocktail paired dinners and experiences, drawing on the pedigree and training of high level bartenders, was the innovation. Bringing to light the energy, training, mentorship and expertise of flavour analysis – from sugar to acidity, weight and terroir, complexity within simplicity – the bartenders were anxious for the academic spotlight the same way that Sommeliers are highlighted. This book is dedicated to the bartenders that are more than “glass wipes”, those who tow books from all over the world, with thousands of pages of notes and experiments, the risk takers, the classicists, the amateurs and the aspiring, the apprentices and the veterans – we all crave the same thing, passion and excitement through the development of guest experience.

In 2016, Bittered Sling celebrated its 4th birthday, while the parent company, Kale & Nori Culinary Arts Inc. celebrates its 5th. These two companies were developed with the idea that creativity, passion and hospitality are the most important characteristics of our industry. Bittered Sling is a retail product, the brainchild of award-winning Bartender and Sommelier Lauren Mote, and celebrated Chef Jonathan Chovancek, who’s combined expertise and influence spans 3 decades and several countries. Our philosophy is simple – create memorable experiences, develop products that inspire creativity, and celebrate passion. 


The speech at the beginning of every Bittered Sling Bistro since its inception in 2011 was always about celebrating a quintessential role in the operation of a successful restaurant – the Bartender. Usually the first and last impression of the business, the bartender is more than just a glass-wipe behind the bar, pulling pints and throwing down highballs. The bartender is an important part of the hospitality model, and the “complete bartender” is one who’s creativity, service, attention to detail and humility are all in alignment. The aim for Bittered Sling Bistro was never to replace the perfect glass of wine paired to the perfect dish of food, but instead provide an alternate option, for those willing to move outside the box, and allow bartenders the ability to develop flavours in the glass, the way a Sommelier can romance the perfect glass or bottle of wine. Provide an equal opportunity, and that’s the point. Owners Jonathan and Lauren are pleased to present their favourite bartenders from the Bittered Sling Bistro program; this group honours Bittered Sling, the industry and their community every single day, and for this the industry is eternally grateful. Bittered Sling Bartenders are making the world a better place, once Bitter Babe at a time.


Every month, Bittered Sling would develop and promote a different series of dinners, profiling a specific brand or portfolio of spirits, coupled with an interesting theme to draw inspiration from. The dinners, all developed by Chef Jonathan Chovancek, included passed canapés, paired with a signature cocktail from Lauren Mote, with three courses following, where the host bartender would aim to pair – both in palate, spirit expression and story – the perfect scenario for 40 guests. Guests were also guided through a seminar for 30 minutes between courses on the featured spirits – with history, tradition, production and anecdotes – each guest left immeasurably happy and full – both in mind and belly. 


Dozens and dozens of bartenders moved through the Bittered Sling Bistro program, with more events popping up going forward. In this brief synopsis of the program, the featured bartenders were chosen based on a “best in show” during their presentations, as chosen by the vary guests they served – after all, Bittered Sling Bistro has always been a bit of a competition, where the guests provided the judgement. A special shoutout to bartenders Gerry Jobe and Justin Taylor, both are recipients of the “Bartender Bitters Program” launched in 2016 to celebrate their wins from previous Bittered Sling Bistro Seasons, including the FOLKLORE BITTERS (Gerry Jobe) and GUNPOWDER BITTERS (Justin Taylor).


Some of our most popular themes included Carnival vs. Mardi Gras, Heavy-Metal Monks, Coastal Mexican Experience, European Invasion, Global Cocktail Colonialism, When Tiki Attacks!, Truly Canadian Terroir and the Belle-Époque, but with themes ranging in the dozens, it’s hard to pick out the favourites. A special thank you to all the bartenders and brands that made our program shine, and a special shout-out to the brands featured in this book who really invested in the growth of the program.