Introducing Cam Brown: Canada’s New Bartending Star
Raise a glass to the passion and talent of Cam Brown, our Assistant Bar Manager at our Kelowna Yacht Club restaurant. Cam recently received the highest of accolades when he took home first place at this year’s Canadian Professional Bartenders Association Cup. This was followed up by being named the CPBA bartender of the month, another national distinction.
We caught up with Cam to find out what fuels his passion for bartending, and the inspiration behind his winning cocktail.
Tell us more about the contest?
The CPBA Cup is a yearly competition held by the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association. This year the featured spirit was Patron Reposado Tequila. We were asked to submit an original cocktail recipe using this feature ingredient and mine was selected, so I was invited to compete on stage. The contest involved making the drink three times and presenting it to a panel who judged it on taste, presentation, aroma, inspiration and technical ability.
What was unique about your winning cocktail?
It’s called the Mano Apretada which means ‘hand pressed’ in Spanish. It’s a take on a classic cocktail called a Paloma, and ‘hand pressed’ relates to the hand-crafted process involved in making Patron Reposado.
Living in the Okanagan, I decided to give my cocktail a local twist by crafting my own pear infused sherry, which really makes this cocktail unique. It featured: Patron Reposado, Pear infused Alvear Fino Sherry, Grapefruit Cordial and Saline Solution. The Saline Solution helps to amplify the flavours in Patron Reposado
Any stand out moments for you?
It was really amazing to have my friends there to support me during the competition. My colleague and friend Kevin McBurnie from Cactus Kelowna Yacht Club was with me and it was great to introduce him into the bartending community. We actually competed together later in the night on a bartender karaoke team. Nobody wants to hear me sing, but I had a blast watching him get immersed in the bartending culture.
What’s the best part of your job?
I truly love making someone’s night, whether it’s a great drink or any other way I can go above and beyond their expectations. I have been a bartender for 8 years now and hosting new people and creating great drinks never gets old.
What inspires your work?
The people I work with and the global bartending community. I’m always reading about spirits and cocktails and I love mixing that passion for learning with travel. Experiencing different cities, cocktail cultures and people are truly what inspires me.
If you were a cocktail, what would you be and why?
A Negroni. It’s simple and classic, just 3 ingredients, but under the surface there is more complexity than meets the eye.