Spring has come, and with it, a sense of renewed energy and hope. Even after over twenty years in this country, I still cannot get used to the doom and gloom of winter; my body aches for and craves sunshine and hot, hot heat on the daily. Yes, yes, we live in the “wet” coast, rain is good for the forests, why don’t you go live somewhere else then, yada yada yada… whatever. I have heard it all, okay? I am stuck in Vancouver for a while - can’t exactly help THAT. What can I say? Once a tropical baby, always a tropical baby.



My fiancé and I don’t drink - not really. He gets really bad migraines when he ingests alcohol, so he has been observing the dry lifestyle for a few years now, while I am more of a once-in-a-blue-moon social drinker. I like to have a glass of wine or a nice cocktail every once in a while when I am out, but I definitely do not have alcohol every single time I go out for a fancy meal. I like a good zero-proof drink, and I think the mark of a really good restaurant bar program is when they provide beautiful and elegant non-alcoholic options for their diners. We in Vancouver are pretty lucky here; almost every notable restaurant has a solid zero-proof menu… but sadly (and surprisingly!!!), this zero-proof business has yet to catch in big cities like New York, LA, and Toronto.


I dropped by The Modern Bartender in search of earl grey bitters (they had none, sadly), but came across the very intriguing Seedlip. I do think it is similar to the non-alcoholic distillates my friend Dani Tatarin has been developing for quite some time now. Seedlip professes to be “the first distilled non-alcoholic spirit”. I couldn't really picture what this meant… but I guess the analogy I am going with is… when you purchase a bottle of Seedlip… it’s kinda like purchasing a bottle of fine gin… except this gin does not contain alcohol. At all. Not even a little bit.

So… yeah… the people behind Seedlip may very well be doing what Dani is doing with Las Animas Botica.

Anyway, I was convinced to buy a bottle to try out for myself. I settled on their bottle of Spice 94; I am always a sucker for spice notes in anything, particularly if the flavour profiles detail cardamom as a flavour note.


I had wanted to create a spring-inspired mock-tail, so I went to visit my friend Stephen (owner and proprietor of Dickie’s Ginger) to get a double growler order of ginger beer for recipe testing. I decided to keep this drink simple, zesty, and refreshing, so after settling on a raspberry ginger beer from Stephen, I pretty much already had an idea of what flavours I wanted in this drink.

I named this drink Blush because of its blush-pink hue… but if I am being real here, I am just plum out of creative names, so… let’s just go with Blush.

Oh, and before I forget… HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING!!! It’s almost 20 degrees out! How lucky are we???


1.5 oz. Seedlip Spice 94
0.25 oz. Las Animas Boticas Balance Non-Alcoholic Distillate
0.25 oz. fresh yuzu juice
~ 4 oz. Dickie’s Raspberry Ginger Beer

Highball glass. Build over ice with Spice 94, yuzu juice, and Balance distillate. Top the rest of the glass with raspberry ginger beer. Stir. Garnish with fresh or frozen raspberries and a final spritz of Balance distillate.



Spring Riot

Happy New Year… three months too late, hahaha!

While this post will mark my first blog post of the new year, this post will also detail my very first EVER workshop collaboration with my sweet friend and florist extraordinaire, Siri Thorson, in San Juan Island, Washington!

Click on this image for more information!

Click on this image for more information!

This workshop is near and dear to my heart, and I have to thank Siri for asking me to be a part of this (THANK YOU, SIRI!!!). With Siri at the helm, you will receive guidance in creating your own floral centrepieces inspired by the still life painters of the 17th and 18th century. I, on the other hand, will be there to assist Siri and to show you some tips and tricks on the styling of your centrepieces to emulate the Dutch Masters. The photography aspect of this course will focus on natural/available light, so if you are new to photography and lighting, fear not - the photography part of this course is definitely for you! I will show you how to shape light using everyday materials, what I look for when I style dramatic vignettes, and will disclose a list of what is in my styling kit and how to implement them when you play with florals and other props on your own time! For those who are interested in post-processing techniques, we will do our best to open up a small block of time for a Q&A!

Workshop inspiration: Balthasar van der Ast

Workshop inspiration: Balthasar van der Ast

Workshop inspiration: Balthasar van der Ast

Workshop inspiration: Balthasar van der Ast

The moody style of lighting that is evident in the Dutch Masters is a lighting style I often gravitate to. When I transitioned from natural light to strobes, I played around with several ways of achieving this kind of light in my client work and in my conceptual work. There are so many dynamic trends in commercial lighting these days and I love them all, but the mood-setting light of the Dutch Masters will always be my favourite.

Below are a few photographs I took of my creative partner, Alison Page, back when I was only a few months into finally owning my very own set of strobes (which was around the autumn of 2014)! I took these shots to document our fun little behind-the-scenes-moment for a holiday creative I was asked to style for [a now defunct] food and lifestyle publication, Flavours Magazine. Alison helped me arrange some of the dried florals you see in these photographs, while I busied myself with the making of multiple sugared fruits for the shoot (you can see some of those sugared fruit in action on the third photograph of Alison. Ah… memories! (Click on each image to see an enlarged version!)

Click on the Spring Riot poster above for more information about the workshop, or visit Siri’s website here to see her portfolio and to read a little bit more about her! Until then, I will be posting a few Dutch Masters examples here to get myself worked up and even more inspired in time for the workshop! You can also follow us on Instagram to get more workshop updates and to see our work: @thelittlebanana + @isshamarie

See you all there! :-D