Mixologist. Sommelier. Architect of potions, tonics and elixirs. Accomplished emcee, writer and cocktail judge. International spirits diplomat. Award-winning bar personality Lauren Mote wears many hats, but she’s perhaps best known as the co-proprietor of Bittered Sling — a wildly successful line of high-quality, small-batch cocktail and culinary bitters — and bar manager of the downtown Vancouver hotspot UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar.
With more than 14 years of expertise in the food and beverage industry both in Toronto and on the West Coast, Mote has been a familiar and well-respected personality behind the bar at such renowned establishments as Le Sélect Bistro, Lumière, Goldfish Pacific Kitchen, Hawksworth Catering, Chow Restaurant and the Refinery.
Since she first started experimenting with and concocting bitters in 2008, Mote has developed and perfected more than 240 contemporary cocktail recipes featuring homemade and artisanal products, “tasting note” deconstruction and near-encyclopedic knowledge of spirits alchemy. It was in 2010 that Mote and partner Jonathan Chovancek pooled and poured their immeasurable talents into Bittered Sling.
Named the 2015 ‘Bartender of the Year’ by both the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards and Diageo World Class Canada, Mote is a well-respected speaker, educator, mentor and industry advocate, whose reach extends well beyond the bar. She continues to shape the way enthusiasts both in Vancouver and around the globe view and consume cocktails through her avant-garde mixology, innovative training and consulting programs and mentorship of apprentice bartenders. Mote has dedicated herself to the development of novice bar talent through both the Cocktail Kitchen Series and Bittered Sling Bistro — Vancouver’s largest and longest-running series of cocktail competitions — as well as in her past role as an Associate Director and Bittered Sling’s current role as an Associate Brand of the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association (CPBA).
Mote is also an in-demand hospitality consultant and in the past year has helped revamp and redesign bar programs at The Nash Restaurant & Off Cut Bar in Calgary as well as at Vancouver’s Café Medina and Burdock & Co., most recently collaborating with YEW seafood + bar in the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.
Since 2011, Mote has been an event partner and keynote speaker with Tales of the Cocktail, the world’s premier cocktail festival, in New Orleans, Vancouver and Argentina and has planned and executed Bittered Sling on the Road events in Toronto, Mexico, New Orleans and Buenos Aires. She is one of 40 international spirits professionals currently serving on the Tales of the Cocktail Seminar Selection Committee, an International Judge for their Spirited Awards and one of only three judges for Top Shelf 20, a community of elite bartenders across the country. In 2014, Mote was a keynote speaker at Sam Sullivan’s Public Salon and a judge at the BC Hospitality Foundation’s Dish & Dazzle Competition as well as at the inaugural Vancouver Calvados Cocktail Contest.
For 20 years, celebrated chef Jonathan Chovancek has been a virtuoso of preparation, presentation and crafting the finest local, sustainably sourced fare for some of Canada’s most acclaimed establishments.
However, his collaboration with life and business partner Lauren Mote in Bittered Sling might be his most inspired creation to date.
It was in 2010 that Chovancek launched Bittered Sling with Mote, and the duo has since built a reputation for the boutique bitters company both in Vancouver and far afield as a purveyor of top-shelf cocktail and culinary creations.
Chovancek, who was most recently the Executive Chef at beloved Vancouver institution Café Medina, began his West Coast kitchen odyssey with stops at Vancouver Island’s The Aerie Resort, Sooke Harbour House and Zambri’s before spending five years as Chef de Cuisine at Culinary Capers in Vancouver.
Prior to his collaboration with Mote, Chovancek proved his mettle as a chef of Olympic proportions, leading culinary teams to the 2006 and 2008 Winter and Summer Games in Torino and Beijing, respectively, where he garnered rave reviews from a discriminating international clientele. His skills again made the podium when Vancouver played host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, when Chovancek served close to 60,000 attendees at an array of different events during the two-week celebration. That same year he claimed top prize for his food- and wine-pairing skills at the Vancouver International Wine Festival Vintner’s Brunch.
An avowed champion of the Slow Food movement, healthy eating and inspirational coaching and mentorship, Chovancek was the chef/host of CBC TV’s groundbreaking documentary Village on a Diet, which was watched by more than a million people coast to coast in 2011. He has contributed to a number of publications including the Ocean Wise Cookbook, Taste and Wallpaper magazines, and CBC’s Live Right Now national campaign for healthy lifestyles, as well as the upcoming Soup Sisters Cookbook. Chovancek has also been a featured guest on CTV’s Morning Live, CityTV’s Breakfast Television, Shaw TV’s Urban Rush, CBC’s Steven & Chris Show and the O Network’s Grocery Bags.
An in-demand and respected speaker and instructor, Chovancek was the Vice President of the Chef’s Table Society of British Columbia from 2013 – 2015. He was a judge at the Vancouver International Wine Festival’s Vintner’s Brunch (2014 and 2015) and at Food Pro West’s Product of the Year Awards (2014).