Meet Halifax’s World Class Canada Bartender

April 3, 2024

Recently, in Halifax, Canada’s top bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts attended Diageo’s annual World Class Canada Bartender of the Year competition. After demonstrating their bartending expertise in seven unique challenges across a three-day competition, Keegan McGregor from The Highwayman in Halifax took home the honourable title of World Class Canada Bartender 2024! Check out some recipes from Keegan himself, below, to try at home!

Mara: Gaelic for “The Sea”

2 oz Talisker 10 YO Scotch
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz PX Sherry
1/2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 dashes Orange Bitters
2 drops Saline Solution*
Glass: Coupe
Garnish: Expressed Lemon & Discarded

Notes: *Saline Solution = 10 grams Newfoundland Sea Salt & 70 grams Water. Add boiling water to salt, and mix to dissolve.

This is a simple Rob Roy cocktail that only needs one simple homemade ingredient, saline solution. It can easily be used in any other cocktail like a Tanqueray 10 Gimlet or a Bulleit Whiskey Sour. It is a way to season your cocktail while enhancing nuanced flavours like salt on a steak.
Mara will pair beautifully with your oysters. The acidity of the red wine vinegar will help cut through the fat of the oysters like a minuette, with the Maritime flavour of Talisker 10 being ever present. Cracked pepper, brine, and roasted malt of Talisker 10 YO pairing beautifully with the Atlantic Oysters on the half shelf.

Black Label Fizz

1 1/2 oz Johnnie Walker Black Blended Scotch
1 oz Whipping Cream
1 oz Chilled Breakfast Tea
1 oz Lemon
1 oz Honey Syrup (2:1)
1 Egg White
Top w/ Soda
Glass: Collins
Garnish: Grated Nutmeg

Add everything except for the soda to your shaker tin with 3-5 ice cubes, and shake for 2-3 minutes. This cocktail is about making a proper meringue in your shaker tin, so the longer you shake the better the texture. You’ll get the lovely orange notes from the Clynelish in the Johnnie Walker blend, and a bit of the smoked malt from the Caol Ila. Johnnie Walker Black is a blend of over 40 different malts and this cocktail shows its delicate side. After you’re done shaking, pour into a Collins glass without ice until 3/4 full. Let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then finish topping it with the cocktail and then top with soda. You should get a nice meringue that pops above the glass. Add some grated nutmeg for extra aromatics.


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