CPBA Bartender of the Month: Caledonia Wright

CPBA Bartender of the Month: Caledonia Wright
June 2, 2016 Amber Bruce

Twitter time – describe your job in under 140 characters:

Curious bartender experiencing life through #taste #texture #volumeandmeasures while #givingthepeoplewhattheywant #polishingmadglassware

How did you get into bartending? What was the inspiration for your career route?

Bartending just sort of found me. For a long time I was struggling to find my medium, a way I could express my emotions and get immediate reaction and feedback from my audience. Making people genuinely happy is an art form to me, and when combined with flavour and alcohol – well that’s just my dream job!

Is it barrels, carbonation or cocktails on tap? What’s the latest trend you see in bartending?

All of those are great fun, but the latest trend I’ve noticed is more bartenders and distillers foraging their ingredients locally. Especially in B.C., where a lot of the time these interesting botanicals are growing for free in our own backyards -why not?

What’s the best part of what you do? And what’s the most challenging part?

My job is sort of an oxymoron. The best part of my position is being able to give someone a joyful experience, but the most challenging part is making sure I’m taken care of too. As a bartender you should be well rested; have had something nutritious to eat before shift; and be in a positive frame of mind, or else the job can be a danger to you. No one likes a grumpy bartender.

What is your favorite spirit to work with behind the bar?

I love working with herbaceous and savoury spirits. Local modern-style gins, akvavits, absinthes and bitter liqueurs are my favourites right now.

Do you have a definitive cocktail style?

I really like to take bold and interesting flavours and incorporate them into delicate, classic style drinks. I’m always on the look out for unusual botanicals to play with; most of my signature cocktails have been pretty savoury lately.

What’s the most memorable moment you’ve ever had working behind a bar?

I was bartending on a dinner cruise once. It was a beautiful sunset cruise, and we had just passed the breakwater point of the harbour when the wind picked up. I was in the midst of changing over one of the kegs at the stern of the boat when we went over some wake and I was pitched overboard. Luckily for me the keg stayed on board, and I grabbed onto the railing at the last second. I pulled myself back on board, soaking wet and continued to serve… The funny thing was, no one saw what happened, and I just told everyone I was splashed by the wave instead…please don’t tell the captain.

What’s the next step for you when it comes to tending bar?

I think that constantly trying to reinvent oneself is a great exercise. Learning different styles and techniques is very important to me, and I aim to become a trendsetter, not a follower. Oh yeah, and more competitions.

What’s your go to drink to drink?

Ironically, I’m such a lightweight when it comes to drinking cocktails, so I prefer lower abv drinks when I know I’m going to have a few. Gin tonics are my go-to, but I’m always excited about trying exotic combinations.

What’s your go to drink to mix?

I’m a huge weirdo when I’m mixing drinks for people, I don’t really have a go-to. It’s more to do with the person I’m making it for. I take into account their current attitude, the outfit they’re wearing and the weather outside. All of those have an effect on what people want to drink, and all these things change all the time. I mix what YOU want to drink.

Fernet, Mezcal or Chartreuse?

There is something very spiritual about Chartreuse that really captivates me when I drink it. It’s my favourite. I feel like I discover something new about it every time I take a sip.


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