Bar veteran Jordan Dibe first met restaurateur Jamie Cook over a decade ago when they worked at Maro, the now-closed Toronto bar. But it wasn’t until Cook opened Rosalinda, a vegan Mexican restaurant in the downtown core, that the pair would be reunited.
While Dibe has chalked up some pretty extensive bar experience, in Vancouver, since the Maro days (Fable, Mission), he jumped at the opportunity to join the team as bar manager. Under head bartender Owen Walker’s tutelage, Dibe has not only learned to love mezcal, he’s also upped his game courtesy of Rosalinda’s meticulously vegan food and drink menus.
Unexpected complications, like learning how to make sours without the use of egg whites, have made the job that much more interesting. “It’s another challenge that can force you to be more creative than you would have been otherwise,” says Dibe.
Likewise, the restaurant’s low alcohol movement has required Dibe to broaden his skill set. And while booze may be a bartender’s lifeblood, that doesn’t mean he’s any less inspired to come up with more sessionable cocktails.
“With Rosalinda being a vegan restaurant and having more health-conscious guests, it’s been great to offer non-imbibers something that isn’t just a cranberry and soda mix.”
While the Mexican-angle makes it difficult to always source nearby, Dibe likes to bring locality in wherever possible. Take the Carrot Colada, which sources its titular ingredients from the province. “It’s fun to be able to take something tropical and put our Ontario spin on it by using local carrots,” says Dibe.
And for would-be mixologists who want great cocktails at home? Be bold, Dibe says. “To me, bartending is like baking – it’s a lot of sugar and science. Don’t be intimidated.”