At today’s fancy cocktail bars, it’s not uncommon to hear a patron ask: “Are these house-made celery bitters? Do you stock crème de violette?”
This kind of informed consumption makes wowing guests with cocktails at home a risky business (and a laborious one; those celery bitters take three weeks to make). These days, a bottle of vodka and a few bottles of soda just won’t cut it.
Luckily, many mixologists will now happily come to your house with all their specialty ingredients and flashy techniques in tow. In New York, Milk & Honey owner Sasha Petraske and alums Christy Pope and Chad Solomon, aka Cuff & Buttons, mix drinks like the ones at the city’s best-known speakeasy.
Barkeeps from Washington D.C.’s new Alembic blend mezcal with yellow Chartreuse and spicy chipotle syrup for a cocktail with kick. In Seattle, Ryan Magarian’s Liquid Relations has designed custom drinks for the likes of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (no word on whether there was a reinvented espresso martini.)
The trend is most advanced in San Francisco, where a handful of companies compete for cocktail catering gigs. Rye on the Road is set to impress with its custom-made rolling bar (pictured), which provides a surface for muddling and mixing and a display for its special grilled limes and Marasca cherries. Baytenders might whip up a Juniper Bay, made with gin, elderflower syrup and grapefruit bitters. And Elixir SF celebrates with festive concoctions like spiced Yuletide Moon.