You might have seen a little Instagram storm a few weeks ago:
• a pristine setting •
• snowmobile access only •
• blue skies \ white snow capped mountains •
the absolute lovely time that was had at our #BackcountryBar event!
This was a collaboration between many of my favorite people — and what was once a little idea about a cocktail event in a beautiful, small, intimate cabin — became a full-fledged exclusive day-long soireé featuring…
4 incredible cocktails,
1 premium small batch bitters company,
1 of the best marketing and media agencies,
platters and platters of glorious catering,
1 wonderful local distillery,
1 incredibly talented and skilled bartender,
and lil’ ol me….home bartender, bar stylist, and all around cocktail nerd.
I think people had fun.
The point of this gathering was really to
cultivate our cocktail community.
We invited some of our favorite bartender friends, as well as others in the cocktail community like writers, bar owners, and social media influencers. It was small, and not everyone knew each other, but between the spirits and cocktail education, connections were made and friendships were formed.
It went something like this:
Folks drive up to a specific location, where they were picked up by snowmobiles and then whisked away through the most gorgeous setting you can imagine. It was a bluebird day and the aspen trees were like glorious silver skeletons as they caught the light. Once you arrived at the small, snow-covered cabin, coats and hats were discarded and guests greeted each other. Because arrivals were scattered, folks really got a chance to get to know one another before the event started.
Panic Button Media and Beehive Distillery were excited to launch the newest spirit to the Beehive lineup — a gluten free, 100% organic vodka. This vodka is created with sugar cane, making it unique in its creation, and also in its smoothness. It is one of the best vodka’s I have found for cocktail creating. Chris Panarelli from OP Rockwell and I were on hand, both chatting through 2 cocktails each — all created with Beehive spirits.
Up first, the gin and tonic bar, by yours truly.
This is always a fun thing to do for a crowd, because it involves them directly in the flavor profile of the cocktail. Additionally, the G&T Bar really makes for the most beautiful presentation and guests can ask questions and experiment. I used the Jackrabbit Gin and all Fever Tree tonics, and then each guest was able to add ingredients into their cocktail based on their preferences (I was on hand for questions and suggestion about ingredients that would marry well!). Guests also had the entire line up of Bitters Lab artisan bitters at their disposal– and Andrea Latimer (owner, operator, and my super sweet BFF fo’ life) even let everyone try her upcoming Blueberry Cardamom seasonal flavor that is launching in just a few short weeks! Everyone’s cocktail looked a little different, which was beautiful to see!
Ritual’s G&T Bar
2 oz Beehive Jackrabbit Gin
4 oz Fever Tree Tonic of choice
ingredients to include in the bar: citrus peel and citrus slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, hibiscus, rose, ginger, thyme, mint, basil, rosemary, dried citrus, candied ginger, figs, prunes, apricots, star anise, juniper berries, a variety of Bitters Lab bitters, etc.
Fill each person’s glass with 2 oz of the gin, let them use the ingredients of their choice, as well as bitters, stir to marry the flavors, THEN add the ice and tonic at the end.
Next up, Chris Panarelli’s AMAZING negroni soda. Yes, we all know that the negroni is my favorite cocktail ever of all time — so this negroni soda is one of my favorite things that Chris makes. Andrea and I were even lucky enough to help him bottle a few before the event and see his process! After a quick chat to the crowd about how the soda is made, everyone was sipping on these beautiful crimson cocktails with smilies on their faces. I want one right now.
Chris Panarelli’s Negroni Soda
1.5 oz Beehive Barrel Reserve Gin
.05 Sweet Vermouth
.05 Simple Syrup
4 oz Water (Chilled)
Carbonated and bottled.
The third cocktail, created by this girl, was a classic — with just a few alterations. The Martinez is one of my favorite cocktails because I really enjoy barrel-aged gin and the balance of flavors.
1.5 oz Beehive Barell Reserve Gin
1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
.25 Luxardo Maraschino Liquor
2 dashes Bitters Lab Apricot Vanilla Bitters
2 dashes Bitters Lab Charred Cedar and Current Bitters
Stir over ice (do not shake!), and pour into a coupe
Garnish with a lemon wheel (or an orange peel)
This is a boozy, balanced, heavy cocktail — but one of my favorites. It goes great with food like nuts, breads, and olives, which we were enjoying so much!
Enter: Bubble and Brown Bakery! Andrew at Bubble and Brown was so kind to do all of the food for this event. We had everything from freshly baked focaccia and pickled veggies, to incredible cheese and charcuterie. Not only was the food so so good — it was incredibly beautiful. I highly recommend Bubble and Brown for any catering you might have, or make sure you get to see their booth at the Farmer’s Market this summer!
The last cocktail was the crowd favorite, I think! Chris did an amazing tiki-inspired drink to showcase Beehive’s new vodka. He even was crushing his own ice with a mallet pre-serving! He is a man dedicated to his craft and this cocktail was a beauty and also featured an amazing black pepper simple syrup that really gave the sweetness of the cocktail an incredible earthy balance. Basil, strawberry, black pepper — three ingredients that are perfect together.
1.5 oz Jack Rabbit Gin
1 oz Beehive Organic Vodka
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Lemon Black Pepper Syrup
3 large basil leaves
Muddle strawberries in a shaker, add basil and the rest of the ingredients. Add ice and short shake. Strain over crushed ice and garnish with strawberry and basil bouquet.
It was truly a wonderful adventure with wonderful people — and we are so glad we packed up basically an entire bar and snowmobiled it in! Thank you to all of our wonderful guests — we hope that you enjoyed yourselves, learned something, and made a new friend or two.
What’s next for the Backcountry Bar?
With warmer weather right around the corner, you better believe that we have things in the works so that YOU can experience the backcountry bar too. Stay tuned for information and details to come, and we hope to see you at the cabin for an adventure and a cocktail!
This event was presented by:
Panic Button Media
Bubble and Brown Bakery
Ritual and Craft: a cocktail diary
Chis Panarelli | OP Rockwell
See more photos: #BackcountryBar
Most* of the photos in this post are from the talented Caroline Hargraves.
Check out her work at the link above.
Thanks for capturing the spirit of our event in such a lovely way! It was so nice to focus on cocktail making without worrying about ALSO taking photos! Thank you.