Their bars are closed. So bartenders are helping shut-in Bostonians mix cocktails at home.

"We know times are tough, and we’re happy and glad that we can provide a little relief to people with this mix," one mixologist said.

blossom bar
The Broken Spanish cocktail at Blossom Bar in Brookline. –Barry Chin / The Boston Globe

Local bartenders and drinking establishments are finding novel ways to provide patrons with the knowledge and tools to create cocktails at home, while also supporting industry workers affected by the impacts and closures related to the coronavirus public health crisis.

Cambridge industry favorite The Automatic has utilized its Instagram to post recipes of house classics like the Frozen Mudslide and The Automatic Dirty Martini. Backbar owner Sam Treadway, who has created an online store and raffle to help support staff, is uploading daily videos to his YouTube channel to demonstrate how Backbar favorites like the Model-T and Dumbledore’s Office can be made. And Juliet + Company, comprised of Peregrine and Juliet, has launched “of Juliet Television,” whose daily video programming includes a 4 p.m. “Aperitivo Hour” show hosted by co-owner and “wine commander” Katrina Jazayeri that covers topics like making punch.

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How you guys doing today? We have a bright, spirit lifting cocktail recipe for you ✨ We all need a little of that. Thank you to @kathmc789 for the suggestion! ⁣ ⁣ Don’t forget to support the restaurant industry during this trying time, @greghillfoundation & @samadamsbostonbrewery put together a fund for bartenders if you have a few bux. 🙏⁣ ⁣ ⁣ 🅃🄷🄴 🄵🄻🄾🅁 🄰🄼🄰🅁🄶🄰⁣ 1.5 oz Hibiscus Infused Blanco Tequila ⁣ .75 oz Fresh Lime Juice .5 oz Aperol @aperolusa .25 oz Agave Syrup ⁣ ⁣ Wash hands. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with twist of lime. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Hibiscus Infused Tequila⁣ -6 oz Blanco Tequila ⁣ -2 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Hibiscus ⁣ ⁣ Combine in a sealed jar and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Give it a taste. For a stronger flavor give it more time. Strain when ready !⁣ ⁣ We recommend @sieteleguasoficial & @lunazultequila for the less pricey option⁣. @tequilaocho to sip on while it infuses. @christinasspice carries hibiscus! (Because we have time to wait for spirits to infuse now 😅)⁣ ⁣ ⁣ If you don’t have the proper tools check out yesterday’s #whiskeysour post for creative suggestions. Then buy a gift certificate to @bostonshakershop so you can get yourself a bar kit 🤙 #supportlocalbusiness ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #supportlocal #saverestaurants #covid19 #bartenders #donate #homebartender #cocktail #cocktailrecipe #neighborhoodbar #theautomatic02139

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Bar consultant Naomi Levy is offering two services to locked-down drinkers: She invites those who have cocktail-making components at home to send her an Instagram message listing their ingredients, to which she’ll respond with a suggested cocktail. She’s also begun posting an instructional video series she refers to as “bartending for shut-ins” on her Instagram, covering topics like substituting cocktail shakers with kitchenware.

“The first series is about bartender basics, how do you shake, how do you stir, how do you take raw ingredients and turn them into ingredients for making cocktails,” Levy said. “And then we’re going to get a little more into MacGyver-y stuff like making bitters, making an acidic cocktail when you don’t have any fresh citrus, and things like that.”

While Levy’s personalized cocktail recommendations and videos are free of charge, she hopes they will raise awareness of a GoFundMe campaign she created to support Cambridge and Somerville hospitality workers who have been affected by the closures.

Ipswich-based distiller Privateer Rum is using its Instagram page to share cocktail recipe videos created by local and out-of-state bartenders, while encouraging watchers to tip the bartender over Venmo or support their establishment with gift card purchases. 

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“When the restaurant closings happened, we started looking into how we could support bartenders, while drinking well at home had become bar culture overnight,” said Maggie Campbell, Privateer’s president and head distiller. Since posting the initial videos, Campbell said that new entries have been pouring in from bartenders and will continue to be posted. 

A few enterprising Boston bars have found ways to deliver every part of the cocktail — besides booze — to the drinker. Alcove is making mixes for its Bloody Mary and Margarita, along with juices and bitters, available for take-out and delivery via Caviar. And Blossom Bar owner Ran Duan is introducing cocktail kits featuring high-quality ice, garnishes, glasses, and his new line of 15-ounce Craft Blossom Mixers for pick-up and delivery. By combining three ounces of mixer to two ounces of spirits, patrons can recreate Blossom Bar favorites like the Bocadillo Sour or Broken Spanish at home, regardless of their own skill level.

“We still use the same ingredients that we do in our cocktails, we redefine it to where people can make it at home… you can stir it with a fork in a coffee mug if you want to,” Duan said.

The slick presentation of Craft Blossom Mixers suggests a long-in-the-works project, but according to Duan, it came together in less than a week.

“We jokingly talked about this as a company before, but it never came to fruition … [Then] me and [bar manager Will Isaza] sat down and analyzed all of our recipes, and within five days we had shot the campaign, shot the video, shot all the photos, shot all the marketing, redefined our recipes, got labels made, and reached out to vendors for bottles.”

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Aside from bringing Blossom Bar’s hospitality into Boston living rooms, the initiative will also create prep jobs and help Duan rehire bartenders who are unable to collect unemployment. 

“We know times are tough, and we’re happy and glad that we can provide a little relief to people with this mix,” he said. 


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