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Let’s Get Festive: Cocktail Making With Bartenders Against Temperance

‘Bartenders’ and ‘temperance’ are not usually two words in the same sentence, neither are ‘Santa’ and ‘murder.’ The society Bartenders Against Temperance (better known as BAT) combined both these aspects in their annual Christmas Master Class on 20 November. At the Hotel Du Vin, participants were asked to arrive at 7pm and take a seat at one of the four round tables. Each table had various alcoholic drinks, mixers, and plenty of water. Two tables had vodka, one had rum, and the other had gin. Once all the participants arrived around 7:40pm, the show began.

The bartenders and society members were dressed up in various costumes: Papa Elf, Buddy the Elf, the Grinch, Hans from Die Hard, Kevin McAllister, and Charlie Brown. Aside from the elves, the four movie characters were suspects in Santa’s murder, and as we sipped on cocktails we were given clues to catch the culprit. The first skit included the suspects proclaiming their innocence and the society’s president rhyming, ‘The stockings are hung and children are resting their heads…but little did they know that Santa was dead.’ An envelope with clues was left at every table and we were encouraged to ask the bartenders/suspects any questions we had about their alibi on the night of the murder, their relationships with each other, or who they thought did it.

At the Grinch table, we made a peppermint White Russian as the Grinch explained his once hatred but turned a love for Christmas and his alibi for the night (watching his dog Max and meeting up with Hans). Once everyone got a chance to make their own sweet concoction, we moved on to the next table to continue our investigation. Hans greeted us with instructions for a holiday bramble (my personal favourite). Despite forgetting the order of the ingredients (the cheapest ingredient always goes first), when the recipe is posted on Instagram, it will be my new go-to.

Our move to Kevin Mcallister’s table was interrupted by an intermission from the elves containing more evidence. Rudolph confessed he was a witness to the murder and we found out who was on the naughty list (some of our names were even mixed in with the suspects). Two cocktails in, we were introduced to an espresso martini twist with rum instead of vodka. Kevin answered our questions nervously as we interrogated him as to why the murder took place in his home.

The last table I circled around was (older) Charlie Brown who made a Santa-Clausemopolitan (my personal second favourite). During this last drinking session, all of our votes were tallied to see who we thought killed Santa. From our evidence, an overwhelming amount of us guessed Charlie Brown and in the big reveal, we were correct. We happily watched Buddy the Elf and Papa Elf carry him out of the room to take care of business.

Each cocktail was delicious and you could change the measurements of ingredients based on your preferences or allergies. Tickets for non-members stood at 24 pounds meaning each cocktail was only 6 pounds (and we got a show). With a BAT society membership, the ticket was 20 pounds but you are offered first release and get discounts at Luvians and Wine Co. The society has an exciting upcoming partnership with Darnley’s where the bartenders curate their own gin. This BAT gin will even be available to try at the next event as an ingredient. The tickets sell out quickly so follow their Instagram to get the latest updates that will no doubt convince you to dabble in bartending.

Photo: Lizzie Rosenman

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