How to be your own bartender: “Quarantini” advice and a recipe

Up your Zoom happy hour game with these expert tips.

Credit: Anjali Spooner

Up your Zoom happy hour game with these expert tips.

After nearly two months of accessing your work remotely, setting up video calls and doing every puzzle you can get your hands on, you deserve a drink. And not one of those sad high-balls crafted from the dregs of your liquor cabinet. Unfortunately, we can’t waltz into our local bars and ask the friendly neighbourhood bartender with a towel slung over her shoulder to “surprise us”—but we can get her advice remotely. We asked Olivia Povarchook, bar manager of Odd Society Spirits, to whip up a cocktail of industry know-how. Here are her best quarantini tips, plus a recipe to try.

If you’re running low on spirits, you can check out Odd Society’s online shop—they just launched last week.

1. Always have bubbles

Even as restrictions ease, we still shouldn’t be running out to the grocery store all the time. Try to think ahead and make a list of what you need, but if you find yourself blanking in the one-way aisle, grab tonic water or soda water (or both). “Tonic will pair with pretty much anything in your liquor cabinet, and soda is even more flexible,” says Povarchook. No matter what you have on hand, odds are it will mix well with a bit of bubbles. “There’s endless possibilities to explore with the bottles you’ve collected over the years.”

2. Get creative with your inventory

Forget the liquor cabinet—your freezer and pantry are where the true artistry comes in. “If you have frozen fruit, add a couple pieces to your drink for something a little more vibrant,” Povarchook suggests. The syrup from canned fruits or preserves can add a tasty twist, as well: “Add however much syrup you’d like to your gin and soda, or swap out the sugar cube in your Old Fashioned for your favourite fruit syrup,” says Povarchook.

3. Experiment with spirits

Don’t pass on a recipe just because you’re missing an ingredient. Povarchook says to sub in whatever you do have; you might create an even better drink. “For instance, if you make Old Fashioneds at home but are low on whisky, you can use a good range of other spirits and get a great result. Think about an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan with brandy, rum, tequila, or mezcal,” she says. “There are no wrong answers.”

4. Shake it (or stir it)

To shake or not to shake? According to Povarchook, spirit-based cocktails should be stirred. “Stir until your cocktail doesn’t burn the palate like straight alcohol would,” she says. “If you don’t have a mixing glass, any large tumbler or even a measuring cup will do.” For cocktails with fruit juice, shaking with ice is the way to go. “Shake your drink about 30 seconds, until your shaker is frosty on the outside,” she says.

Odd Society Spirits’ Tara Bellini

You’ll need:

  • 2 oz Odd Society Spirits East Van Vodka
  • 1/3 cup frozen peaches
  • 2 dashes cardamom bitters (can substitute with an1/8 teaspoon of ground cardamom)
  • 1/4 cup ice
  • Odd Society Spirits Crème de Cassis, to top.

Make it:

Add the first four ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the contents into a wine glass and top with a drizzle of cassis.