At their best, the holidays provide a lovely opportunity to connect with the people you care about. So whether you are planning a large corporate event or a small at-home gathering, it is important to ensure no one is left out. One way to do that is by offering your guests high-quality non-alcoholic drink options. Temperance Cocktails can help.
“Alcohol isn’t a positive or even neutral thing for everyone,” says the company’s founder Haritha Gnanaratna. “Some people have religious reasons for not drinking. Some people are in recovery. Some people grew up around alcohol and have negative associations.”
“There are countless reasons a person might not want to drink,” he continued. “But there are no reasons not to have good non-alcoholic options.”
For the holidays, Temperance Cocktails is offering event bartending, menu consultation, workshop gift certificates, as well as non alcoholic shrubs and syrups.
“A lot of people consider wine to be a neutral gift,” said Gnanaratna “But it isn’t neutral for everyone. As an alternative, we will be selling shrubs and syrups that can be mixed with either soda or alcohol.”
After ten years of working in the hospitality industry, Gnanaratna decided to ditch what many would consider a key ingredient in his work: alcohol. The inspiration for this project came about after meeting his now-partner, feminist writer (and non-drinker) Audra Williams.
“When Haritha told me he was a bartender, I warned him that I literally have a tattoo of a temperance activist” said Williams. “But then on our first date he made me a gorgeous drink of smoked black tea with celery cordial, cardamom, lemon, and agave. I didn’t actually know a drink like that was possible.”
Since launching this fall, Temperance Cocktails has done signature events for the Centre for Social Innovation, the closing party for Workman Arts’ Rendezvous With Madness festival, and the Toronto Queer Film Fest. For each undertaking, we work with the client to develop a personalized menu that aligns with the event or the organization’s values.
While the creation of the recipes is Gnanaratna’s domain, Williams will often help out in the serving department.
“For me, the best part of all of these events is when someone comes up to the bar and hopefully asks us if we have any non-alcoholic choices,” she says. “I get to tell them that it’s all non-alcoholic, and hand them the menu. People are so delighted and appreciative, it’s a really special moment.”
Gnanaratna and Williams are available for print, podcast, and TV interviews and/or demonstrations.
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