There are hundreds of catering companies in NYC. Each of them has a different offering, different approach and ideas. Everyone is trying to come up with something new and exciting. The usual approach is to have a unique menu with food presentations that are there to surprise guests. Some other players on the market go with a focus on a certain niche, for example organic food, oyster service or molecular cuisine.
When it comes to cocktail caterers NYC doesn’t have that many of them. Of course, by “cocktail caterers” I mean caterers that offer only a beverage and/or a mixology service; not caterers that cater cocktail parties. I’ve noticed the lack in a variety of this kind of companies many years ago. I did some research among many leading NYC catering companies and found out that they all offered amazing food experience, but the catering bar program was as simple as the program at my local dive bar.
I couldn’t understand why one of the greatest cities in the world with some of the most imaginative people in the industry had such a gap in the mixology offering. In order to find out I needed to get to the bottom of this.
I’ve decided to try to run a few events with a craft cocktail offering to figure out what the challenge was. It all came down to an extensive prep and finding the right people to tend the bars. Apparently, the usual catering bartender has completely different skill set than a cocktail bar bartender. Since the catering business has never gotten into the craft cocktail movement the people who worked in the industry didn’t learn anything about it.
On the other hand, the cocktail bar bartenders are not skilled for this kind of volume that occur on catering functions. During the events lots of people come at the same time and want their drinks right away. It’s much different than what happens at restaurants or bars.
My conclusion was that craft cocktails and high-end mixology requires a new approach in order to do it right at catering functions. I don’t know what was the reason all caterers hesitated with coming up with the new approach when the strong craft cocktail movement was happening at bars and restaurants all over the country. One might only guess.
I’ve decided to take on that challenge. I’ve initially started to build the right team and teach them how to speed up the cocktail making process while still keeping it artisanal. I’ve perfected cocktail batching techniques. Then I figured out the right setup and workflow.
When the bar related issues were resolved I started with coming up with the whole concept of my catering. I started with only hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. I figured finger food go hand in hand with craft cocktails and I put my bet on it.