Photo by Ruta Smith Gin Joint kits come with everything needed to make a craft cocktail, sans alcohol

Cocktail Curiosity

The Gin Joint is taking drinks to-go in a whole new direction with its cocktail mixer kits, which arrive at your doorstep stocked with everything you need to make a signature craft cocktail — minus the booze — from egg whites to housemade syrups or garnishes.

“Like many of our colleagues in the restaurant industry, we have had to pivot our business model in 2020,” said Gin Joint general manager Wells Bolt, who runs the small bar with her husband James. “We hope these kits will encourage the community to continue to support small mom-and-pop businesses like ours.”

Photo by Ruta Smith
Cocktail kits available on Gin Joint’s new e-commerce site

The East Bay Street cocktail bar calls the kits “Gin Joint at Home,” and Wells says they’re ready to launch the program after months of research and development.

“The idea is that each week people can log on to our new e-commerce site to pick different mixers. Each Sunday a new batch of mixers will be available to purchase through Thursday morning when orders close,” she said.

The number of states allowing alcoholic cocktails to-go increased from two to 33 at one point during the pandemic. But, South Carolina kept its strict liquor laws intact, which meant local bars had to get creative. Gin Joint joins other Charleston-area establishments that also offer non-alcoholic takeout versions of popular drinks.

“Gin Joint at Home” packages will change online each week, Wells said. Starting out, the Bolts will offer cocktails they’ve been making since day one in 2010, when Gin Joint opened.

Photo by Ruta Smith

“One of those OGs is a cocktail called the Parlor Trick which includes lime, celery, a spirit called green chartreuse, housemade tonic syrup and soda water,” Wells said. “Since in the state of South Carolina we can’t do cocktails to go, we’ve formulated a special no-spirit substitute for the chartreuse.”

Everything but the soda water is included in the kit. Simply combine the mixer, a suggested spirit — the Parlor Trick calls for gin — and soda to craft your very own Gin Joint cocktail at home.
“Other weeks you might find a kit that includes more fruit-forward options, or even more advanced kits that may require shaking egg whites into drinks,” Wells said.

The reasons for offering these all-encompassing packages are twofold. Gin Joint, like other small establishments, has been forced to reduce capacity, leading to a decrease in sales. The couple has also seen a rise in at-home consumption and cocktail curiosity during the pandemic, Wells said.

“Like many other entrepreneurs, James and I always have a few future ideas tucked away,” she said. “Canned cocktails are huge right now, and we’ve seen a spike in to-go cocktails in many other cities during the pandemic. People who had spent time at our little bar in the past were telling us they wanted more.”

With fewer folks permitted inside after they eliminated some of the intimate bar’s indoor seating, Wells said she hopes customers continue to stop by for a “Purple People Eater,” but she’s happy to be able to provide an option for people at home.

“Now more than ever, the Gin Joint is a labor of love for us and we are incredibly passionate about creating cocktails for people,” Wells said. “It’s not just about a bar for us — it’s the memories we get to make with our guests, the education we get to provide to our fellow cocktail nerds and the atmosphere we get to create for the experience many didn’t realize they could have.”

Place orders at starting Feb. 5.

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