This is an op-ed piece by Casey Robison, acclaimed bartender and creator/editor of “Community Cocktails.”
Bars and restaurants tether communities together. They are the places we go to celebrate milestones, to congregate with friends and to find some peace after a busy workday. They are our homes away from home.
But we don’t just go to bars and restaurants for the ambience, food or drink — we also go for the people. We go because of the talent, creativity and friendly faces of our neighborhood hospitality workers. We go because every person in that restaurant or bar dedicates their time and energy to making sure our experience is something magical.
These people now need your help. The COVID-19 pandemic has left thousands of hospitality professionals out of work for the foreseeable future and, like so many others, in desperate need of aid and support.
To help provide some immediate relief, my friend Jessica Tousignant, a longtime restaurant worker herself, started the Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund on GoFundMe. This fund, partnered with Wellspring Family Services, provides direct relief to hospitality workers across the greater Seattle area. And although it is impossible to give all that is truly needed, the fund has helped many people buy groceries, pay a bill or cover part of their rent when unemployment fell short or was delayed.
Presently, the fund has raised a little over $200,000, which is incredible. But with over 700 applicants and rising, the need is still great.
As a thank you to donors, the restaurant and bar community has come together to create “Community Cocktails,” a downloadable cocktail e-book, which features over 150 original cocktail recipes created by bartenders from across Washington state.
While you might recognize some recipes from your favorite bars, I hope that you are also introduced to some future favorites. The unique recipes included in the compilation will pique your curiosity and provide an opportunity to experience the creativity of your local bartending community from the safety of your own home.
This e-book will be emailed to anyone who donates $20 or more to the Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund.
In this trying time, every dollar counts, and the more money that can be raised, the more relief the fund can provide.
This uncertain and frightening time won’t last forever. Many bars and restaurants will open again at some point, but until then, I hope we can all come together and show our support for all of these folks who have been there for us night after night, often when we needed it most.
To make a donation and receive your copy of “Community Cocktails,” please click here.
Casey Robison has been in the restaurant and bar community for nearly 17 years. He started working on the brand side for Pernod Ricard in 2018, but before then, he was the beverage director for Heavy Restaurant Group (Barrio, Purple, Pablo y Pablo, Meet the Moon) for 10 years. Prior to that, he had worked in many bars across Seattle, including being on the opening teams for Cafe Presse and Smith. Robison is also a founding member of the Washington State chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, and was the first to serve as vice-president.