If you were a signature cocktail, what cocktail would you be? This is the question Pilar Zeglin, mixologist extraordinaire and founder of You-Mix-It-Up cocktail parties helps answer.
I was introduced to the creative expertise of Zeglin while planning special elements for a cocktail-themed fundraiser. She created the Eve-Tini, an elegant, fun martini blended with Madisono’s gelato and sorbet, whipped cream vodka and Asian pear juices, a drink that truly reflected the theme of our event. For Zeglin, sharing her passion for the art of mixology is what drives her success in the industry and equips everyday entertainers, like you and, I with tools and equipment to host an incredible party.
You-Mix-It-Up is an experiential bartending class that is taught to groups, in a home or office setting. During class, guests learn how to create signature drinks using professional grade barware, which is available for purchase. It’s very similar to a Pampered Chef or Stella & Dot Jewelry party.
In addition to classes and private parties, Zeglin has a network of professional bartenders available to serve at your event. Another aspect of Zeglin’s business is creating signature cocktails for weddings, fundraisers and parties.
“When I’m coming up with a signature drink, or planning an event, I meet with the client for several sessions, first to learn more about them, or the event theme. I ask questions about the logo design and organization’s mission; the individual’s personal style and so on…the answers lead to very individualized drink inspirations,” says Zeglin of her art.
The second half of the signature cocktail brainstorm is a tasting session, and finally the drink is chosen and named by the client.
Signature cocktails are perfect for brides and grooms who wish to add extra element of uniqueness to their wedding – one that represents their personalities as a couple. Additionally, the idea is brilliant for socialites who love to entertain and specialty cocktails add a boost to event fundraiser sales.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, Zeglin created a special drink for my fundraiser. We called it the ‘EveTini’ and were able to raise extra money by selling beautiful hand-painted martini glasses with the specialty drink. We also offered a comparable non-alcoholic version.
“Craft Cocktails have a renewed interest thanks to HGTV and some to the cooking reality shows that have become popular; people want to try their hand at a new craft,” says Zeglin.
You-Mix-It-Up events include everything from the ice and tools, to tips on how to construct a cocktail and lessons on using the equipment. Zeglin also likes to offer history about some of the products and of course, guidelines on serving safely.
As a mixologist, Zeglin has earned noteworthy awards and recognition in the industry, which she says are ‘accomplishments that are not always necessary to do a good job’. During the 2010 Bourbon Festival, her team played a major part in winning the Maker’s Mark Cocktail and, more recently, she won the Woodford Reserve Ohio Manhattan Experience with a drink she created, called "Perfect Summit Manhattan.” You can order her award winning cocktails when you dine at The Summit Restaurant, located inside Cincinnati State’s Midwest Culinary Institute.
The serial entrepreneur continues to grow her business and advance the industry here locally. She is spearheading a project to build the Ohio Chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild (USBG), which combines her passion for creative arts and education. The Guild is a national organization of beverage service professionals who are dedicated to the craft of mixology. The program offers advanced product education, competitions and consists of the industries’ most skilled, knowledgeable and professional bartenders, according to the USBG website.
Q & A with Pilar Zeglin:
Q: Why did you take on the Guild project?
A: The Real Truth! I was interested in more education for the craft, realizing that this was the best way to grow. Courses were offered only in other chapters with long distances to travel, so, I thought it would be better to create a chapter here and hope we could have local accreditation.
Q: Why is it important to you, to the city and other industry professionals that a USBG chapter be located here?
A: “It became important to me when I started to realize that Cincinnati once was known for their restaurants, especially in the late 80’s when I came here and since then, many of those great restaurants — if not all — are gone and replaced with chains. I figure if the front of the house represented a great restaurant and was filled with talented bar staff, then the back of the house would benefit, too. Nobody else was doing this for Cincinnati!
Q: What is your advice to women interested in stepping out and opening their own business?
A: “Listen to your accountant and legal advisors but keep your passion the guiding force and tune out those that say you can’t do it!”
Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
A: “That there are days you are hungry, scared and confident in same hour, yet happy! And one of my favorite quotes says, “To hold on too tightly is to miss out on opportunities for growth and movement. Letting go, stepping forward into the unknown, we discover our capacities for resilience and faith and we begin to glimpse our unique potential, to realize it in ways we couldn’t have begun to imagine just a short time ago,” by Kathrina Kenison from her book, “The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir.
To learn more about how you can host a ‘You-Mix-It-Up’ Cocktail party, or hire Pilar Zeglin to design a signature cocktail for your special event, please visit: You-Mix-It-Up
For the Eve-tini recipe mentioned in this article, which uses Madisono’s Gelato and Sorbet and whipped cream vodka, visit my blog at www.corkstories.wordpress.com.