Walking into the society room of Hotel du Vin, I had no idea what to expect. Entering the little tucked away nook down a steep and winding three flights of stairs, we were welcomed by the Bartenders Against Temperance (BAT) committee members all clad in black. With little jugs of mint water tactfully placed on scattered tables around the room, the event gave off a cozy, yet tasteful vibe.
Before beginning at about 7:30pm, the BAT committee gave guests a chance to mingle and line their stomachs with the popcorn and pretzels placed deliberately on the peripherals of the room. Once everyone had arrived, the festivities begun, with President Asa Andrews, Vice President Kyle van Oosterum, Head of Outreach George Davies, and Cocktail Consultant Rory MacDonald running four different stations around the room. Groups of six started at each station, getting the chance to make their own cocktails with the guidance of the BAT committee. The committee demonstrated how to make each cocktail and then guests were invited to bravely step up and attempt making the recipe themselves. While this event got pretty boozy, the BAT committee did a fantastic job of spacing out the rotations, giving guests a good 20 minutes to enjoy their drinks before moving to the next station.
Below please find the line-up of the drinks, and my humble opinion of which cocktail proved itself as superior. All drinks will be ranked on a scale of 1 being the best cocktail of the night and 4 being the worst.
Kyle’s Station: “The Lade Braes”
Kyle started off the night by teaching the brave first six how to make an original cocktail he calls “The Lade Braes.” This cocktail includes a blend of gin, lemon juice, apple juice, mint syrup and sparkling water.
Description: Refreshing, light, dangerously cannot taste ANY alcohol. Hints of lemon, very sweet, and a nice little bubbly finish.
George’s Station: “The Bramble”
George then continued the success of the night with classic “Bramble” cocktail. This cocktail mixes together the flavours of sugar, lemon, gin, and the blackberry liquor: Crème de Mure.
Description: Not very blackberry flavoured (I think I messed up the specs when attempting to make it myself). Definitely lemonier than the first cocktail and a more prominent gin taste. Still, very tasty and would 100% order in a bar.
Asa’s Station: “The Southside”
“The Southside” is a classic go-to order of mine and Asa’s recipe did not go amiss. With the beautiful combination of mint, gin, lime and sugar, the lime brought out that extra zest that secured it a definitive ranking in my mind, standing out from the pack.
Description: Very subtle notes of mint, a tangy lime aftertaste, extremely light.
Rory’s Station: “The Perfect Martini”
Rory was the last masterclass station I had the pleasure of reviewing. He used a mixture of Felon’s Gin (the official sponsor of BAT), sweet vermouth, and dry vermouth.
Description: I personally am not a fan of martinis, and this one was not an exception. However, I will say that the drink was a beautiful orange colour and looked very elegant.
Despite my weak-bodied stomach when it comes to potent drinks such as the martini, the event was nothing less than a booming success. Many of the guests decided to pay membership on the spot, chattering about how fantastic the masterclass was.
After the excitement of the cocktails died down, I was able to sit down and get some exclusive content from the BAT members. President Asa, passionately explained to me, “The purpose of the club is to elevate drinking culture in St. Andrews and shy away from the Pablo’s.”
Vice President Kyle van Oosterum later spoke a bit about where he would like to see growth in within the club stating, “I would love to collaborate with more of St. Andrews alcohol societies such as Whiskey Club. It would also be exceptional to get a sponsorship with Luvians and support local businesses.”
Head of Outreach George ended the night by proudly declaring, “We want students to take pride in their cocktails. This is not the type of society that attracts the avid vodka-coke drinkers of St. Andrews.”
This event proved itself as being innovative, interactive, and inventive. I am thrilled to have been a guest at the opening event of BAT and excited to announce The Stand as the official press sponsor for all BAT events.
Keep on the lookout for more BAT events, they are not to be missed.
President: Asa Andrews
Vice President: Kyle van Oosterum
Head of Outreach: George Davies
Treasurer: Abi Laver
Head of Events: Talia Maggs-Rapport
Cocktail Consultant: Rory MacDonald
Secretary: Katie Campbell