Caledonia Spirits sprucing up cocktails, while helping the community

Local News

The art of ice carving is a lot of work. But the craft is a cool way to elevate your cocktails to the next level. And in the midst of the pandemic, Caledonia Spirits wants to bring back an old tradition.

“So we’re figuring out a way for people to enjoy one of the last bits of a real craft cocktail at home, and that’s ice,” says Sam Nelis, beverage director at Caledonia Spirits.

He tells me clear ice specifically, like they use, brings a whole new taste to cocktails. And since they’re serving cocktails to go, their ‘Clear Ice, Full Hearts’ initiative helps bring the authentic taste of a night out into your living room.

“We’re hoping to do as much as we can to provide a platform for community members to help out other community members,” says Nelis. “And kind of remind everyone that what we’re doing here is a craft that’s based on local agriculture and helping the local community and employing local folks.”

Typically, when they’re open, they have a no-tip policy, putting out a community donations bin instead. Since they can’t do business how they did before COVID, they had to get crafty. “So we decided to figure out a way that we could still raise funds. We talked about maybe doing a cocktail on the menu that could raise funds, but we’ve always had in the back of our minds that we wanted to offer ice as well as an ingredient so we kind of freed two birds from one cage and put the two together.”

You can now buy bags of clear ice cubes, ice pellets, or their hand-carved ice spheres or cubes. All proceeds from those ice sales go to local nonprofits for environmental and social justice work across the state. The program started Saturday, and Caledonia Spirits will pick a new nonprofit recipient every two weeks.

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