Cocktails from your Kitchen: Become Your Own Mixologist with The Bar Project
Beer & Spirits
The Bar Project co-owners Ashley Pacheco and Brock Miskin have mastered the art of creating an unforgettable experience. Whether they’re behind the bar at various events around town or in front of a camera filming tutorials for their Cocktail in a Box series, these two know how to have a damn good time. Their business, The Bar Project, provides personalized bartending services to Utah locals, and their most recent project—the Nightcap—delivers a unique drinking experience to people across the country. As COVID-19 and quarantine drone on, Pacheco and Miskin are making sure you can drink in style from the comfort of your home.
Over their combined 25 years in the bar industry, Pacheco and Miskin have learned the ins and outs of Utah’s drinking culture. After years of requests to bartend private events, the pair recognized an opportunity lingering right under their noses. In October 2019, Pacheco and Miskin joined forces to launch their entrepreneurial career, and soon after The Bar Project was born.
The business began as a bartending service for private events, and Pacheco remarks on how her creativity has flourished in this more intimate setting. “I think working with private events has allowed me to do my own thing, kind of experiment and have a little bit more freedom,” she says. The relaxed environment at weddings, corporate events and celebrations creates a more personal relationship between bar staff and clientele—the polar opposite of the oftentimes stressful downtown bar scene.
“A good give and take with him [Miskin] and I is that we think so differently, and we’ve got really beautiful product out of it.”
Pacheco and Miskin had just taught their infant business how to walk when COVID shoved them to the ground. Almost overnight, their events demographic vanished, and the pair were left wondering if The Bar Project was a venture destined for a sweet but short lifespan. Instead of throwing a tantrum in the middle of a pandemic, Pacheco and Miskin decided to pivot their interest toward a market that expanded tremendously during quarantine: home drinkers.
In an effort to create a fun and safe drinking experience, the pair brainstormed the concept of their Cocktail in a Box series in April of this year. What started as an idea became a physical product shipped around the country in just four short weeks. The Cocktail in a Box, also known as the Nightcap series, contains locally sourced citrus, hand-made syrups, garnishes and one-of-a-kind recipes for delicious yet approachable cocktails. Physical recipe cards are supplemented with tutorials filmed by Miskin and Pacheco showcasing step-by-step instructions and detailing everything from the proper use of bar tools to the correct timing of adding each ingredient.
While the tutorials are a fun way to teach consumers how to be their own mixologists, they also add a touch of Miskin and Pacheco’s amusing idiosyncrasies. Pacheco describes the tutorials as a small-scale emulation of an in-person bar experience: “You get that local bar feel where you feel like he’s across from you talking shit!,” she says. Each box contains rotating recipes for three cocktails created by Pacheco and Miskin themselves, and they include enough ingredients to make 12 drinks altogether. The boxes can be ordered by themselves for $50 each or as part of a six-month subscription for $40/month.
“I think working with private events has allowed me to do my own thing, kind of experiment and have a little bit more freedom.”
Pacheco and Miskin’s hands-on approach to bartending is reflected in their careful curation of each Nightcap box. Every month, the two combine their tastes and skills to produce unique libations that put a spin on classic favorites in an interesting and exciting way. “A good give and take with him [Miskin] and I is that we think so differently, and we’ve got really beautiful product out of it,” says Pacheco. Cocktails for October’s box consist of the refreshing vodka-based Porch Perfect, the zesty Baja Aurora best completed with a local tequila and a fruit-forward whiskey cocktail named the Bourberri. In compliance with Utah’s strict liquor laws and in an effort to keep boxes affordable, spirits are not included in the Nightcap boxes. However, monthly emails from The Bar Project offer suggestions for the best Utah distilled liquors to add with each drink—all of which are perfectly delicious as mocktails as well!
“Dealing with a global catastrophe and figuring how to pivot the business where we still get to do what we love and be around people in one way or another has been huge for us as entrepreneurs,” says Pacheco. As The Bar Project continues to develop, the pair plan to continue private bartending services as well as grow their Cocktail in a Box series to include homemade bitters and additional spirit-specific boxes.
While the world waits out the pandemic, there’s comfort in finding ways to bring joy into our lives and homes—and it never hurts to get a little tipsy in the process! Keep up with The Bar Project by following their Instagram @thebarprojectslc and sign up for your very own Nightcap box at thebarprojectslc.com.