Mobile Mixology

Cocktail caterers are bringing the bar home.


Drinks once got short shrift from party givers. As long as the liquid was plentiful, a punch bowl or keg could suffice as backdrop for a feast. But now, thanks to the growing demand for sophisticated drinks, special occasions may entail hiring not just a caterer, but a bartender who will customize the evening’s libations. Meet some mobile operators who let the cocktails come to you.

Two-year-old “spirit alchemy” business Booze Époque has catered parties in gardens and galleries, homes and function halls, but it was born in an especially unexpected setting. Co-owners Meaghan Sinclair and Harmony Kelly founded their “whimsical” drink catering company after creating “a fully functional bar in the middle of the Nevada desert as an art project for the Burning Man festival,” Sinclair explains. “We wanted to allow people to experience what the guests at our ephemeral desert bar had experienced—beautiful cocktails with fresh ingredients delivered directly to their doors.” Emphasizing local, organic and seasonal ingredients in their catering work (parties start at $600), they also teach classes at Somerville’s Kitchen Inc. and offer in-home instruction—followed by sampling, of course—in signature cocktail making, tailored for small groups or celebrations. “We explore some of the more unusual ingredients used in boutique bartending, and then open the class to experimentation and play,” Sinclair says. Other classes in their repertoire include the astrologically themed Cocktails of the Stars (Kelly is also a practicing psychic) and Cocktails and Literature, featuring everything from wassail bowls harking back to Shakespearean works to a futuristic blend invoking the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster from Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

857-891-7069 |


Flask & Funnel is the year-old brainchild of Andrew Fatato, a former apprentice at Drink, Barbara Lynch’s Fort Point boite, where he worked with master mixologist John Gertsen. “The majority of my hands-on experience was from Drink,” Fatato says. “And I learned a lot of technique goes into throwing a cocktail party every night.” He now gives in-home classes in mixology that “turn into a cocktail party at the end,” and he’s leading a lesson at the Farm & Fable teaching kitchen in the South End this month. But the bulk of his business is providing ingredients and service for private parties, priced at about $15-$20 per guest per hour. The transition from working at one of the most well-equipped bars in the country to running a one-man show had its challenges. “I knew about systems from Drink,” Fatato explains, “but had to learn about ordering, sourcing and pacing.” But one common thread between his former workplace and his current venture is the emphasis on tailoring the cocktail to the customer. “I love to create bespoke cocktail recipes for each party,” says Fatato, who also explores tools, techniques and lesser-known tipples like the Knickerbocker and the White Lion on his blog. “Because I’m so interested in the craft, I love to explain the technique.” But in the end, he says, “hospitality is the focus.”

617-855-9023 |


Three years ago, as he watched the food truck trend escalate, Lance Davis had a brainstorm. He had recently renovated an Airstream trailer for his personal use, “like a high-end motel room,” he explains. A wine consultant, he also spent lots of time in bars and restaurants. “I began to see a need for a different type of lounge bar in the event industry, and the light bulb went off,” Davis says. “A retro-fitted Airstream would be a cool event space.” With friend and neighbor Graham McKissock, a general contractor, Davis bought and revamped a 31-foot-long 1983 Airstream. Two years ago, the pair launched Hive, a mobile full-service bar and lounge space. They already have 12-15 events booked for this summer, says Davis, who serves as bartender along with McKissock, but will hire extra help for large gatherings. Their events are mostly held outdoors, on beaches or in fields, although the Airstream can “go anywhere” and has been parked for parties under overhangs, in garages or “any unique setting where you can fill it up,” he says. “We develop everything, start to finish, working with you on high-end cocktails, craft beer and fine wines.” Pricing runs from $2,000 to $4,000 for the trailer (depending on the season), plus drink costs, which Davis says can range widely, “from Bud Light to Cristal.”

617-335-2086 |

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