At the end of January (how is it already mid February?!), Watershed Distillery opened its brand new restaurant, Watershed Kitchen & Bar.
I was fortunate to have been invited to attend their ribbon-cutting the day before their opening. (Can I just say that I was SO excited and nervous to be there?)
I had not yet been to the distillery, so I’m not sure how it looked before their renovations to add the restaurant space. I was, however, immediately was impressed with the lush, intimate interiors and styling of the restaurant. I’m sad to say that my camera was not working that night, and I ended up not being able to take any photos.
I did get the chance to try two of their current cocktails that night: the Sloe Rider (sloe gin, citrus syrup, lemon, and soda) and the Arctic Garibaldi (campari, gin, orange juice, lemon, spiced cranberry syrup, and soda), which were both delicious. Through the course of the evening, I was privileged to meet Alex Chien, who is the bar manager, and we set up a time that I could stop by and film the making of two of their current cocktails.
A week later, I was able to stop by before they opened and I snapped some really lovely photos and footage.
While Alex prepared the cocktails for me (I only had a few sips, it was around noon on a workday), we chatted about the things that makes Watershed so special.
He explained to me that bars are incredibly wasteful places: so much water, paper, and food waste occurs simply because it’s the nature of the beast of restaurant business. Watershed has set out to change that, though, and has been very intentional about their processes so that they can be the most sustainable bar in the city.
Some of the practices they incorporate into their operations to reduce their footprint are using the entire rind on a piece of citrus used for garnishes before juicing that same piece to be used in syrups or by itself as a cocktail ingredient. They’ve also chosen to not automatically include straws in drinks (they are on hand, but only given as requested). And finally, they dehydrate (instead of throwing away) any fruit that’s about to go bad and use them as garnishes.
Their cocktail and food menu will change fairly often, so be sure to stop by Watershed Kitchen & Bar to try their current cocktail offering, which includes the Oaxacan Vacation (a less sweet, smoky piña colada-y drink served on ice) and the Flor de Jerez (a multi-dimensional amontillado sherry-based drink with strong notes of coffee served chilled).
And if it’s not too busy, chat with one of the bartenders or staff to ask more about their high-quality ingredients and painstaking processes. The passion for quality is evident in each employee at Watershed, and their concern for the environment is obvious in the actions they’ve taken to be a more sustainable business.