After nearly two months in the red zone, Montreal’s nightlife seems like a faint and distant memory. However, some students are continuing to find ways to stay lively and drink with their friends. While some have turned to learning how to make cocktails and mixed drinks, many students have simply accepted White Claws and PBR as their quarantine drinks of choice. While this is an easy option for drowning out Zoom University and the chaos of the world, there is no better time to explore the world of mixology. Okapi Club Mtl is a cocktail delivery service offering innovative drinks for students missing the bars.
Founded by Kimberley Martin, a Montreal intervention and social worker, Okapi Club Mtl came to be when Martin realized in June that many of her friends were craving their favourite cocktails but were having a hard time learning how to make them. Prior to becoming a social worker, Martin worked in the entertainment industry and loved experimenting at the bar.
“I noticed during the first quarantine that people were missing that element of their life,” Martin said. “I began to think about how we could create a way for people to have bar-quality drinks at home without the unnecessary effort.”
Okapi Club Mtl offers premium bar drinks while remaining accessible and eco-friendly. The service’s menu lists a wide array of ever-changing drinks. Ranging from cranberry, hibiscus, and basil martinis to green tea and orange bitters spritzers, the selections are far from your average mixed drinks. Drink orders come in brown paper bags and every part of the kit is sustainable, including mason jars containers and biodegradable instruction manuals. Martin focusses on shopping local and has pledged to maintain a zero-waste business model.
“Unfortunately, the bar industry is responsible for too much waste and so one of our goals was to try to make a unique eco-friendly version of a bar,” Martin said. “We do not use any plastic in our packaging, and I strive to shop at markets with little to no plastic.”
For customers seeking a more hands-on experience, Martin is currently working on a second, more interactive phase of Okapi Club Mtl. While some of her customers simply want to sip their drinks and call it a day, others have expressed interest in learning how to make the many intricate beverages offered on her menu. Because of city-wide social distancing measures, Martin has been unable to launch in-person workshops, but is planning to host Zoom workshops and in-person events once Montreal is out of the red zone.
“The workshops we will be launching will teach customers what elements there are in a cocktail,” Martin said. “[We will teach] how there is an acidic base, a sweet base, and of course the liquor. We will have customers try different mixes and maybe even creating a cocktail of their own.”
With classes entirely online and assignments piling up, student life in Montreal can seem bleak and exhausting. Ordering in cocktails to share with roommates can be a way to break up the monotonous student schedule and add a little joy to the school week. On Dec. 1, Martin is launching a new holiday-themed menu featuring traditional holiday flavours like maple syrup and pine, which will surely spruce up student holiday celebrations.
To order and learn more about Okapi Club Mtl, check out their Facebook page.