A new line of libations being launched this month in Bragg Creek is designed for people with an active lifestyle who are looking for a little lighter load.
Friends Kole Kuntz and Mathieu Plamondon are both long-time bartenders who bonded as friends over their mutual love of the outdoors.
The two came up with the idea of powdering the ingredients of their favourite premium cocktails after they got tired of either carrying a bunch of heavy bottles or “drinking vodka and Gatorade” while out on hikes.
“We just started noticing that something was missing, and we could probably fix it. We never turned back, really,” Plamondon said.
Once the pair came up with the initial concept, it took another year of research and development to design three signature drinks that now make up their company, BarCntry Dehydrated Cocktails: a Classic Caesar, a Coconut Margarita and their version of an Old Fashioned.
Kuntz and Plamondon took careful account of the consistency, acidity, mouth feel, sweetness and look of each powdered mixture.
“We built a lab at my house. It was hundreds and hundreds of recipes. It was just us trying and trying and trying,” said Kuntz, adding they didn’t want to compromise on any detail. “We know what a good cocktail should taste like. We’re pretty picky – and that’s good … it should represent almost exactly any cocktail you could buy in a bar.”
The tasty, grainy particles the guys came up with are like Kool-Aid for grown-ups – blended with water and a splash of liquor to build a beverage in a glass. BarCntry is getting ready to launch the products later this month at the annual Taste of Bragg Creek event.
“We really take … all the flavour profiles and put it into a form that’s easy to use,” Kuntz said.
It’s that combination of form and function that drew Mackenzie Walsh to the company. As one of the organizers of the Taste of Bragg Creek – a four-hour culinary tour of the best food and drink the hamlet has to offer – she said she felt BarCntry’s product would pair well with the philosophies of the area’s visitors.
“We have a really big outdoor community – people come out here a lot to go hiking and biking. It’s not always feasible … to carry a bunch of stuff with you,” she said. “We kind of thought, ‘hey, why not offer them something they’d likely enjoy?’”
This is the fifth year Bragg Creek is hosting the evening, which takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. on March 31, and it’s expected to be the biggest and most well attended to date, Walsh said. Attendees purchase $1.50 tickets, which they then trade for samplings of food and drink at one of 25 different eateries and booths.
Thai, Indian, and German food, along with soups, dessert bites, and gluten and dairy free options are available this year – as well as BarCntry’s dried refreshments.
Plamondon said he’s hoping visitors who take a walk through the event will view their lifestyle brand as a convenient boozy reward for being active.
“Get outside as much as you can,” he said, “and reward yourself with these cocktails.”