When Bartaco locations closed for dine-in service this past March due to the pandemic, beverage director Nicole Quist wanted a way to deliver the chain’s signature Margarita for at-home enjoyment. She and Bartaco creative director Mariel Olivo came up with the idea for a Bonfire Margarita for takeout.
But locations in Connecticut, where the 21-unit chain is based, at the time couldn’t sell mixed cocktails to-go; only manufacturer-bottled spirits were allowed. So Bartaco wanted to create its own “spirit” to be used as part of a Margarita cocktail kit. With the help of Waterbury, CT-based Continuum Distilling, Bartaco had Libélula joven tequila and Combier orange liqueur bottled together as the Bonfire Margarita.
The Bonfire Margarita kit includes a bottle of the proprietary Bartaco tequila/liqueur combo, and a jar of fresh lime juice shaken with agave simple syrup. In considering canning or bottling cocktails, “it was crucial to me to keep the fresh component that is at our core at Bartaco,” Quist says. Priced at $38, the kit makes five cocktails.
“To-go cocktails have been an ever-evolving landscape of navigating state alcohol regulations that are changing all the time’” Quist notes. “We have pivoted to now offering our hand-crafted cocktail kits everywhere permissible by law.”
Are the takeout cocktails something Bartaco will continue to offer after restaurants are able to open to full capacity? Absolutely, Quist says. “To-go Bartaco Margaritas are here to stay!”