They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, but mixologist Stefan Gitschner prefers to craft cocktails.
The owner of cocktail catering company Twisted Spoon has launched weekly cocktail cruises, in an effort to focus more on locals in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
“We have partnered with Traveler Charters and Bda Spirits, which is a new company,” he said. “These guys are great. We wanted to partner with other young entrepreneurs who are also being impacted by Covid-19. We wanted to offer something nice and fun.”
Twisted Spoon uses wild and local ingredients to make its signature cocktail. Their 24 Carrot Gold cocktail, for example features locally sourced carrots and ginger, lemon juice, sesame oil and gin, among other items.
“I go out and forage for things,” Mr Gitschner said. “In the summer it is a little bit difficult because there is not a whole lot on the island. It’s better in spring, but there are things out there right now, such as wild fennel. You have to be creative.”
The Twisted Spoon cocktail cruises will run every Friday at 5.30pm and 7.45pm leaving from Albuoy’s Point in Hamilton.
The cruises are 90 minutes long and feature an open bar, and food such as canapés and sushi.
“We will go until the weather doesn’t let us any more,” Mr Gitschner said. “It is beautiful in Bermuda all the way until November.”
Twisted Spoon will be doing some party packages as well.
Mr Gitschner said we are living in scary times.
“I stay up at night thinking do I need to change everything I am doing right now?” he said. “On a business level there has been a huge impact from Covid-19 to anyone in the hospitality industry. We didn’t see this coming.”
He would like to see the Government cut some red tape, to help small businesses survive the Covid-19 crisis.
He applauded the relaxation of former rules against alfresco dining in the City of Hamilton, but felt more needed to be done.
“There were times in the past where I was trying to do pop-up bars on Front Street and I was denied,” he said. “It is good to see they are doing something for the restaurants, but for people in my position, I still have to go through the process of I want to do this, I want to present this, and still not getting approval on it.”
He wants Bermuda to loosen regulations further to allow for more free enterprise.
Mr Gitschner specifically wants to see food truck culture in Bermuda develop further.
He said there were a handful of lunch wagons in the City of Hamilton, but not as many as you see in cities in other countries.
He thought part of the problem was the high start-up costs for launching a food truck business in Bermuda. A lunch wagon licence is $66,950, according to the Bermuda Government website.
“That is a one time, all upfront fee,” Mr Gitschner said. “I was going to do a food truck this year, but I would be in debt to the tune of more than $60,000 before I even got on the truck. You are talking about a large amount of capital. These high licensing fees are controlled by the Transport Control Department. They could easily say lets create a payment plan for young entrepreneurs, or lets reduce the cost and allow people to flourish and not make everything so expensive for people trying to start up a business.”
Mr Gitschner was a chef for many years before going into bartending. He opened Twisted Spoon in 2015.