In-Depth

Bartend Against: Helping Communities Across the Globe

Making cocktails and changing the world.

“Bartenders can change the world.” - Gaz Regan

Have you ever heard of the six degrees of separation theory? Simply put, it’s the idea that everybody in the world is six or fewer links away from each other, so that a chain made up of “a friend of a friend” relationships can be made to connect any two people across the globe in a maximum of six steps. It’s kind of a crazy idea, right? But if you sit down and think about it, it makes sense.

A few months ago, I published a picture on my personal Instagram, quoting a little message Gaz Regan said on his Letter to Young Bartenders: “Bartenders can change the world.” I couldn’t believe it when Tales of The Cocktail reposted my picture on their social media, and a whole community of bartenders all over the globe saw it, liked it and even contacted me. Among those who reached out were Calum Adams and Ben Iles, two bartenders from England who founded the NGO “Bartend Against Bombs.” In only two years, the organization has raised more than $26,478 to support children living in war zones around the world. I loved their idea, and wanted to see if it could be taken further. So, I suggested to them that we team up and form a worldwide movement, involving bartenders from as many countries as possible.

That’s when Cal came up with the idea of launching an “International Cocktail Boomerang,” a social media initiative that sends a drink out from cities all over the world with the aim of going viral. With the help of Meimi Sanchez and Havana Rum, we created a Havana seven-year Rum Old Fashioned with a local twist for each city, and we’re challenging other bartenders to do the same. Just upload your video to Instagram of the drink being made — be sure to tag us and include the hashtag #boomerangmydrink so that people can track the movement (and see all the great drinks). Don’t let the momentum stop with you: take a photo or video challenging seven more people to make a drink within the next 24 hours, and donate $9 to the fundraising campaign. So far, we’ve only raised $9,816.26 of our $132,390 target; there’s still a long way to go, and we need your help.

We want to spread the message to bars far and wide, but most importantly, we want to raise as much money as we can for communities in need. We can’t just sit and watch the media coverage of natural disasters occurring in countries all over the world from the comfort of our homes. We can't go on with our day as floods consume entire villages in Asia. We won’t go into work and act like nothing is happening when hurricanes ravage communities in Cuba. And we won’t sit idle while families are lost in Mexico. After the winds calm and the water recedes, what’s left can be just as dangerous. We have to act.

We are Bartend Against. We are the grassroots movement that fights against injustice in all its forms. We work with communities, locals, and bars and restaurants who want to make a difference. After all, hospitality is about more than just making good drinks, giving great service, and collecting a paycheck: it’s about extending a helping hand, going further, and doing more.

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