SWS sits down with Kaitlyn Alonday, Bartender at Highline Brewery in Calgary, Alberta, to talk about what staying curious and passionate is all about.
We all have stories to share about how we started in our careers. However, one thing stands true; any job can be great if you work alongside great people. One such great person is Kaitlyn Alonday, who started her career in hospitality nearly ten years ago with the Hotel Arts Group in Calgary, Alberta. There, Kaitlyn learned the ins and outs of the food & beverage industry. Kaitlyn has always enjoyed all aspects of the food and beverage industry, but it’s the individuals who have kept her in it.
SWS: Thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions today. So, Kaitlyn, what drinks are you best known for?
The drinks that I’m best known for are usually spirit forward, whiskey-based cocktails, usually with single malt scotch. Whiskey is my favourite spirit because of its versatility which makes it enjoyable to mix with, or I simply enjoy sipping it neat. I believe that when building cocktails, you must understand the spirit that you’re working with. It takes some trial and error to find what works, but the more you familiarize yourself with your ingredients and learn about pairings, the easier it becomes to create something you’re proud of.
SWS: Being proud of our accomplishments contributes to motivation and staying inspired. What keeps you inspired at your job every day?
When I first started at High Line Brewing, shortly after their expansion, I took over the development of their beverage program. We have a unique and wide selection of beer that is highly approachable because there’s something on our listing for everyone. I wanted to develop a cocktail program in the same respect. It’s been an honour to share my passion with my guests, and one of my favourite parts about bartending is educating my guests and learning about what they enjoy so I can craft something that’s uniquely catered to them. Creating cocktails is something that I adore doing, but what truly inspires me is building connections and helping create a community every day. It’s fulfilling whenever I’m able to relate and make a connection with whomever I have the pleasure of meeting that day.
SWS: Kaitlyn, what advice would you give bartenders just starting?
My advice for any bartenders starting out is that you can’t compare your experiences to everyone else’s experiences, but continue creating your own by constantly educating yourself, learning from your peers, asking questions, and surrounding yourself with like-minded people who inspire you. One of the reasons I wanted to work at High Line was to further my education about beer production and the distilling process. I also love to collaborate with other local businesses to organize pop-up events. I think that it’s essential to build and support each other in our community. It also helps to work together with other bartenders to get inspired or bounce ideas off each other.
SWS: And, finally, Kaitlyn, what is the last drink you’d want before you die?
My usual comfort drink is a Guinness accompanied by a Jameson’s, but I’d rest happy sipping on some single malt scotch neat. Something is comforting about drinking nitro’s like its smooth velvety texture, and single malts taste like an absolute luxury.
Discovering one’s passions and interests in life only comes with experience and can change over time. It’s important to do what makes you happy in life and make the time to do it while creating fulfilling relationships with those that love the same things you do. So, keep Kaitlyn in mind and remember, always stay passionate and curious.
Recreate Kaitlyn’s Favourite Cocktail!
Apple Butter Jeans
1 ¼ oz Scotch Blend
½ oz Amaro Montenegro
¼ oz Fernet Branca
½ oz Brown Butter Apple Syrup
½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashion Bitters