A year ago, none of us could have imagined that drinking take-away bottled cocktails at home would be the closest we’d get to having a night in our favourite bar. But no matter how good those pre-batched drinks have been, they still don’t come close to the atmosphere and excitement of our favourite watering holes.
It could be said that the problem with bottled cocktails is that while they might provide our favourite libations in a conveniently packaged format, they provided none of the atmosphere or charm of the bar. In other words, while they might provide the taste, they don’t encapsulate the sounds or aromas.
And it was this realisation that inspired the team from Canvas to try and invent a better mousetrap when it came to cocktails at home. As Canvas themselves point out, there is more to great cocktails than just the liquid in the glass.
Aiming to offer a more well-rounded experience to at-home drinkers, the Canvas team sought to formulate cocktail boxes that go beyond just the drinks, and in fact include snacks and ‘thoughtful extras’ such as candles, room sprays, and QR codes linking to specific soundtracks.
“Going to the best cocktail bars is all about the whole experience,” explained Jonny Shields, one of the co-creator of Canvas, a new cocktail delivery service that has just launched in the UK. “We think of Canvas as the senses and the service missing from cocktails at-home. There’s a natural process that flows through the evening.
“From when you are greeted at the door, and shown to your seat, to when you look through the drinks menu and take in the ambiance: these are things that we’re focusing on. The senses go beyond just the taste of liquid and extend to the smells, the atmosphere, and the sounds, while the service can be best expressed by the whole concept of the offering that each bartender creates.”
The way that Canvas has been designed to work is that every two months the team, in collaboration with a bartender, will design a whole ‘bar’ concept that can easily be delivered to customers. The aim is to create new, curated ‘bars’ bi-monthly, that provide a variety of unexpected elements that formulates a bar experience in your own home.
“The idea that the bars change every time,” Shields explains. ”We’re not trying to recreate bars that already exist. Instead, we want to work with bartenders that maybe aren’t in a position to open their own brick-and-mortar site, but have a great idea and a story to tell. Together we will bring out these bar ideas and create these new worlds.”
For the Canvas team, the focus really is on the whole experience. Of course, the cocktails are important but they are just one aspect of the overall story. The team aims to work closely with each bartender to ensure they are truly exploring the possibilities of each concept, and how they can bring it to life.
“It’s a bit of a balance,” Shields continues. “The Canvas idea is all about this double meaning of the name, where on one hand we are giving the bartenders this blank canvas to be creative when it comes to bar concepts. The second part is that it is treating people’s homes as canvases that we can create into these bars for the evening.”
Similar to what you would find in a bar, Canvas is looking to break the at-home experience into three sections – ambiance, explore and immerse. As well as providing three distinct cocktails (for two people) each ‘bar’ will set the scene with music, aromas, and ambiance.
Following that, the bar experience will go onto the next ‘explore’ stage where the concept behind the bar can be explored within the videos that we’ve shot with the bartenders that will bring to life the story behind each bar and its menu. Lastly, is the immerse stage where it’s time to enjoy the evening and the bar that has been created in your home.
“We want to ensure that we focus on everything and that every detail is thoroughly thought through. That’s really important to us,” said Shields.
“Our role is to curate, and it is through the extras that we can really bring a concept to life. While the art direction comes from the bartender, it’s our job to work with the bartender to understand what we need to curate to ensure the concept and idea are built.”
With a mixture of backgrounds that straddle both the drinks industry and brands, the Canvas team has sought to reduce unwanted waste by ensuring that the guest list is only open for a limited amount of time every two months. While you can enter your email to get onto the guest list at any time, Shields explains that each box is made to order, with the service only being open for orders for 24 hours.
Each box will be priced at £75 with £5 shipping to anywhere in the UK. Reservations for the first bar will open on March 1st and will feature Primavera, and takes a journey into Aperitivo culture.
If this is not your locale, don’t worry, the team from Canvas are planning global domination, so hopefully, it shouldn’t be too long before there is a Canvas near you