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Some Tips from Meryll Cawn of Hi-Lo Club and AllStirredUp

CaptureMeryll Cawn, a bartender at Hi-Lo Club in San Francisco and partner in AllStirredUp Beverage Consulting, sent over some responses to queries.


Thrift Store Cocktail Glasses

We only use thrift store finds for our cocktail glasses. Not only are we saving money, but we giving the glasses a new, albeit short, life. Customers love all the different and unique glasses.

The biggest problem is making sure you have the right proportion of properly sized glasses for your menu cocktails and frequently ordered classics. You do need to keep a bit of back stock as well.

When you are thrifting for glassware, be certain to keep an open mind. We use ice cream sundae and parfait glasses as well as those originally intended for beverages.

I buy most of the vintage/thrift glassware at Thrift stores in the East Bay. Lori picks up some in LA and from time to time we find stuff at Goodwill in SF. These days you need to look outside city centers to find a lot of stuff, since most of the stores have been picked over.  I’d say it’s worth a trip every once in awhile.

I often get 30-36 glasses for less then $15. We try to spend $1 or less per glass.


Candle Holders as Glassware

We also reuse our candle holders as water/wine glasses. We buy candles from a company that supplies churches. We light between 35-50 candles a day and these candles last around 30 hours. The glass they come in is a perfect small water glass or Italian style table wine glass. When we are fully stocked behind the bar we offer them to customers to take home.


Liquor Bottles as Water Pitchers, and why Pour Your Own is a Commitment 

We also reuse liquor bottles for water on the bar. If the guest asks for water they receive a glass and a full bottle. I mostly let them pour the water themselves because I find that people are more likely to drink it than waste it if they pour it.


Pineapple Syrup made with the Peel and Trimmed Pieces

After coring your pineapple to use for garnishes and juices, you can make a syrup with the leftover bits. 

Bring equal parts sugar and water to a boil add pineapple pieces, lower temp, and steep until desired flavor develops.

It usually takes 20-30 minutes. 


Leftover Maraschino Cherry Liquid as Grenadine

Leftover maraschino cherry syrup works great in a house grenadine. You can add it to a traditional grenadine or just thin it out with pomegranate juice.