Confessions of a Trini under Lockdown – featuring Pretty Cocktailer 0 680

Pretty Cocktailer is a cocktail and wine enthusiast who enjoys a good drink over mouth-watering foods. Making her online debut on Instagram as a Food and Cocktail blogger in Sept 2019, she has shown to accomplish a lot in less than a year. She has started off with her primary objective of highlighting the talents within the Food and Beverage Industry in Trinidad and Tobago. Pretty Cocktailer appreciates the creativity, hard work and passion of the persons behind the scenes creating that fancy cocktail and the high level of expertise of the Chef who is responsible for contributing to a fantastic night out. Her aim is to create a platform for the faces behind every cocktail and meal that make our social gatherings memorable. It will also be a platform where companies and persons within the industry can collaborate to share new products, ideas and experiences.

Pretty Cocktailer graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the West Indies and a Master in Business Administration with specialization in Marketing from Anglia Ruskin University. Pretty Cocktailer is embedded with the importance of nutrition, keeping healthy, fit and taking care of our bodies, whilst driven with a strong passion for Marketing and raising the bar on Food and Beverage Industry. It becomes her goal to interconnect both passions and produce the best content that will capture the audience, target their interest and keep them informed and entertained.

Pretty Cocktailer is based in Trinidad and Tobago; however it is her goal to expand to the Caribbean and internationally in the near future to collaborate with international brands and talents enhancing the Global Food and Beverage community.

BBTT: What’s one thing you are proud of in being a Trini?

PC: Carnival! That’s the first thing I boast about when speaking to foreigners. The sounds of the sweet melodies of the steel pan and the infectious upbeat soca music can instantly put you in that Carnival mode all year round. The sound that makes the red, white, and black of our national flag sway its hips through the air, dancing to the pride and joy of our nation. I love carnival, I love the fetes and the way that everyone is brought together to share a drink, to share a dance, and to share one love for this sweet two-day festival. I must say, fetes are a big part of Carnival. It sets the tone for the Festivals. I attend different fetes each year to gain the full experience, and as each one offers something different, I honestly can’t choose one as a favourite.

BBTT: Tell us about your experience attending the recent Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge; your interest in the beverage industry and the relationships you’ve built with mixologists and bartenders locally and internationally.

PC: I was very fortunate to be invited to the 10th Anniversary of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Competition (AGCC) held on Saturday 27th February, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad. It was my first time attending the AGCC competition; in fact, it was my first time attending anything of the sort. I learnt so many things from that event. Being a cocktail enthusiast, I did not fully grasp the depth of the industry until that experience. It really opens up your mind and heart to truly appreciate the love you have for cocktails and for the bartenders out there. The AGCC was filled with so much love and passion from so many talented bartenders and mixologists that take pride in their craft. I had the opportunity to connect with so many local and international talents and share a drink with them. The competition among these specialists was truly world class. I was lucky to witness some of the best international flair bartenders that certainly had put on a jaw-dropping show. Attending the AGCC has given me a clearer insight into how amazing the industry really is and how much Angostura does to put Trinidad and Tobago on the map. The event truly inspired me in doing my part as Pretty Cocktailer to promote local talents and to raise the bar within our Food and Beverage Industry.

BBTT: What has it been like as someone who enjoys being out and about, to be at home in self isolation since the arrival of Covid-19, and the lockdown of restaurants and bars?

PC: Being part of the “essential work-force” as defined by our Government, I do not experience self- isolation as most do. However, the Covid-19 has really placed a pause on my social life and hobbies. I miss being out trying new foods and drinks and promoting the talents behind them. I usually use this time to de-stress, create memories, and bond with family and friends as part of my self-care regime. But for now, I respect the lockdown and its intended purpose to flatten the curve and I pray that this is all over soon.

BBTT: Do you miss any establishment, favorite food and or drink in particular?

PC: I miss all the establishments in Trinidad that I visit! I love my food and drinks! But I must say, I do miss my “go-to” spot, which is Bottles and Bites located in Trade Winds Hotel, San Fernando. It is an amazing sushi and tapas restaurant with tasty cocktails that I immensely enjoy every time I visit. Their customer service is exceptional which is very important for any type of business to ensure that the consumer experience is a great one. Shout out to the chefs and bartenders whose level of creativity is outstanding and were some of the first talents I highlighted on my Instagram page. I love their Sparkling Red Wine Mojito the most, it’s a blend of some of my favorite ingredients: – red wine, mint leaves, lime wedges, and the remaining pixie dust that the bartender sprinkles that remains a mystery. I also love pairing pasta and wine, it’s something that I enjoy anywhere I go, so that’s my other foodie heartbreak.

BBTT: How do you feel about preparing and cooking all of your meals at home? Have you ventured and experimented with anything new?

PC: Prior to the lockdown of restaurants, I would usually have home cooked meals. Having a Nutrition and Dietetics background, I know the importance of home cooked meals where you can control and limit the amount of fats and oils, salts and sugars in your diet. I do not often indulge in fast food regularly, but when I do – I usually have a feast! Since I cannot go out to any feast due to the Covid-19 lockdown, I have found myself in the kitchen more often. I am currently hooked on the Tasty App. I have been trying all sorts of 5-ingredient or 30 minute meals whilst putting my own twist to it with our local ingredients.

I have also tried making healthy and tasty snacks. I recently perfected the best chocolate banana bread which was featured on my IG page. I think it’s one of the best banana breads you will ever taste. You can bet that it is healthy, with little to no sugar, and loaded with lots of power foods and seeds. It is simply a divine breakfast or snack treat that you’ll never feel guilty about. So I think I can safely say that this lockdown has gotten me to enjoy the kitchen a lot more and hopefully this enthusiasm stays post Covid-19.

BBTT: Are there any food or grocery items that you keep at all times and consider personally as “essential”? 

PC: If you open my pantry you are guaranteed to find pasta, mushrooms, Mc Cormick Creamy Garlic Alfredo mix, Hunt’s tomato sauce and a variety of dried herbs and spices. As you can probably tell, I think pasta is life! The added bonus is that all of these ingredients have long shelf-lives and can keep me enjoying this lockdown Italian style. Salads are a must for me as well. I enjoy picking freshly grown lettuce, kale, cucumbers all from my home kitchen garden and incorporating it into my daily meals.

Some other “essential” items that I have in my home are a variety of drinks, of course. It is a must to have wine, which I enjoy a couple times per week, especially on my pasta days. I have also challenged myself to mix my own “stay-at-home” cocktails during the lockdown. I have various rums and spirits such as vodka, Angostura 7 year old, and hard ciders that I enjoy on my grill days including the Caribbean’s own brand, Caribe. I think it is essential that during this lockdown you are locked in with your favorite drink in hand.

BBTT: What are some positive things that you have experienced personally or seen in public since the lockdown?

PC: I have seen both positive and negative reactions to this pandemic; however, I want to focus on the positive. I’ve seen people selflessly coming out to work in the hospital and doing their jobs without a fuss. To those people, I want to thank you publicly because without your bravery, compassion and most importantly, selflessness we wouldn’t be able to fight off this pandemic or any diseases/virus prior to, or after this one. I also want to commend those persons who are sewing masks and giving away free of charge to the public and others who are donating food items to families who are in need. I salute all of the first responders and other essential frontline workers who are keeping this country going. It is at a time like this, when you are really put to the test, so I urge everyone that whatever little you can do, please do it.

BBTT: What industry does your job lie, is your job secure and are you working from home?

PC: I’m employed within the Nutrition and Dietetics Department at South-West Regional Health Authority and therefore I do fall within the essential and frontline category. I mean the patients gotta eat right? So work life / most of my life hasn’t changed much and I am grateful that my job is secured to some extent. Currently, provisions are being made for some work from home days which would ease the mental and emotional stress of some employees of the hospital during a time like this. For this strategic move without compromising the services being delivered, I must thank those responsible for pushing this.

BBTT: When Covid-19 is over, do you plan to travel for leisure? If yes, where to and why?

PC: I had a couple of trips planned for this year, the first being a trip with my friends to celebrate a number of achievements we’ve had over the past year. We planned to go to South Beach, Miami over the Easter Weekend this year but as we all know, that had to be thrown out the window! So after Covid-19, I look forward to getting that trip being put back on the drawing board along with my other special travel plans. I do look forward to trying new foods and cocktails anywhere I go.

PC: What do I love about Bar Business TT?

PC: Bar Business TT (BBTT) shares the same passion as I do. BBTT truly raises the bar on the Food and Beverage Industry within Trinidad and Tobago. Their magazine has been impeccable since their launch and I love the content that they produce. The magazine covers all aspects of the industry from small start-up businesses to the more established ones. The advertisements of restaurants and what they have to offer is very valuable to socialites like me. The various articles introducing new drinks in the market, and the feature recipes are usually easy to follow. I would like to congratulate the amazing work BBTT has been doing. I look forward to future collaborations with BBTT. Cheers!

As follows are the closing comments from Meera aka Pretty Cocktailer:- “The key to success is through hard work and prayer. Keeping a positive mind and entertaining only positive energies will surely uplift and help you in attaining your life goals. I cannot wait to share a cocktail with you. Cheers!”    Follow Pretty Cocktailer on Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/pretty_cocktailer_/?hl=en

 

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