We received an email from a guy, we’ll call him Murry, who had purchased two tickets to our Short North cocktail tour. He explained that he and his wife, we’ll call her Rebecca, would be participating in the tour but that Rebecca wouldn’t be drinking and could we provide virgin cocktail options. We responded that this was no problem for us as this wasn’t the first time we’ve been asked to accommodate a non-drinker. He then sent an apologetic email explaining that his two sisters would be purchasing tickets for the same tour and that Rebecca was pregnant (hence the no-drinking) but that the pregnancy had not yet been announced and needed to be kept secret. Sure, we can pull that off.

At first, we decided we’d explain that she was the designated driver but then worried that, since our tour is three hours long, the sisters might wonder why she wasn’t having a drink at our first venue, The Bar at Hyde Park. We decided to leave it up to the venues.

I sent an email to our participating bars that read “four guests for tonight’s tour; one of our guests is pregnant so please make her a virgin cocktail and no seafood...and by the way, we can’t let anyone know she’s pregnant so I will point her out to you. Remember, Mum’s the word”.

As is our common practice, we arrived at Hyde Park about a half hour early. The bartender, Todd, had formulated a plan. He planned to make a Paloma for our guests. He would make the virgin cocktail in advance and hide it behind the bar and do a little “switch-a-roo” when the guests were distracted. Brilliant plan!

When we greeted our guests, Murray told me immediately that the pregnancy had been announced to the family. The pressure was off. Secretly, I was a little bummed. We were anxious about how the night would play out but I was very interested to see how the venues would keep the secret. Todd obviously knew that is was no longer a secret and our final stop, Denmark on High, had been texting us so we went ahead and told them, but I decided to play a little trick on our second stop, Soul Bar.

I texted the Manager of Soul Bar, Ian, to let him know that the pregnant woman’s name was Rebecca and that she had short blonde hair and was wearing a scarf. I let our guests in on the charade.

We arrived at Soul Bar and Ian began his presentation. He was making a Sidecar for our guests and proceeded to explain the history of the cocktail, how it got its name, the ingredients and how to build the drink. He lined up four coupe glasses on the bar and began mixing the cocktail. He began filling the coupe glasses one by one. As he made his way to the fourth coupe glass, he tipped up the shaker and said, “oh shoot, I didn’t measure correctly, I didn’t make enough”. Ian then pretended to make another Sidecar. He even went as far as to pretend to be pouring the spirits into the shaker. He shook the shaker and poured the final cocktail and put it in front of our pregnant guest. Ian had taken the time to figure out how to make a concoction that would mimic the color of a sidecar. We were all amazed. After our toast, we let Ian in on the charade. He was a good sport.

I hope that our guests took away from this experience not only knowledge of cocktails and how they are made but, more importantly, an appreciation for the lengths that Columbus’ bars and restaurants will go to accommodate their guests. Bravo!