Revolution by the Barrel: Revolutionizing the craft cocktail experience
BY NICK SHEKERYK FOR SEATTLE NORTHCOUNTRY
Photos courtesy of Seattle NorthCountry
What is the vibe? It’s that feeling you get when everything is just right. The vibe is an intuition.
And when the vibe hits…well, let’s just say you’ll know when it does. When mixologist extraordinaire Nigel Lindsey is in the mix, the vibe always hits.
“My goal is ultimately to give people the best cocktail experience to fit any vibe,” says Lindsey. “It’s about treating yourself to the best.”
Revolution by the Barrel, the Everett-based craft cocktail catering service founded by Lindsey in 2016, is the product of his desire to disrupt the unimaginative nature of drink menus he’s crossed paths with far too many times at his favorite local events and venues.
“You don’t get that good experience with drinks when you go out to concerts or art shows or even weddings,” says Lindsey. “It’s a missed opportunity to celebrate these occasions the right way.”
Whether you’re attending an indie rock show with hundreds of impassioned fans or hosting an intimate dinner for two, Lindsey has the joie de vivre to make any occasion one that’s worth celebrating.
By now you’re probably noticing that the Revolution by the Barrel experience comes with an air of confidence that’s rare among the Snohomish County bartending scene – and you’re right. But the outfit’s ability to elevate any scene with innovative and budget-conscious libations proves the hype is real.
Lindsey takes great pride in the community aspect of his work. He leveraged his leadership skills – both as a former Black Student Union president at Everett Community College and a current economic development liaison of the NAACP of Snohomish County – to not only expand his network, but to also promote other local Black-owned businesses. His community-building efforts include sourcing ingredients from a community farm in his old South Seattle neighborhood and referring his clients to Black-owned services in photography, music, event planning and more.
“Having a diverse community makes things better for everyone,” says Lindsey. “Taking the time to make sure businesses of all communities are supported makes our city and our county better.”
Like his fellow entrepreneurs, Lindsey is putting in the hours to perfect his craft. While his efforts have built him a loyal following, the journey to crafting a better cocktail blends youthful curiosity, spirited determination, and a fortuitous encounter with a local distiller.
After landing a bartending job at a restaurant during college, Lindsey showed an aptitude for mixology that quickly granted him freedom to experiment behind the bar. It set the foundation for Lindsey to learn the basics of cocktail staples such as the Manhattan, Fitzgerald and Tom Collins. Lindsey’s ability to add his own flair to these classics wowed patrons, but it wasn’t until he served John Lundin, owner of Everett’s Bluewater Organic Distilling, that his real education in mixology began.
“He liked the drink I made for him and he came back to show me how to make a couple vodka drinks,” says Lindsey. “I was invited to their distillery to try their drinks. Obviously, this stuff was better quality.”
Lundin took Lindsey under his wing and gave him inside gave him the maestro’s knowledge to master the art of crafting a good cocktail – from making limoncello to bottling vodka and properly using syrups, shrubs and liqueurs as accent flavors.
“That was my proper introduction,” says Lindsey. “I realized I didn’t truly understand what goes into making a really nice cocktail. It was pivotal to how I look at drinks now and how I make drinks.”
The newfound appreciation for a truly great cocktail expanded Lindsey’s passion for experimentation. The dedication has paid off for Revolution by the Barrel, which has been a crowd-pleaser at concerts, weddings, and various public and private events throughout the region.
While COVID-19 killed the vibe for many in the alcohol service industry, Lindsey discovered opportunities for expanding in imaginative ways. The creativity led to new ventures such as virtual cocktail- making lessons, consulting to improve restaurant cocktail menus, partnering with food vendors for to-go meal and cocktail pairings and expanding his “party box” kits to include mocktails.
He’s also working with local artists to curate a book that includes art inspired by his expansive cocktail menu. Lindsey is even putting together a speakeasy- inspired lounge and aspires to run a venue that brings people together for craft cocktails and community events.
No matter what the future holds, what’s certain is that Revolution by the Barrel will continue finding ways to make sure you feel the vibe that comes with a better cocktail experience.
“I’m excited to find new ways for people to build familiarity with cocktails,” says Lindsey. “It creates a fun atmosphere, and it’s damn cool.”
Have a cocktail or mocktail with Revolution by the Barrel or enjoy learning how to make your own.