Want to play bartender at home?

Lifted Spirits Distillery launches its new collaborative Guest Bartender Series on Wed., April 22, featuring take-home cocktail kits created by a local bartender. Each week, a different bartender from a Kansas City restaurant will create a kit with the components for up to three custom cocktails.

“The Lifted Spirits Guest Bartender series is all about giving Kansas City bartenders a voice when so many of our favorite bars and restaurants are temporarily closed or have reduced hours,” says Lifted Spirits distiller and founder Michael Stuckey. “We’re excited to be able to provide a platform for these bartenders to share their creations with our community.”

The cocktail kits, available for purchase ($35 and up) at liftedspiritskc.com, include the mix, any additional ingredients such as herbs or citrus, and a bottle of Lifted Spirits product. A portion of proceeds go directly to the participating bartender or restaurant.

Eric Schmidt of Dodson’s Bar & Commons, Darrell Loo of Waldo Thai Place, Christopher Ciesiel of The Campground and Mari Matsumoto of Strang Hall are slated to participate. Schmidt’s kit will include the makings for a dry Martini, French 75 and Suffering Bastard, a house cocktail at Dodson’s that blends whiskey and gin. Schmidt, the first bartender to be featured in the series, says, “We’re a big fan of Lifted Spirits. We love them. They like us. We’re happy to collaborate.”

Regarding the collaboration, Matsumoto says, “local businesses means everything to me. Especially in these tough times, all we can do is give back and continue to support each other. Lifted Spirits not only has great products, but also amazing people behind it. Throughout my bartending career in Kansas City, they have become family.”

“Now, more than ever, is the time to support, band together, and collaborate with friends and small businesses,” adds Ciesiel. “Lifted Spirits is a cool company with cool products. I’ll also jump at any opportunity to work with Ian Bower.”

The close ties and mutual support among these various service industry professionals is evident. Bower, a bartender who also works in production at Lifted Spirits, formerly tended bar at The Campground for several months when the cocktail bar opened in the West Bottoms. “He’s an absolute gem of a human being,” Ciesel says.

Although restaurants and bars are temporarily closed for dine-in service, the opportunity to enjoy professionally crafted cocktails at home re-establishes the connection guests have with bartenders and distillers.

“The mission behind Lifted Spirits has always been to celebrate our bar and restaurant community. While the stay-at-home-order has impacted so many of our friends, we wanted to find a way to support our favorite restaurants and bartenders who have supported Lifted Spirits over the years,” says Stuckey. “Now folks can not only support a local distillery, but financially support their favorite bartenders, too.”

Lifted Spirits Distillery, 1734 Cherry St., Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.866.1734, liftedspiritskc.com