If you ask Frank Walton III to explain the ingredients that make up the White Russian cocktail he’s created, he’s likely to tell you it’s complicated. However, if you ask him to tell you about the Behind the Bar Foundation, that answer is fairly simple.
After several discussions about community concerns that left Walton and his partner DiSean Burns contemplating “what can we do?” in 2016, the two bartenders established Behind the Bar Foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial grants to public charities and social initiatives.
DiSean explained: “We put our heads together and said, what are we good at? We know how to make drinks; we know how to have a good time; and we know how to enable people to have a good time. So why not leverage that and bring people together for a unique experience and support a cause or initiative at the same time?”
On Monday, Behind the Bar hosted “Soup and Sip” — its first in a series of 12 collaborative “cocktails for a cause” pop-up events, along with Chef Greg Collier of The Yolk Cafe. Held at Grace on Brevard, that first event raised money for CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees).
Chef Collier made the soup (a smoked potato bisque with cheddar cheese, bacon jam and green onions, complimented with marble rye bread). The mixologists — Walton and Burns — made the sip, which consisted of three craft cocktails. There was a display of artwork by Jonathan Cooper and spoken word by Quentin Talley.
“We are supporting the causes that are important to us,” DiSean said. By supporting these events, in a small way, we are too.”
According to the group’s Facebook page, the next event is scheduled for February 24 — The Ideal Cocktail Party – from 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. at 219 S Brevard St.
For more info, visit the foundation’s website at www.btbclt.com.