Smile Politely

Bartenders give Tuesday tips to charity

Most people know that those who work in the restaurant industry live off their tips — so what a sacrifice would it be to give up those tips for an entire shift? Four bartenders at Jupiter’s at the Crossing and Billy Barooz have decided to make that sacrifice for a good cause on Tuesday, April 9.

As a member of the United States Bartending Guild, sometimes Antonia Dietrich receives emails about bar-related events, and recently, she received a call to action from the Wine to Water/Just One Shift charity movement that she couldn’t pass up. Wine to Water/Just One Shift asks bartenders worldwide to give up their tips for one shift, as the name of the movement implies, to instead provide safe, clean drinking water for as many as possible of the one billion people a year who otherwise don’t have access to it. And why not, when a single dollar translates into water for a year for a person through Wine to Water? 

“Bartenders don’t often get the opportunity to be involved in charities … we serve at charity parties … but bartenders can make a difference,” said Dietrich, enthused about the opportunity to directly contribute to this cause.

Dietrich, who manages the bar at Jupiter’s at the Crossing, and friend Chris Hinton, a bartender at Billy Barooz, started planning and announcing the event when they heard about it, and soon, two other Jupiter’s bartenders, Morgan Smith and Ryan Church, signed up to participate and donate their own earnings.

As if the charity weren’t enough reason to attend, the bartenders and kitchen staff at the two restaurants are both creating additional, compelling reasons to show up. If you’re a regular at Jupiter’s at the Crossing, you may already know that Tuesday is 1/2 price on large pizzas, $1.50 Miller Lite drafts, and half price pool, but you’ll also find drink specials. The bartenders at Billy Barooz and Jupiter’s at the Crossing will serve up sangrias they handcrafted for this event: a red sangria infused with rosewater and a white sangria infused with lavender flower water, for $4 each.

Some of Dietrich’s favorite cocktails to make include passion fruit and pomegranate margaritas, the Corpse Reviver No. 2, and the 20th Century Cocktail (pictured):

1 oz Bombay Sapphire (or other gin)
1 oz white Crème de Cacao
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz Cocchi Americano

And, of course, if you’re a regular at Billy Barooz, you know their nightly food specials are not to be missed. Tuesday will include, among other things, a fried shrimp dinner and a Mushroom and Swiss pork sandwich. They plan to post the specials on their Facebook page during the day Tuesday.

The bartenders are excited about being able to contribute to this event through a shift of their tips. At least two of the bartenders set a personal goal of $400 each, more than they normally make in tips on a Tuesday, and if they don’t reach it, they plan to donate out of pocket.

The Water to Wine/Just One Shift event runs annually, for a week each year (this year from April 8–14), to give each bartender an opportunity to choose the shift that will give them the most effective donating power based on tip sharing rules, bar specials, or their own schedules. If bartenders still wish to choose a shift this year, they can go to Just One Shift.

Bartender “Doc” Henley thought of Wine to Water in 2003, and implemented the charity in 2004, which uses wine tastings and other fundraisers to raise money for the clean-water cause. According to the charity, “more children die from water-related illnesses than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.” So far, the charity is responsible for providing sustainable water solutions to Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, and six other developing countries in need of water purification.

When Gaz Regan, another well-respected industry bartender with a large reach through his cocktail publications, had the idea for the Just One Shift movement, they decided to team up to try to raise $250,000 from bartenders worldwide.

Only eighteen bars in the entire state are participating at the writing of this article, including bars in Chicago (most are in Alton, Illinois), but Dietrich hopes by next year, with more notice, she can help to coordinate a larger effort in Champaign-Urbana. After a bartender signs up for a shift, it takes up to 48 hours to appear on the website, so the count will likely continue to rise.

Dietrich said Carlos Nieto, owner of both Jupiter’s at the Crossing and Billy Barooz, was supportive of the charity event, and that his bars are no strangers to hosting charity events. Jupiter’s at the Crossing hosted a charity event for Eastern Illinois Food Bank in February, and Billy Barooz hosted an autism fundraiser via a prime rib eating contest last month. 

If you can’t make the event, but want to drop by to try some cocktails another time, Dietrich plans to continue introducing new items to the specials, including beer cocktails at Jupiter’s at the Crossing on Wednesdays.

Photos by Paul Ponder.

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