Mixing and Kids: Learning From Mixologist Mom Kathryn Eckstein

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Bar Consultant Kathryn Eckstein shares her secrets on how she maintains the perfect mixture of her work and family.

Bar consultant and celebrated drink industry personality Kathryn Eckstein has quite a lot under her belt in the hospitality industry. From Japan, to Guam, to Turkey, she’s made a name for herself even earning the “Serving It Right” license in Canada. Now a mom of 2 with the hospitality industry making its transition, we’re wondering what Kathryn’s plans are on how to balance the crazy world of being a bar consultant and a mixologist with the equally demanding and crazy world of being a mom during the pandemic.

Her Current Mix

As a consultant for the hospitality industry, Kathryn explains that the complexities of her role aren’t solely just bartending. “I create beverages, train staff, curate menus, and even do bar designs. Like, the bar’s the last feature that most restauranteurs concentrate on,” explains Kathryn. “Especially with architects, they would design this beautiful restaurant and then have a blank space and say, ” Okay, that’s the bar” and then it’s not up to specs. Everything’s just awkward; it has a lot of afterthoughts. There are so many things I can offer but bartending was my first stepping stone.”

However, the industry is still undergoing its transition into the new normal which changed how Kathryn works as a consultant.

“It’s been very difficult for the hospitality industry,” admits Kathryn. “Back when the pandemic started, people were just trying to help each other out. There were seminars on how to make their own cocktails at home, educating them on what spirits to buy because people normally rely on the recommendations of the bartender. We kind of just wanted to empower people to understand what they’re buying. But right now, I’ve been teaching seminars, joining bar competitions, and going on talk shows. But most of the time now, I get to spend it with my kids.”

Adding kids to the mix of work

Kathryn Eckstein’s two kids — a 2-year old and a 7-year old — may be a little too young to understand what she’s doing. But they do understand one thing: her work takes their precious time with her away from them. “Oh, they know mommy mixes but my 2-year-old still doesn’t understand it. Sometimes, my 7-year-old would ask what it is exactly I do. But they’re both at that age when they would tell me, “Mommy, don’t go to work!” I think any working mom can relate,” she laughs.

As a working consultant mom, Kathryn’s happy she’s on the level where she is her own boss. “The work-life balance is pretty good. It’s like I’m at level 50 whereas being a bartender was like level 2,” explains Kathryn. “But what can I say? I have a fantastic yaya that helps me be me. Our yaya’s been here since Day 1 and I’m glad she hasn’t changed.”

Shaking it up with family

Being a working mom during the pandemic from one of the most hard-hit industries let Kathryn focus on raising her kids. “In the Hospitality Industry, we’re usually a slave on the holidays. But in this day and age, we’ve become more flexible,” explains Kathryn. “People are starting to realize that family’s very important. Now, they see the importance of work-life balance.”

Keeping that balance can be difficult considering how work and life occupy the same physical space. Sometimes, we need a little extra pick-me-up to achieve that work-life balance. And since we’re not sure what kind of pick-me-up we’ll need, there’s a bunch of ideas we can find on her IG to get in a good mood.

photography Noel Salazar

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