Birmingham mixologist Steva Casey pulls all the punches
While Birmingham has long been home to a few of the brightest stars in the Southern culinary sky, like chefs Frank Stitt and Chris Hastings, the Ham’s reputation as a food city continues to rise as new eateries open and its offerings grow ever more diverse. But until recently, the city’s cocktail culture had been directly tied to its restaurant scene and somewhat stuck in the shadows. No more. Now, good drinks–from classic favorites done just right to innovative new creations– are standing on their own and taking the spotlight at places like Saturn, a 500-capacity live music venue, and Satellite, its more intimate sister space up front that’s a coffee shop by day and a craft cocktail hotspot by night. Here, bar manager and mixologist Steva Casey is upping the ante for Magic City drinkers. “Traditionally in Birmingham, to get a proper cocktail in a proper glass, you had to go to a fancy restaurant,” she says. “Thankfully, that’s no longer true.”
Saturn and Satellite don’t even serve food, but they always serve a good time, something that Casey sees as paramount to the experience. “My main job is to be a good host. If I don’t make you feel comfortable, it’s really irrelevant how good the cocktails are,” she says. “I try to create a relaxed atmosphere where guests feel like they are at a friend’s house. I love welcoming people to ‘my house.’”
For your holiday get-togethers, take a cue from Casey and make yourself more comfortable by whipping up a few big-batch cocktails in the form of boozy punches. They’ll take some of the heat off your hosting job and still wow your crowd. “With a punch, you can prep ahead and be done when your guests arrive,” Casey says. “That way, you can be with your friends and enjoy the party too, instead of constantly being on drink duty. Plus, they actually get better as the night goes on; the flavors meld together.”
Whether you want something rich and soothing, the deep warmth of winter spices, the pop and pizazz of bubbles, or a refreshing citrus-herb concoction with a kick, pick any (or all) of Casey’s seasonally inspired options below for an easy, enticing addition to your party plan.