Offhand Facebook remark creates Cake and Whiskey Club
By Natasha Wasinski For Sun-Times Media December 26, 2013 11:46AM
Carlo Garcia started a club to have cake and whiskey as the only items on the menu. | Emily Schwartz photo
Cake and Whiskey Club
What: ‘Whiskey, Frankincake & Myrrh’ When:
8 p.m. Sunday at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee
Updated: December 26, 2013 3:02PM
When Carlo Garcia mused online one day how he wanted to drink whiskey and eat cake “all the time,” he was joking. Sort of.
His Facebook network played along and encouraged him to start the club. Someone asked about the cost to join.
“That got me thinking that maybe this isn’t such a crazy idea after all,” Garcia, 31, said.
What started as just another droll Internet comment spurred the Cake and Whiskey Club, bringing scotch imbibers and sugar junkies together for soirees featuring — you guessed it — sweets and spirits.
The group’s motto? Have your cake and drink it, too.
Garcia said pairing whiskey with dessert made sense considering Southerners, Europeans and Caribbean people have been getting their cakes drunk for centuries.
“I think there’s something very unique about putting those two things together in a very indulgent sort of way,” he said. “The sweetness of the cakes tends to really balance out nicely with the bitterness of the whiskey. I think it’s a really great combination.”
He used his connections in the ticketing industry to create a lineup of monthly events under the Cake and Whiskey Club banner.
Each outing has a theme, which inspires the sweets and liquid menu.
The club’s inaugural event in November paid homage to Prohibition — combining Houston’s first legal whiskey distillery Yellow Rose,with red velvet jubilee cake.
The recommended attire for the club’s next rendezvous, “Whiskey, Frankincake and Myrrh,” on Sunday, is “dasher or vixen.” Partygoers will wash down a chocolate cake with chai spice buttercream frosting with Fireball Cinnamon Whisky drinks.
“People who think they don’t like whiskey they might like it when its mixed together with something else,” noted Garcia. Purists who prefer their alcohol neat can sample a special selection of bourbons.
Cake artist Michele McAtee of Maddiebird Bakery promised her dessert’s undertones of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger would pair nicely with the whiskey’s spice.
“I feel like it’s a really nice way to kick off the New Year, with the decadence of the whiskey and the cake flavors,” she said.
McAtee also found the club’s founding principle of consuming fancy food ‘just because’ refreshing.
“I love the idea of getting together instead of waiting for a reason to get cake,” she said.
The club celebrates Elvis’ birth month on January 12 with “Hunka, Hunka Bourbon Love,” and has plans in motion to recognize the “Kentucky Bourby” in May.
The evenings are open to the public. Starting Jan. 1, the club will offer a yearly membership for reserved seating, special gift bags and discounts on admission.
Garcia wants the tasting events to be more than just drinking and dining. A portion of proceeds in December will be donated to La Casa Norte, an organization that has combat city homelessness for the past decade. Plus, attendees who bring a coat to donate will receive discount admission.
“It’s a good way, by indulging, to give back,” Garcia said.
In addition to including a philanthropic component, the club is reminiscent of turn-of-the-century socializing, when Sadie Hawkins dances were neighborhood affairs.
Garcia has no problem riding the coattails of old-fashioned glitz with a fork in one hand and a glass of bourbon in the other.
“It’s a callback to the time when men wore hats,” he said. “I have a certain admiration for those times. There was a rule of chivalry and classiness, and we want to bring that back as much as possible.”