Cheers to Inglewood cocktail collaboration: Cold-Fashioned

rosso

Cold-Fashioned

Cole Torode – Rosso Coffee Roasters

 
The name says it all. Naturally, we have design a coffee flavored Old Fashioned. Barista is Italian for Barman, and in both professions one must balance acidity, sweetness and bitterness to really allow the base to shine. Incorporating cold brew coffee from Rosso, we’ve balanced an old fashioned that exhibits the finer aspects of the bourbon and coffee.

How many years has Rosso been in Inglewood?

We have been here for about a year and a half, but a lot of people think that we have been here forever. We have a store in Ramsay that we opened 10 years ago. Part of moving into Inglewood was it was a great location, but it also fulfilled that being in Inglewood sort of thing. We feel like we have always been in Inglewood, but really it has only been about 18 months.

How has your business grown within the past 18 months?

I think this has been a bit of a destination-ish café. I think Inglewood is becoming a very destination neighbourhood, and I would like to think that we are an anchor to that. We have definitely seen growth on certain in all aspects. Our measurements are our customers. You look at the till and see how many tickets do we do, and the ticket price, and we have seen both of those since go up since we opened, which is normally the course for a new store.

You were saying how this is one of your most popular locations.

This is. Just about week after week, this holds down the fort, if you will.

Why did you choose this neighbourhood?

Initially we opened in Ramsay, and everybody always thought that was Inglewood. Inglewood and Ramsay, are, in my mind, kind of one in the same. [They are these] community-oriented, family-friendly neighbourhoods. They are both the oldest neighbourhoods in Calgary.

What made you decide to open a coffee shop?

I actually didn’t decide to open a coffee shop. I joined in with my brother, who started the café two years before I got involved. Our original location in Ramsay will be 10 in September. We will have a big party and what not in the parking lot there. I joined in April of 2010, so I just rolled over seven years, and I just joined in for a job. I didn’t have anything to do. I didn’t apply for school—I didn’t go that route—and my original plans fizzled out, so I just joined in with my brother David, and was making coffee behind the barn and thought, “This is a lot of fun. It’s like hospitality, and the customer-service side, the art of the coffee, the preparation, the science behind it pushed me into the rabbit-hole. I kind of kept falling and then we would spit-ball ideas like, “Do you want to get into roasting coffee? Let’s learn how to do that!” So, we started roasting our own coffee. The next thing was, “Do you want to cut out our importers and start doing direct sourcing?” So we travelled to meet the guys who were producing the coffee. So it’s really all been run-and-gun, which is a common term we use.

Do you know why your brother chose to start-up?

He did two years at U of C and then two years at Acadia University out East, and then he came back and did a degree in Commerce. This was 2007, so at the time there was literally nothing available in his bracket—all he really knew was before getting his degree was coffee shops. He worked at the original Starbucks in Calgary, the one in Kensington. He worked at Tim Hortons back in a time and place when they did all of their baking on site at every Tim Hortons. He worked in a couple mom and pop shops, hung out a bunch of mom and pop shops, like at school to study and dates and all that sort of stuff there. He came back to Calgary, couldn’t find a job, and this kind of came by his desk as he was working part-time at a real estate office. He thought, “I’ll try this.”

What is your favourite coffee to roast?

At this point we have travelled to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Columbia, and Rwanda—all of which have their own little story behind them. Of course, they also all feel, in some shape or form, like a child—of course not like a child, but it’s hard to pick a favourite over another one. I really love Columbian coffee, so I have maybe deeper roots there. We were just recently in Rwanda, and our trip there was really positive and felt very impactful on what we were doing and what we were seeing. The guys that we met with there, they are just finishing their second season as coffee producers, so they are very new to it. We’re still very new to it, so I feel like there is going to be a lot of learning and a lot of cohesion that comes through that relationship. I have high hopes for that one, but of course they are all great in their own regard.

What are your favourite places in Inglewood?

I actually just moved into Inglewood, just moved in down the street. I’ve lived here for about a month now. Junction 9 is great. I am trying a 30-day yoga challenge at Junction 9—I think it’s a beautiful space, a great studio. The Livery Shop is pretty awesome. Those guys have become good friends. I could probably say good things about just about everyone in Inglewood. I recently just went to the Ironwood, which is great, lots of live music.

Are the businesses in Inglewood supportive of one another?

Yea, I would say so. I think just days that I am here, and seeing the number of faces that come in, like we see Kyle, from Plant, just about every morning. We see Ian from Fresh Laundry just about every morning . We see a lot of familiar faces day-in and day-out, which is great. I think for a coffee shop especially we thrive on the relationship between regular customers—in a lot of ways that sets the atmosphere in this space. You know, you come in, we kind of shoot the [S#!t], and somebody else sees that, and they are like, “Aw man, like what a cool sort of interaction there. I want to be involved in that.” And then they invest a little bit more time and it snowballs from there.

So how do you think Inglewood reflects your brand?

I think we are very Calgarian, even though that is a very broad thing to say, obviously. There are a couple reasons for that. Dave and I are brothers. We are born and raised in Calgary. I think that there is a very common saying in Calgary—whether it’s fully true or not—but entrepreneurship runs through the veins of everyone in this city, and I think that Inglewood for sure feels that. We really connect with other entrepreneurs, other Calgarians. There is a rich heritage here that we see, and going back to those other points, investing in this neighbourhood, seeing the same faces and building that community is a big part of who we are and why we want to be in Inglewood.

How would you describe Inglewood to those not from this area?

It’s a mix of everything you ever really wanted. You’ve got the awesome heritage buildings tucked in. The building that I live in was not built by a guy who survived the Titanic, but it was purchased by a guy who did a bunch of renovations, and he and his wife were the only Calgarians that were on the boat that survived. Just in my building alone, there’s so much cool heritage. There used to be a sporting goods store on the main floor, and now there is a wine shop and advertising agency. You walk down the streets of Inglewood and you literally have anything you want. Whether it is high-end retail, it’s antiques, it’s your drive-in burger, lawn bowling—you have literally every option you want. It’s the full package. You are right on the bike path, right along the river. You’ve got the train going through, just for a little cutesy add-on. It’s not great for sleeping at night, but it’s ok.

Is there anything else you want to add?

Come try our cocktail. I didn’t design our cocktail; the actual concept was from a guy at the café here named Stephen. We were chatting one day about cocktails and what he drinks at home, and he was saying that he really loves brown spirits—whiskeys, ryes, and bourbons. I said, “What would you do for a coffee pairing or coffee-fusion drink”. He came up with the idea of a cold fashioned, which is cold brew and an old fashioned mixed together.

 

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