Photos courtesy of Dina Ronsini
Cornwall natives Dina Ronsini and Emma Sobocinski serve custom sips at weddings and events from their mobile cocktail bar.
Next time you’re planning an event, ditch the list of cocktail ingredients and contact Traveling Spirits to do all of your bartending for you.
Founders Dina Ronsini and Emma Sobocinski first came up with the idea for Traveling Spirits while they were stuck at home during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Ronsini and Sobocinski worked as bartenders together for many years at a restaurant in Cornwall and, during the shutdown, they came up with the idea to create cocktail infusion kits and deliver them to people’s doors.
“We created these dried infusion jars that people can add their own spirits to, and then they become cocktails,” Ronsini says. “They’re everything you need minus the alcohol.”
Ingredients and themes for cocktail infusion kits vary based on the time of year. For instance, seasonal kits feature winter spices like cinnamon, clove, and anise, and the Winter Sangria infusion kit contains pear, blood orange, and the aforementioned mulling spices. Similarly, the Winter Rosemary Punch pairs cranberry, apple, orange, and rosemary. Both kits are perfect for fireside sips in frigid weather.
In contrast, the Spring Sangria infusion kit highlights bright notes of peach, strawberry, and lime. If you’re looking for something a little sweeter, the Blackberry Daiquiri kit uses blackberry puree, fresh mint, and orange to do the trick. Either way, both exemplify the flavors of the spring season.
As far as putting the kits to use, individuals can add their choice of spirit to the kits, then let it infuse with the ingredients in the infusion kits for two to three days before consuming. Each kit makes between six and eight drinks.
When it comes to crafting the kits themselves, Ronsini and Sobocinski source local ingredients for their infusion kits. In addition to Adams Fairacre Farms and Jones Farm, they frequent other nearby farmers’ markets throughout the year. Shoppers can order infusion kits year-round from the Traveling Spirits Facebook page.
Following along with their cocktail kits, the idea spawned into Traveling Spirits as we now know it, a mobile bar available for all types of events.
“We’ve done birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, bat mitzvahs,” Ronsini says. “We bring everything, our bar, mixers, ingredients for all of the cocktails. The customer provides the alcohol because we don’t currently have a liquor license.”
While Traveling Spirits provides a variety of signature, classic cocktails, it also works closely with clients to create custom cocktails. These specialty drinks are designed for each event. For instance, couples will each get their own signature cocktail based on personal preferences.
“We work with them individually, and they tell us what their flavor profile is. Then we bounce ideas around from there,” Ronsini says.
Traveling Spirits also factors in the season when creating its custom cocktails. Recently, the traveling bar concept worked a party that had a speakeasy theme, so it focused on catering the cocktail menu specifically to that theme and included vintage drinks such as old-fashioneds and vodka mules.
“Now, if we were doing more parties, I think we’d definitely do warm or hot drinks for the winter,” Ronsini says. “We could set up anything…a hot toddy station, a hot chocolate station, pretty much anything based on the event.”
Traveling Spirits frequents many notable Hudson Valley venues, including the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge. Based out of Cornwall, Traveling Spirits travels up to 30 miles at no extra cost. Any event further than 30 miles includes a small additional charge.
Being Hudson Valley natives themselves, Ronsini and Sobocinski place great importance in keeping their business local.
“I’ve lived here my whole life, so I know a lot of people in this area,” Ronsini says. “That’s why it was important for me to stay here. We know all of these people, we’ve befriended them, and we’ve seen their children grow up. It’s amazing, the community.”
Traveling Spirits also recognizes the importance of supporting women-owned businesses, being a women-owned small business itself. It highlights other women-owned enterprises, including Rita Ink Calligraphy and Simply Blessed Designs, both of which collaborated on making Traveling Spirits’ display signs. Traveling Spirits also collaborated with fellow Cornwall-based baker, Megan Maxwell, who makes custom cake orders.
In a notable Mother’s Day collaboration, Traveling Spirits worked with Earth Soul Products, an organic beauty company, and Simply Blessed Designs to create a Mother’s Day gift set that contained infusion kits from Traveling Spirits, body lotion and bath salts from Earth Soul Products, and a tote bag from Simply Blessed Designs.
In the future, Ronsini and Sobocinski plan to expand Traveling Spirits by purchasing a mobile trailer. They plan to use this vehicle as a commercial kitchen. In addition, the added space will permit them to prepare even more dry ingredients.
“We’re always sending each other pictures of mobile bars like, ‘This is what we should get!’ and ‘Look how nice this is!” Ronsini laughs.
With a commercial kitchen in tow, Traveling Spirits looks to establish wholesale relationships. From there, it will be able to sell its products in local stores and expand upon its brand recognition.
“We want to go to local farmers’ markets on weekends and sell our ingredients to fill the time when we’re not doing events,” Ronsini says. “We would really just love to be able to quit our jobs and do this full-time.”