This is Rebecca Felgate, from Toronto, otherwise known as Miss Rebecca J on Instagram.
Rebecca is 31 years old and is originally from London. She has a degree in theatre and a Post Graduate Diploma in journalism. Back in the UK, she used to work as a theatre critic. Coming from a very normal middle-class family, it was very difficult for her to get into the creative industries in London, where getting a job relies more on the people that you know than the knowledge that you have. Rebecca moved to Canada five years ago and has built a career for herself over here since then.
When she moved to Canada, she first struggled to find a job since no one would hire her without Canadian experience. With time, she managed to start working for the Toronto Guardian and was eventually asked to cover a few food and drinks events. These events didn’t pay, but they were a great way for her to experience the food and culture in Toronto, which is what she is most passionate about. Once she built Canadian experience with the Toronto Guardian, she was hired by the luxury travel agency Butterfield & Robinson to write itineraries, which was once again very gastronomy led. Eventually, she got a job as a host on a You Tube channel, but still continued covering food and drinks events for the Guardian at the same time. Even if it wasn’t lucrative, it was such a great gateway into the city’s food and drinks culture. She would get to try all these great restaurants and bars, take pictures, post them on Instagram and write a few articles. Her Instagram account kept growing and in 2019, she left the You Tube channel to focus on her Instagram full-time.
Of course, that was right before covid-19 hit us, so basically all of the events she had lined up were cancelled very quickly. Rebecca being a cocktail aficionado and having a pretty decent personal collection of spirits, she decided to become creative with her home bar. She already knew most of the ingredients that are used to make cocktails and was familiar with a lot of the technical terms, but she had a lot to learn in terms of techniques. She started making her own shrubs, tinctures, syrups, etc. She watched many videos and googled her way through this world of knowledge. Rebecca was particularly inspired by Kelsey Ramage and her low-waste techniques, so she learned how to make her own orgeat with avocado pit, limoncello with lemon waste, and so on. Brenton from Cheers to Happy Hour has also been a very strong inspiration and a great help for her.
Since the world of cocktail influencers is pretty obscure for most of us bartenders, we asked Rebecca to explain us a little more what do Instagram content creators do exactly. As she knows, a lot of people think (including her own mother), that she is some sort of socialite that spends her days walking around and getting free cocktails, being penniless and always drinking. Well, the reality is quite different than that. Rebecca starts her day at 6 in the morning, in order to post her first stories very early and catch that early riser sweet spot. Following, if she’s working with a brand, she will shoot for the day, film herself making a cocktail, edit the video and save it for when she wants to post it. She usually makes two videos like that per week, one for herself and one for a brand. Then, usually she would go to events. About three to four per week, learning what type of events can eventually turn into long-term business relationships. After she does her Instagram strategy, video, posts and events, she also does consulting and runs other people’s social media. And finally, she’s writing a book about her experience working in social media and they way it has infiltrated our lives.
I know that this is quite a detailed explanation of a Cocktail Content creator daily routine, but I wanted to put it out there because I myself had a little bit of a misconception about what they do. We are very glad to have met Rebecca J, who is not only a witty, funny and lovely person to spend time with, but an educated and professional cocktail passionate that managed to create a career for herself in ways that are pretty unknown to most of us. We are very happy to include her in what we believe makes our cocktail community and hope that our article helped elucidate some of your questions too.
A little bit more about Rebecca...
The three words that describe her best: Vermouth – happy – colourful
How does she drinks her Martini: 3 to 1 ratio. Stirred. Gin. Any gin, but she does love a London Dry gin or Empress gin because she went there, saw how it is made and it’s colour makes if very Instagram friendly. And a dash of orange bitters.
Harry Potter House: She’s a Slithering, but not an evil one.
If she was a cocktail, she would be: A Negroni. It has a bit of a punch, a little bitterness as well as sweetness, and they are strong.
An advice she would offer people that want to take the social media work path: Don’t ever do something that you’re not passionate about. If you start doing something that you don’t like because you think it will please other people and it starts to pick up, you’ll have to talk about it every day. Pick something that you are really interested in and that even in your Monday rainy and dark days, you will still find pleasure talking about.