Kate Gantner and Fazal Vandal created our city’s first cocktail, “The Wilmington”, as chosen by Aviation Gin. Because of this, they are this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE. Read their story below.
Kate: “I grew up in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania and attended the University of Delaware for civil engineering. During school I was lucky enough to join the Women’s Rowing team who practices on the Christina River right here in Wilmington! After college, I was hired as a staff civil engineer at ForeSite Associates in Old New Castle where I do stormwater management design. Once I had a job and knew I was able to stay in Delaware post grad, I immediately rushed to find a place to live in the fabled “Trolley Square” (which I know now is Forty Acres) and I have lived here since with my hedgehog, Ray.”
Fazal: “I grew up in Parsippany, New Jersey, where most of nature was kept confined to allotted areas in between the suburbs. So, when I attended the University of Delaware and joined the men’s crew team, the amount of nature in the area was eye-opening for me. I now had access to outdoor gems like White Clay Creek and the Christina River, places not all too common in my hometown. While rowing, I waited tables at a local restaurant and happened to serve a frozen margarita to Kate! Upon graduating from UD, I started working in web development at IncNow up Orange Street. Since then, I’ve lived in the Midtown Brandywine neighborhood, and now in Trolley Square.
“Delaware’s connection with nature and abundance of state parks was a big reason for us to stick around after college. When you stack Wilmington’s walkable neighborhoods and various local businesses on top of that, it’s easy to see that this city is a great place to live! Some of our favorite memories this past year were seeing how active people became in utilizing the outdoor areas due to the pandemic. We’ve seen people picnicking, kayaking, fishing, drumming, and Zumba-ing all in a short jog around the Brandywine! Not to mention, the city closing streets for safe outdoor dining this summer to help restaurants and improve community morale was a proud moment.
One way we try to give back to this community is through our regularly scheduled blood donations at the Blood Bank of Delmarva. Thanks to their excellent phlebotomists, we overcame our fear of needles and now go every 56 days on the dot. We also enjoy partaking in the various river clean ups that are scheduled periodically throughout the year. They are a great way to get outside, explore a new park, and do some good. The clean ups are something we are looking forward to hopefully resuming this year.
It’s a huge honor to be selected for the It’s Time & Aviation Gin cocktail contest and we could not be more excited about the attention that “The Wilmington” cocktail will bring to the city. We hope you enjoy it and if you see us around town, be sure to say hello!”