No artificial flavor or color. No high fructose corn syrup. No additives or fillers. We don’t filter our modifiers- liqueurs, amari and vermouth. We don’t fine our vermouth.
We’ve been focused on flavor since we started. Grown in the ground was our defining idea. Everything needed to be grown in the ground, not created in a lab.
We think of flavor as a journey. What do you taste first? How does it impact you? Do you have a memory of childhood or a happy time in your life? Does it make you remember something that gives you joy? The smell of the ocean, the feel of the wind in your hair, the feel of the sun on your face- all of these experiences make us happy.
Because we are so focused on flavor and our ingredients are real there are two outcomes- you can taste separate ingredients and you can smell the flavors. It’s an enhanced experience, where you experience flavor more completely.
Palate is the primary focus for what we do. We build our products as a flavor journey, with a specific flavor intent- make the best margarita, mix well with rye, and others like this. We don’t typically manipulate color, mouthfeel or nose for its own sake. The exception to this is our orange curacao, where we added a little vegetable glycerin for mouthfeel and a little hibiscus for color, in both cases because these were important to the overall experience of a margarita.
Consistency is a real issue in the flavor world. Bartenders want to be able to make drinks consistently, and for that they need their ingredients to be consistent. We use real plants. Mother Nature doesn’t grow plants the same way every year, which can be a problem for us. It’s been a problem for other liqueur makers, and the typical solution is to use a flavor essence that is created in a lab. The essence provides the flavor to the final liqueur and most of the big name liqueurs are made this way. We lovingly call it ‘weiner flavor’ in a nod to the Kids in the Hall. We don’t use ‘weiner flavor’.
For us, that wasn’t a solution we wanted to use. Instead we focused on how we could manage real ingredients to ensure better long term consistency in flavor.
There are really two key elements to this process for us. First, we use primarily dried ingredients. The flavor is concentrated, and because of this, there is less inconsistency. We macerate the dried herbs and spices in knee socks that we purchase from Target. (If this seems pretty specific, it is. Knee socks allow us to interact with all of the herbs or spices in the sock. We squeeze the socks at differing intervals depending on the product and the ingredient. We purchase them from Target because they are great at discounting patterned socks at the end of each season. Most of our socks are less than $1/pair and we have more than 10,000 pairs now. We know this isn’t a traditional method for infusions, but when we started we didn’t have much money, and we needed to be as cost effective as possible. We didn’t have a lot of money and we refused to compromise the quality of the ingredients, so we innovated around techniques, processes and packaging. )
We also practice a type of solera process. Solera is a Spanish method of producing wine, especially sherry and Madeira, whereby small amounts of younger wines stored in an upper tier of casks are systematically blended with the more mature wine in the casks below. For us, when we blend a new batch it is married to our mother batch. We bottle half of the batch and the remainder becomes the new mother batch and is held in reserve to be used as the base for the next round of production.
This has allowed to develop a consistency across multiple batches of product.
We are transparent about our ingredients. We’re happy to share everything that is in each bottle. We won’t tell you the quantities used or our sources.
We get asked a lot where we get our ingredients from. We tend to use small farmers or businesses to source our ingredients. We look for companies that are like ours, small, family owned with a commitment to their employees, customers and suppliers. Most of our suppliers practice organic farming and most of our ingredients are organic, but we are not certified organic. We haven’t certified because some of our farmers are not certified because of the cost, and because we forage some ingredients and cannot certify them.
We have also been careful not to add any animal products to what we make. Because we don’t fine our wine in the vermouth, there is no animal bone used. We don’t use honey. There are no animal products used in any of our production processes or as ingredients. Our products are vegan. We are not, but we respect the right of everyone to know what they are putting in their bodies.
Respect for ingredients, the development of innovative techniques and the solera type process show up in our products. We’re proud of what we make, we feel like it’s honest labor to create a real product. We usually end each day by saying that everyday you put your hands in liquor is a good day. Have a good day.