Mixology

Discover the art of Mixology in NYC with our blog. Learn about the best cocktail bars, mixology classes and events in the city. Start your cocktail adventure now!

NYCs Tequila Lovers are searching for their Next Drink! Now Madre Mezcal offers a Gateway to a Better Taste

NYCs Tequila Lovers are searching for their Next Drink! Now Madre Mezcal offers a Gateway to a Better Taste

Today’s conversation is with Ryan Fleming from Madre Mezcal.  The LA nightlife veteran reveals his time working behind the bar in some of Southern California’s hottest spots, as well as the inspiration that got him to travel to Mexico, discovering Mezcal. 

The aroma, flavors, science and food pairings for Mezcal.

Love Tequila?  Discover the Gateway to better taste with Madre Mezcal's Ryan Fleming

Love Tequila?  Discover the Gateway to better taste with Madre Mezcal’s Ryan Fleming

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, unedited conversation, visit our YouTube Channel.

 

“…I’ve been a big Mezcal lover before I ever sold it…”

Joe Winger:  Can you share the behind the scenes or how the brand itself was created? 

Ryan Fleming: I’ve been a big Mezcal lover before I ever even sold it or made a dollar doing that. So I got to actually meet Ron Cooper, who is the legend that started the Del Maguey label back in 2011.

I got to drink rabbit Pachuca with him and all these other amazing things. The reason I bring him up is he’s a kind of one of the people that we look up to, how to sustainably bring a brand and how to create culture that crosses boundaries in a sense. 

He has a beautiful book that I recommend anyone to read if you haven’t read Ron Cooper’s book.

But we share a similar story. One of our founding partners, Tony Farfalla and one of my good friends, Stefan Tony’s an artist and he was literally traveling through Oaxaca doing documentaries and embracing the art and culture. He happened to meet Jose Morales, which is the first family we ever worked with.

If you have original bottles of Madre [Mezcal] before the labels have changed, it used to say Jose’s name on the bottle. 

So Tony was bringing bottles back to Brooklyn in plastic water bottles and it snowballed. His friends in Brooklyn were like, this stuff’s great. Started out in plastic water bottles in 2014. I think it was 2016 when our first glass bottles actually came by and we became like of a more legit brand and company.  But it started with Tony and Stefan; and they brought on our CEO and COO, Chris and Davide.

Chris actually is one of the founding driving forces in the electronic scene in the 90s in Europe. Chris comes from a very artistic, music based background. Then he went on to work for some bigger alcohol brands in the vodka world. 

madre mezcal

Davide, who is our COO, my direct boss, who I love, is Italian and his whole family built furniture and he got his big break by importing and bringing furniture over [to the United States]. He also works with a beautiful high end apparel line. 

“…everyone has a very unique artistic background, which really reflects the brand and the label…”

So everyone has a very unique artistic background, which really reflects the brand and the label. Just not wanting to make a quick buck and actually make something we can stand behind and believe in.

As the families now blossom into four, we use three: the Vasquez family, the Blas family and the Morales family are our three main producers for our red and black label, which most people are familiar with. 

We just brought in Moises and he’s actually from Santa Catarina Minas.  That’s a little town where all they really make is their production. It’s a town known for nothing but clay pot distillation. So if you actually use a copper pot in, in Manera and Santa Caterina Minas, you’re looked at as what are you doing? That’s not what we do here. 

He’s our last and newest producer and he may be the most cowboy of them all, and he’s my favorite.

When you get to Tlaxcala, you have to walk over like a little rope bridge over like a river and stuff into the hills of Minas to see his production, and he’s got his grandfather’s old still, and he’s got his mom’s little kitchen that he wants to reopen, and it’s like a restaurant. But if you and I were to look at it, it just looks like a backyard set of tables and chairs with a cooking center.

No, this is a restaurant for the village. It’s really beautiful down in Minas. I recommend everyone, if you get a chance to go down there, it felt like the jungles in Costa Rica, cause it’s up near the hills and it’s just so green and lush up there.

 

“…I’ve been working in the alcohol industry for almost 15 years …”

Joe Winger:  What got you down there? Was it for a vacation or for Mezcal?

Ryan Fleming: 

So I’ve been working in the alcohol industry for almost 15 years and I worked for the Houston Hospitality Group for over a decade, helping run programs and menus. I worked for a couple other restaurants, but I used to work for Stillhouse Whiskey, which many people remember the terrible flavored moonshine in a gas can.

Yeah I actually sold that. I did pretty well, there was always one flavor that someone loved. I had the mint chocolate chip and I would keep it in the freezer to take care of my sweet tooth when I didn’t have ice cream. So that’s how it started.

My buddy, Stefan, who’s one of the founding partners goes, “Hey, we got this Mezcal company.”  I was just basically consulting for free lunches. 

One day he goes, do you want to go to Oaxaca? And I went, absolutely. 

I familiar with going down to Mexico city, but I’d never been as far South as Oaxaca. So I jumped at the chance.

[Meanwhile] we all got an email from Stillhouse saying “Hey, I know things are being shaken up right now, but trust me, everything’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” 

That weekend, apparently the whole team got laid off, but I didn’t get the email untll I came home Monday. They’re saying, “Ryan, are you going to be okay? Do you need help finding work?”

So I went down to Oaxaca, met the families, broke bread with Jose Morales, got to meet his mother who blessed the roast and cooked us dinner.  They offered me a job.

That was started my journey about six years ago with Madre [Mezcal ]and I’ve been with him since.

Fleming motions to tattoos on his arms and hands.

Discovering Madre Mezcal

I have it tattooed on my hand right here. I have it tattooed on my palm right here. And I think I have another one on the inside of my leg too. We do tasting events and we’ll have pop up tattoo artists all the time.

 

Tequila vs Madre Mezcal

Joe Winger: 

You mentioned the tastings and the education.  Are there quick lessons that you teach the most often?

Ryan Fleming: 

Basic production, culture, financial, environmental and economic sustainability. 

I don’t think people understand that Oaxaca is the second poorest state in Mexico.  Everyone thinks the Mezcal boom must be bringing so many jobs, but it really only affects about 20 – 40,000 people that live in Oaxaca for the production, 

Mezcal is great because it does bring some financial sustainability to the families. Jose started off driving a taxi to pay his bills and now he’s making Mezcal in his family’s tradition.  His whole family, his cousin, his uncles, they all make Mezcal for a living now.

There’s so much culture behind it. Even the old argument of did the Spanish bring over copper stills and that started distillation or does it go back to the Aztecs and Mayans? Because they found distillate and pottery from 3000 years ago. It’s those little nuances.

People really like to talk about the environmental, but giving back to the people down there by not just buying product, but giving them some ownership, which Madre does do, so that everyone has a little bit of skin in the game.

So I think Sustainability, whether it’s environmental, economical, cultural, and production. Those are the things I really like to talk about.

Joe Winger:  What is the basic difference between mezcal and tequila? Or is it more complicated?

Ryan Fleming: 

You could say production techniques, additives, mass production are probably the three biggest differences. 

Tequila can only be made with one agave. It’s a blue weber.  Mezcal can be made with the other 47-ish varietals, and that number is always fluctuating, based on classification and family genius.

Production is the big one. Tequila is made in massive factories and made with either chemicals or steam for the most part. 

Whereas mezcal is actually made by hand, roasted in an earthen oven. The biggest thing that separates Tequila and Mezcal is the 1% additive rule.

Tequila can have up to 1% by volume additives, and they don’t have to tell you. That’s why certain large brands will say 100% Agave, but it’s full of additives, because it doesn’t take much  with modern chemistry. Just a couple drops of glycerin or vanilla extract to change the flavor and hide  all the nuances.

Mezcal can’t have any additives by law. 

Joe Winger: Can we walk through the roles and responsibilities between the families that produce Madre Mezcal?

Ryan Fleming: 

Yeah, the four families. Let’s start with Jose Morales. Him and his brother both make mezcal. Now they produce for us in the US exclusively. We encourage all of our families to continue making mezcal to trade. They use it for a local economy.

Every time I go down there, [their operation is growing].  When they started, they had three stills. Now there’s 12 up and running and they have solar power.  It’s just so crazy to see how much the transformation has happened. 

The original recipe, the blend of cuishe and espadine at 90 proof, that’s his family’s recipe. So we expanded that and we brought on Carlos Blas and the Vasquez family. Unfortunately, Natalio the father passed away a couple of years ago.

His daughters are now producing in the family’s tradition and we take whatever we can from them. 

But what we do, that’s a little bit different is, we started out when it was just Jose, he was making the blend himself. Now we have them make the espadine and the cuishe separately.

All three families are part of the process. Sometimes we just get cuiche from Jose. Sometimes Carlos makes all the espadine, but Carlos is like a master blender. 

We blend a cold style like Scotch does. Even though it’s not the most traditional way, all the distillation and process is as true as it can be.

But by blending post distillation allows us to keep consistency, which was a huge problem because every batch with your wild fermentation, your wild yeast and all these beautiful nuances, it’ll be inconsistent as you grow as a brand.  It was hard for us to keep consistency.

But by blending multiple terroirs and three different families’ production, we can keep a consistent product that tastes the same as well as expanding and bringing on more families to help instead of just going to a large factory house and not making what I would call “traditional Mezcal.”

Joe Winger: So focusing on your background, you mentioned that you’ve been a bartender in the LA nightlife.  Any memorable adventures or lessons you can share?

Ryan Fleming:

There are some stories I could tell that I probably don’t want to share publicly. But there are some amazing stories I can tell.

One of the oddest experiences I’ve ever had, I worked at Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, which is one of the most famous bars in the Hollywood nightlife in the past decade. 

Paul McCartney showed up at our door. 

But because our staff is younger and our door guys are a little bit younger, they thought it was an old weird British man that just showed up and they turned Paul McCartney away from the door.

‘Holy crap, is that Paul McCartney’?

He was like, do you know who I am? The guys [were like] ”We don’t care.” Like straight up, blowing Paul McCartney off. One of our managers came out and was like, ‘Holy crap, is that Paul McCartney’? And they’re like, wait, the guy from the Beatles?! 

My manager ran out, “Please come back,” and Paul had a great time at the bar. We got him a special little area to sit down. It was a packed Saturday.  It’s not a nightclub where we have gated off [areas]. Even if you reserve a table, people are inches away from you where you’re sitting at your table. 

Justin Bieber showed up one time and everyone went nuts.  He comes in, walks around, does a loop, comes out and goes, “I thought this was a hip hop club.” and just left.

It was a 1970s themed bar and we played nothing but 70s music. 

The dichotomy between the two different generations and to see them all melt into one location was one of the coolest things about working at that bar. 

 

Joe Winger:It’s so crowded because it’s so popular.  The Houston Brothers always do such a good job.

Ryan Fleming: 

Yeah.  The cocktails are still really good too. For as much volume as we used to do there, the biggest thing is how can I make a really beautiful cocktail that’s still cost effective and doesn’t take 12 steps. We got really good at batching stuff and figuring out how to infuse things.  Luckily our back of house was just the most amazing.  Mariano is the best barback I’ve ever had in my whole life. He’s still there. 

He is just a workhorse that got all the infusions. He would cook, he would infuse all of our products and he was just great. Even if we just did a jalapeno infusion on our tequila, if it got too spicy, he could break down the ratio and water it down with more products so that we could keep the spice level approachable.

Joe Winger:

What is the secret to high quantity yet high value cocktails? 

Ryan Fleming:

Batching is definitely the way to do it. Any of your alcohols that are shelf stable, you want to put all of those in the proper ratios in a bottle.

Instead of grabbing a modifier and your base spirit and another modifier, you’re grabbing one bottle with a special tape at the bottom, so you know which cocktail it goes to and then all your fresh stuff. 

You can’t batch the fresh stuff. It has to be separated because you put citrus in something and it goes bad in three days.  Now the whole batch is bad. So keeping your fresh stuff separated.

Joe Winger: Back to Madre Mezcal.  Obviously the bottles themselves are where all the power is.  So let’s talk about labels and taste profiles.

Ryan Fleming:

People love our labels. Our branding is top notch. It’s one of the first compliments we always get. “Oh my God, I love your branding.” 

Madre Mezcal Artesanal

Madre Mezcal Artesanal

Looked at Oaxacan culture and some other like medieval culture and combined the art from the two.

As far as the red label it’s the woman on the bull. It’s a really beautiful message of Mother Earth coming down and starting to share humanity and move across the world to plants and spread love.  That’s why she’s on the bull.  It’s the combination of animal, Mother Earth, and humans. 

Madre Mezcal Espandin

Madre Mezcal Espandin

The black label is a beautiful logo of a woman on the ground.  She’s planting and spreading the seed of life that gives us agave and flowers and fruit and vegetables and everything else.

Madre Mezcal Ancestral

Madre Mezcal Ancestral

The ancestral is this beautiful clay bottle with old clay vessels from Greece that carried wine with the fluid coming out and it’s supposed to celebrate the ancestral way of making mezcal and clay pots and clay distillation.

I always love telling the story of people who say mezcal is not supposed to be aged, which is a true-ish statement in my opinion. But back in the day, everything got transferred in barrels. So Mezcal would accidentally get aged in barrels because it would travel from town to town on horseback after the product was made.

So the idea that Mezcal was never aged is it wasn’t aged on purpose. 

Mezcal was accidentally aged in wood. The traditional way that people would age Mezcal is in glass and they would hide it underground. 

I always tell people, if you have a beautiful bottle of Mezcal, you should open it and take it out and put a wine cork in it, or at least crack the bottle and get some air because it really lets alcohol open up and aerate.

Mezcal benefits from a resting period. Pouring it in a nice open glass, like a snifter or a wine glass, letting it sit for about 5-10 minutes will really open it up.

Madre Mezcal tasting notes 

Madre is designed to be less smoky. I really hate the term smoky. I like the word roasted because what you’re tasting is like barbeque.

You’re tasting the roasting of the agave and the charcoaling and the burning of the outside agave which will affect the sugars, the caramelization.

Madre really was designed to be a more approachable mezcal. We call ourselves ”The gateway to the category.” 

We want to bring people from tequila over to Mezcal so you can explore what agave spirits also have to offer. 

It’s bright, clean, and smooth. I always compare it to a really nice, made tequila.

Our Espadine is actually a close cousin of [tequila’s] Blue Weber. It tastes really bright, clean and smooth.  But you’re going to get some of that minerality and smoke in the end. 

Like easy drinking with some earthy aromas. 

Joe Winger:  That night when I met you, what you handed me was my first taste of the night. I love that it was so pure and smooth.  It didn’t clog up my mouth for the rest of the night.

Ryan Fleming: 

I’m like you. I want to have 2-3 cocktails a night. Not just one and my palette’s done. 

Our Espadine to me is a 2-3 second palette.  It clears up and you get like a breath and it’s fading.  Our Ensemble goes on for 10- 12 seconds.  From sweet vanilla to chocolate to mineral and then to smoke.  Then the smoke fades and you get just a really beautiful, crisp.  It’s viscous. You can feel the oil in your mouth when you swirl it around and it makes the best Negroni.

Joe Winger:  Let’s talk about food pairings.

Ryan Fleming: 

I want to know if this caught you off guard, but it’s Italian food.

Very rich foods. These beautiful Mezcals are light and almost floral and fragrant, It cuts through the richness and creaminess of food.

That’s why mezcal and chocolate are consistently paired together, but that was just way too easy. There’s always mezcal chocolate pairings, but like a really nice Italian dish, something creamy and rich, like an Alfredo or a really well done piece of pizza, like a margarita or a white sauce pizza.

“…I want to know if this caught you off guard, but…”

We are working on doing some [pizza] pairings with some places in LA.   Do a different slice of pizza with three different cocktails of Madre and then have a tasting at the end.

Chocolate has a big part of Oaxaca too. You can’t not have some chocolate and mezcal at the end of the night. 

Espresso martinis are so hot again right now. Try making one with mezcal instead of vodka and just [see] how coffee helps open up the agave and the notes, and you’re going to get so much more going on in your cocktail.

If you pair a nice espresso martini with  beautiful, dark chocolate from Oaxaca.  That is your final cocktail at the end of the night, it won’t let you down.

Joe Winger:  You mentioned replacing Mezcal with vodka in a martini, are there any traditional or more common cocktails we should also try replacing Mezcal in?

Ryan Fleming: 

When I tell you this, it may blow your mind. Most gin cocktails are a little bit better with Mezcal.

There are certain times you need botanicals, but a lot of really good classic gin cocktails, if you sub them for Mezcal, are absolutely fantastic. 

Joe Winger:  I’m shocked because most gins have such unique aromatics.

Ryan Fleming: 

Which Mezcal has so many of those same unique terpenes going on that it changes the cocktail, but it works.

So instead of having botanicals, you have all these beautiful vegetal and mineral notes that just come from agaves. 

Joe Winger:  What are the biggest misconceptions in the world of Mezcal?

Ryan Fleming: 

A lot of people have a misconception, especially on the trade side, that we have grown exponentially. It’s been a lot of hard work. People think we have this massive team behind us.  There’s less than 20 of us on the whole team. That includes our team down in Oaxaca, who  watches over manufacturing and production for us down there. 

We don’t have an office.  We have a little tiny apartment in Venice for meetings.

A lot of people don’t understand the hard work that goes into creating a small brand. It’s just a lot of people working hard to create beautiful Mezcal, especially the families. 

People [unfairly comparing it to] tequila.  What do you mean, we can’t get more? Why is it so expensive? We have people going out hand collecting wild agaves and harvesting espadine.  All of that is hand cut, hand chopped.   I’ve hand cut agaves with the families.

None of this is industrialized or mechanized like tequila. 

Appreciate every drop of mezcal you have, because someone put a lot of love and labor into it.

Joe Winger:  Ryan, as we wrap up, let’s talk about where can learn more about Madre Mezcal? 

Ryan Fleming: 

We have a beautiful Instagram.  Madremezcal.com is our website. 

We also have this Instagram called mezcal. Learning and it’s a little short videos and little blurbs to talk about production, families, history, and culture. It is focused on Madre, but it’s not just Madre, it’s Mezcal as a whole.

If you want to know more about our families who produce, where it’s made, you can find all that information on madremezgal. com. 

Our bottles are in most of your nicer bottle shops, liquor stores. In California, we’re lucky enough to be in Trader Joe’s for the Espadine and Whole Foods has our Ensemble.

If you can’t find it,  go to madremezcal.com and we ship bottles to almost every state in the U S.

We’re in nine countries, too. Australia. All over Europe, Costa Rica.  We’re working on Japan and South Korea as well. So I’m just excited to see the culture of mezcal just expand beyond just America and see how excited because I, when I talk to people that are in London or, people in Australia, and they’re so excited about the idea of being able to get mezcal.

Joe Winger: What is the future for Madre?

Ryan Fleming: I can’t tell you about the big one.

But, [exciting things for] our Ancestral, which is pretty new and every batch of that’s going to be hand numbered and labeled.

We’re going to start doing small batch productions that will be very limited. Then the desert waters, which we have ready for summer. 

To learn more about MadreMezcal, visit MadreMezcal.com. Find them on Instagram at MadreMezcal

 

NYC demands a better cocktail, Monkey Shoulder whisky Responds

NYC demands a better cocktail, Monkey Shoulder whisky Responds with Refreshed Bottle, Flavor and Style

Award-winning Monkey Shoulder whisky, the 100% malt whisky made for mixing, is revealing a fresh new look and feel to its bottle, the first major change to the brand’s hero bottle since it started shaking up the traditional whisky category in 2005.

The changes include a bold refresh of the label and a lighter bottle – up to 25% in glass reduction – providing an even better cocktail-making experience.

Get ready to party with a new look.

Monkey Shoulder bottle slims down for an easier pour

The new and improved Monkey Shoulder bottle will be implemented across both The Original and Smokey Monkey varieties of the whisky and is more than just a glass reduction.

Refreshingly light, the new look includes a longer neck for an easier pour, for both bartenders and consumers making whisky cocktails at home.

The bottle is perfect for shelf display

The new look matches the liquid within; the new split-label design and the enlarged brand logo oozes premium and is perfect for being displayed proudly on the whisky shelf or back bar. Fans of Monkey Shoulder’s “three monkeys” badge need not fear, as it still features pride of place on the new label.

The innovations to the design were delivered thanks to an AI-powered visual analysis to test key features and label viewability, followed by rigorous consumer testing. This led to a new look bottle and label that not only maintained its premium cues and distinctiveness but was approved by fans of the brand.

Everything remixed but the recipe: Inside the bold new bottles is the same award-winning liquid loved around the world. Made with single malt whiskies from the Speyside region of Scotland, selected in small batches then married together, Monkey Shoulder Original Malt Whisky retains its rich, smooth, and fruity flavour.

Ifan Jenkins, from Monkey Shoulder says: “Just like our cocktails, we wanted to mix things up when it came to our look. The eye-catching, new-look bottle has been designed not only to improve the cocktail-making experience with its glass-reduction, but also stand out from the crowd (just like the liquid inside). It’s with this bold new look that we’re looking forward to shaking up the drinks’ cabinets of Monkey Shoulder fans around the world, as well as grabbing the attention of those starting to explore the world of whisky for the first time.”

The newly packaged bottle will be available in mid-2024 in countries where Monkey Shoulder is sold, available in the best bars and retailers globally.

Monkey Shoulder, the world’s first made for mixing blended malt whisky

In 2005, Monkey Shoulder, the world’s first made for mixing blended malt whisky, burst into the world of whisky, and it has been breaking the conventions of the category ever since. Developed as the ultimate mixing whisky for cocktails, Monkey Shoulder Original Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is blended in small batches of Speyside’s finest single malt whiskies then married together. Rich, smooth and fruity, the original blend is bold enough to be mixed, yet balanced enough to enjoy neat. This unique blend gets its name from when turning the malting barley was still done by hand.

Sexy Girls Night Out Drinks, but at home? Bark and Barware Shows You How with Cocktail Smoker

Sexy Girls Night Out Drinks, but at home? Bark and Barware Shows You How with Cocktail Smoker

Bark and Barware enters the cocktail market with their premium cocktail smoker, including 6 flavors. 

Bark and Barware’s Harel Levy

Bark and Barware’s Harel Levy

Today, Bark and Barware’s Harel Levy joins us for a conversation about cocktails, creating your long-lasting girls night out, picking the right flavors, the perfect pairings and more!

The below conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  Find the full conversation at our YouTube channel.

 

Joe Winger: Can you tell us a little bit about your story? And what inspired you to create this cocktail smoker kit?

Harel Levy:  I’ve been an entrepreneur for the last seven years. While there are no mistakes, I actually found [the cocktail smoker] by mistake. I was planning to buy something for my Dad. I usually won’t give something if it’s not 100%. So I’d rather not give a gift that I don’t really like.  Because I really care about what the recipient is going to feel. 

“I really love the idea of cocktail smoking kits. […]  It’s another tool to have a great night.

I don’t want to give something cheap, because if you really love someone, you really want to make sure that everything is spot on, right? 

Even on yourself, you will be more forgiven in terms of what you buy than someone else.

I really love the idea of cocktail smoking kits. It’s not that it’s only cool and it’s a great addition to having those nights with friends, with family.  It’s another tool to have a great night.

I went to Amazon and I saw there is no one who actually sells it in a premium, wooden box.  And with many flavors.  I talked with [my company’s] CEO about it, what’s missing here.

Bark & Barware's Smoker Kit

Bark & Barware’s Smoker Kit

We came up with a wooden box. It came from my passion to give something that looks good.

For almost a year, we went back and forth with factories. The smoke.  The flavor.  Details with the box.

When we released it, we were very happy.  We knew my criteria.  If I can give it to my Dad, not being afraid he’s not going to like it.  Then I know that other people are also going to enjoy it because I have high standards for giving a gift to someone that I love. That’s how we came up with the product and the product.

The second thing we are planning is to bring a mixologist,  make it a more holistic experience. 

Extend the journey with our customers, give them cocktails, give them recipes, give them ideas, The journey doesn’t end when the transaction happens for us. We want to continue to build trust and serve our customers.

 

Joe Winger: You have a very comprehensive website.  Can you walk us through your Cocktail Smoker Kit? When we buy it what do we get?

Harel Levy: There are six different chip flavors, the culinary torch, the smoke lid.  Ice tongs, whiskey stones. Unfortunately, we don’t include butane [gas for the torch] because shipping is very heavily regulated, 

“In every smoker kit you get six different chip flavors, the culinary torch, the smoke lid.  Ice tongs, whiskey stones.”

We have six flavors: cherry, oak, pear, maple, hickory and apple. Our plan is to listen to our customers and come up with new flavors based on what they ask for.  It’s not a one-time product release.  We’re going to offer refills, extensions, more.

Each taste is very delicate.  The world of wine, flavor, alcohol is so wide and you can get very specific sometimes. When you do get specific, you get the best results, right? 

 

Joe Winger: Has there been one or two major lessons you’ve learned?

Harel Levy: Initially we had more flavors. After we gave out samples and heard about which flavors were the favorite, we removed some. 

Joe Winger: You mentioned flavor pairing.  What’s your favorite cocktail pairing?

Harel Levy: It’s a tough question because taste is something that is extremely subjective.

We usually put it with scotch. That’s our personal preference.  Our customers get very creative with their ideas. That’s why we initially started with those six flavors. But listening to customer feedback, it’s going to grow and change.

 

Joe Winger: Over a year of research and development, were there any unexpected surprises?

Harel Levy: A lot of people agreed with me on the wooden box.  People started asking for smoke refills.  They’re going through the smoke faster than I thought.  When we launched, I was expecting this to be used for special occasions.  But people are using it every week, all the time.  

 

Joe Winger: In the past few weeks, I’ve been in Los Angeles, Brooklyn, New York, Philadelphia.  All those places have bars where they’re serving smoked drinks.  Now people want to have that experience at home.  

Harel Levy: That’s going to make you the hero of the party.  You’re the one who brings the cool stuff. I always like to do that. 

We really advise [anyone trying this] to taste all of the flavors. Not just one or two.   The spectrum of what flavors someone likes or doesn’t like is very wide.  You’re probably going to really like 1-2 [of the flavors], and less like the others.

Those 1-2 that you really like, we’re going to offer you refills.

When I host friends [at my house], I drink scotch and it goes well with cherry.

But it’s like a game.  You try a lot of things. You find out something that you’re really going to love.

“That’s going to make you the hero of the party.  You’re the one who brings the cool stuff.”

Joe Winger: This first kit is a starter kit or a sampler kit. I get those six flavors and I get to decide, “Oh my gosh, I really like this one. Now I need a refill.”

Harel Levy:  Exactly. It’s exciting me on a personal level because I’m curious […]. What’s going to make people upgrade a scotch that costs hundreds of dollars?

I can play with the flavor. That will upgrade an experience for the end customer cost hundreds of dollars. I did my part, right? And for them, they’re going to be over the moon. They’re going to be super happy. It’s just going to become one of their routine.

“What’s going to make people upgrade a scotch that costs hundreds of dollars?”

Joe Winger: There are smoking kits all over the place. Dozens of competitors on Amazon.  Why should someone choose Bark and Barware?

Harel Levy:  It’s the full experience that we offer. It starts with the package. Then the flavors. Most of our competitors offer four, we offer six. We tasted all of the competitors and our flavor is better.  Otherwise I would not have released the product.

Our post-purchase [experience] the recipes.  We’re working with a mixologist to just create a mini course to go with the kit, go with specific drinks. Customers are going to have access to all of it. How do I mix it? What should I mix it with? 

Joe Winger: What does the future of the brand look like?

Harel Levy: We’re planning to release big packages [re-fills] of each flavor. Second thing is the mini courses. We really want to inspire because that’s fun.  

The process of drinking with friends, the process of smoking. It’s a fun process. You sit on your balcony, with friends, you open a bottle of wine as well.  That’s a fun process. 

Our goal is to inspire. Someone [will realize they] like a specific cocktail.  We will give them all of the information on how to make it,  how to mix it, then we earn a customer for life. 

Joe Winger: You mentioned picking a cocktail is like picking a favorite kid. It’s so hard to do. What is your favorite cocktail to use with your smoker? 

Harel Levy: Yeah, so that’s a great question. I like the combination of the apple and scotch.

Joe Winger: Because you’re a foodie, are there any specific cocktail and food pairings that you really enjoy with any of your specific flavors?

Harel Levy: My favorite is having an apple flavored scotch with a ribeye. Someone I work with loves the hickory flavor.  That’s the beauty of this world, every person has their unique taste.

Shop for Bark and Barware’s Cocktail smoker hit on amazon here: https://amzn.to/3P5c42g 

Learn more at: https://www.barkandbarware.com

St Patricks Day NYC-style: Cocktail Collab as “A Taste of Green’ as Bailey’s Partners with Ian Charms

St Patricks Day NYC-style: Cocktail Collab as “A Taste of Green’ as Bailey’s Partners with Ian Charms

St. Patrick’s Day is now only a short leap away as we gear up to celebrate the Emerald Isle.

With the turn of the season comes an invitation to swap out your drab winter wardrobe for brighter spring hues because this just in – green is the new black.

St Patricks Day Cocktail Collab Brings Combines Flavor and Jewelry

This St. Patrick’s DayBaileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur is partnering with celebrity-loved jewelry brand Ian Charms to release an exclusive charm collaboration that will make the ultimate fashion statement for the holiday.

The two iconic brands are celebrating their Irish roots with a limited-edition Baileys x Ian Charms Necklace & Cocktail Charms Set to make sure both you and your cocktail have the perfect touch of green for your celebrations.

“Baileys has been a beloved treat in my family for generations

and it’s exciting to finally be partnering with a brand that lets me celebrate my Irish heritage,”

Lisa Sahakian

Founder and CEO of Ian Charms

“Designing this charm set was incredibly fun and we’re thrilled to be offering our customers something truly unique to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with.”

St Patricks Day Cocktail Collab is Necklace & Cocktail Charms Set

The Baileys x Ian Charms Necklace & Cocktail Charms Set includes two distinct pieces – a necklace to complement any outfit and a cocktail charm to adorn onto the stem or rim of your cocktail glass.

The design features an eccentric combination of handmade charms, beads and pearls inspired by Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur’s unapologetically delicious ingredients and cocktails.

The one-of-a-kind charm set also pulls elements from the limited-time-offering Baileys Vanilla Mint Shake Irish Cream Liqueur as well as quintessential Irish emblems, making this set the perfect accessory for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

“We are delighted to be releasing this limited-edition collaboration

with a beloved brand like Ian Charms

to give adults a new way to indulge in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations,”

Camille Hemming

Senior Brand Manager of Baileys & Liqueurs, DIAGEO North America

“Between the classic Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur or the green-themed Baileys Vanilla Mint Shake that’s making a return for the holiday, we hope to offer more ways than one to toast to our brands’ Irish roots.”

“This exclusive drop marks Baileys’ second piece of Treat Couture, fashion-forward collaborations that inspire adults to indulge in unique wearable creations.

To celebrate the indulgence of fashion in the lead up to St. Patrick’s Day, treat yourself to a signature cocktail featuring beloved Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur and minty green limited-time-offering Baileys Vanilla Mint Shake Irish Cream Liqueur.”

BAILEYS ESPRESSO MARTINI
Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Baileys Original Irish Cream
  • 0.75 oz espresso
  • 0.75oz Ketel One Vodka
  • Coffee Beans, to garnish

Method:

  • Fill shaker with ice
  • Add all ingredients and shake
  • Strain into a cocktail glass
  • Garnish with coffee beans

VANILLA MINT MARTINI 
Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Vanilla Mint Shake
  • 0.5 oz Fernet Branca Menta
  • 3-4 dashes Absinthe

Method:

  • Shake with 1 ice cube for dilution
  • Strain into cocktail glass
  • Garnish with grated chocolate + mint sprig

The limited-edition Baileys x Ian Charms Necklace & Cocktail Charms Set is available exclusively on IanCharms.com while supplies last. Ian Charms is a female-owned, handmade jewelry company based in LA that has amassed a loyal fan base of celebrities and consumers alike. Ian Charms will donate all proceeds from the charm set sales to CurePSP, and Baileys will match the amount with a donation to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), a non-profit educational foundation supporting emerging and established women entrepreneurs.

Baileys encourages consumers of legal drinking age to treat themselves responsibly this season.

For more information, please visit www.BAILEYS.com.

Ian Charms is a female owned, handmade jewelry company


Ian Charms is a female owned, handmade jewelry company based in LA. Named “Ian” charms because the creator’s last name (Lisa Sahakian), like many Armenian names, ends in those three letters. For those who like to adorn their necks and wrists with a more personal flair, Ian Charms will work with you to craft a custom piece, just start the process by ordering the type of custom jewelry you’d like.

Notable fans of the brand include Justin BieberDua LipaJulia Fox & Doja Cat, among others.
IanCharms.com
@iancharms

NAWBO is the unified voice of America’s more than 14 million women-owned businesses


Founded in 1975, NAWBO is the unified voice of America’s more than 14 million women-owned businesses representing the fastest growing segment of the economy. NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries.

NAWBO develops programs that help navigate women entrepreneurs through the various stages of their business growth. To learn more about NAWBO, please visit www.nawbo.org.

To learn more about NAWBO’s non-profit educational foundation, the NAWBO Institute, please visit www.nawbo.org/university.

BAILEYS Irish Cream Liqueur

BAILEYS launched in Ireland in 1974. It is now available in 180 markets worldwide and is the number one selling liqueur in the world.

Owned by Diageo plc, BAILEYS is currently ranked 7th among all distilled spirits sold worldwide. It’s the signature delicious balance of Irish Cream, whisky and fine spirits that makes BAILEYS Original Irish Cream the perfect little indulgence when you need a break from your daily routine.

The BAILEYS portfolio includes Original Irish Cream, Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Cinnamon, Espresso Crème, Strawberries & Cream and Almande.

For more information on BAILEYS Original Irish Cream, please visit us at www.BAILEYS.com.

Birthday in NYC? Dough Ball Whiskey Launches Newest Flavor: Birthday Cake

Dough Ball Whiskey Launches Newest Flavor: Birthday Cake

Dough Ball‘s newest launch, Birthday Cake Whiskey, is a snackable reminder that you can have your cake and drink it, too!

The fastest-growing, top 12 flavored whiskey brand in the U.S.* first crashed the flavored whiskey category in August 2021, with an award-winning Cookie Dough Whiskey that national media publications have crowned “the best of class flavored whiskey.”

Due to the continued consumer demand for flavored whiskey and rapid success in its first year, Dough Ball is expanding its decadent flavor portfolio with a new and innovative Birthday Cake Whiskey. Blending the mouthwatering nostalgia of sprinkled vanilla cake with a smooth, medium-bodied, 70-proof whiskey, Birthday Cake is perfectly crafted for indulgent cocktails, creamy birthday cake shots and celebrations.

“At Dough Ball,

we’re all about creating fun and innovative whiskeys

that push the boundaries on flavor.

We think we have accomplished that with Birthday Cake,”

Joey Parris, Chief Marketing Officer at Patco Brands

“It’s delicious, nostalgic and makes you feel like every day is your birthday.”

Within a year of launch, Dough Ball Whiskey expanded into over 30 states, becoming the fastest-growing flavored whiskey brand and winner of over a dozen awards, including the Bartender Spirits Awards, SIP Awards, San Francisco World Spirits Competition and more.

“It’s delicious, nostalgic and makes you feel like every day is your birthday.”

Dough Ball’s new Birthday Cake Whiskey is available at select Total Wine and BevMo! locations, with additional retailers to come throughout 2024, including Ralph’s, Albertsons and Walgreens. The suggested retail price of Birthday Cake Whiskey is $26.99.

Dough Ball’s new Birthday Cake Whiskey is available at select Total Wine and BevMo! locations, with additional retailers to come throughout 2024, including Ralph’s, Albertsons and Walgreens. The suggested retail price of Birthday Cake Whiskey is $26.99.

For more information, please visit DoughBallWhiskey.com or follow along on Instagram @doughball_whiskey.

*Nielsen, Total US x AOC + Liquor Plus + Conv, Whiskey Latest 52wks thru 12/30/2023

Dough Ball is a flavored whiskey from Patco Brands

Dough Ball is a flavored whiskey from Patco Brands, one of the fastest-growing beverage companies in the United States. Featuring notes of buttery vanilla, chocolate and caramel, smoothed out with hints of butterscotch, Dough Ball exudes flavors of warm cookie dough goodness in a delicious, 70-proof whiskey. Birthday Cake is a new flavor profile to the whiskey category, with notes of nostalgic birthday cake and vanilla buttercream frosting. Unapologetically unique, versatile and approachable, this Cookie Dough and Birthday Cake Whiskey can be enjoyed as a shot, sipped, or mixed in a cocktail. For more info, visit www.doughballwhiskey.com and follow along on social at @doughball_whiskey.

Patco Brands is for innovative premium alcohol beverages


MPL Brands NV, Inc. dba Patco Brands is a privately held import, manufacturing, marketing and sales company for innovative premium alcohol beverages. Dedicated to making award-winning, ready-to-drink wine-based products, tequilas, whiskeys, hard seltzers and other offerings, the Patco Brands mission is innovation, quality and consistency. Patco Brands is also now one of the largest importers of tequila in the U.S.

For more information, please visit www.patcobrands.com.

RuPaul, World Of Wonder Get ‘Dry and Dirty’ this January with HOUSEOFLOVE Cocktails, Mocktails

RuPaul gets ‘Dry and Dirty’ this January with HOUSEOFLOVE Cocktails,  Canned Mocktails

World Of Wonder and RuPaul Unveil New HOUSEOFLOVE Premium Canned Mocktails AND Cocktails for a ‘Dry and Dirty’ January

World of Wonder and RuPaul, the multiple Emmy-award winning team behind the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” global franchise, are serving up three new flavor additions to the HOUSEOFLOVE premium canned cocktail and mocktail line.

Inspired by RuPaul’s culture-shaping “Drag Race” franchise

Inspired by the culture-shaping “Drag Race” franchise, the new HOUSEOFLOVE cocktails and mocktails are launching this month, January 2024, just in time for Season 16 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The new flavors include two low ABV, 100 cal selections alongside a 0% ABV mocktail to serve the growing demands driven by Gen Z and millennial consumers. The non-alcoholic sector is expected to grow to $30 billion in 2025, according to Global Market Insights.

HouseofLove Cocktail Flavors

In true Drag form, the brand is debuting its beverages with a “dry and dirty campaign,” bringing irreverence into the wellness trend with a line up of mouthwatering new flavors.

Vodka Soda Citrus

Vodka Soda Citrus: This perfect vodka soda, bursting with citrusy goodness, is made with premium vodka, lime juice, and natural flavors. (100 cal, 4% ABV)

Passion Fruit Margarita

Passion Fruit Margarita: Made with Authentic Tequila and natural Passion Fruit flavor, this margarita pairs well with tropical vacations, forgetting your ex-boyfriend, and nights out with your best Judys. (100 cal, 4% ABV)

Totally Tropical Mocktail

Totally Tropical Mocktail: This tropical mocktail, featuring natural guava, passion fruit, and citrus flavors, is the one – totally. Best paired with valley girl energy and long walks on the beach. Ru’s new HOUSEOFLOVE fav!

“We are pleased as punch to provide even more delicious offerings from the HOUSEOFLOVE!…”

“…After selling out the product at DragCon LA, we wanted to meet the demand for both mocktails and lower-calorie options. HOUSEOFLOVE pairs best with season 16 of RuPaul’s Drag Race – cheers!” said World of Wonder co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.

HOUSEOFLOVE Cocktail Love

Built on the cult following of the brand, HOUSEOFLOVE  will be debuting and sampling flavors at RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties and bars across NY, NJ, LA, Chicago, Vegas, and available for purchase at local retailers.

HOUSEOFLOVE cocktails and mocktails are available for purchase in fine liquor stores in major markets across the US, and direct to consumer at houseoflovecocktails.com.

About World of Wonder

World of Wonder (WOW) has reshaped international pop culture, earning 30 Emmys, inspiring two Oscars, creating global network WOW Presents Plus across 190 territories, and bringing drag culture to the world stage via RuPaul’s Drag Race and DragCon.

WOW’s pioneering television portfolio includes other smash-hit franchises like Million Dollar Listing. Their film division WOW Docs produces groundbreaking documentaries including Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, Party Monster, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

WOW also operates YouTube channel WOWPresents, music label World of Wonder Records, the WOW Podcast Network, and year-round international live events. Co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have been profiled in Variety’s Reality TV Impact Report and Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful Producers in Unscripted.

Honors for their trailblazing work include the IDA Pioneer Award, Realscreen’s Global 100 list, Banff’s Impact Award, and the OUT 100. In 2022, World of Wonder was ranked #2 among film and TV powerhouses in Fast Company’s World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.

“Brown sugar, chocolate, raisins, and cinnamon – Big, bold, packed with flavor” – Bourbon Podcast announces 2023 Whiskey of the Year

“Brown sugar, chocolate, raisins, and cinnamon – Big, bold, packed with flavor” – Bourbon Podcast announces 2023 Whiskey of the Year

“Big, bold, packed with flavor” – Bourbon Podcast announces 2023 Whiskey of the Year

After sampling over 100 whiskeys in 2023, Bourbon Podcast announced its 2023 Whiskey of the Year: Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon®.

The highly anticipated 2023 release of Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon® was limited to 9,600 bottles coming in at 140.9 proof.

Cowboy Bourbon® is bottled at cask strength, uncut and unfiltered, providing a unique flavor that is distinctly Garrison Brothers and unapologetically Texas.

“The 2023 release of Cowboy Bourbon® really stood out to us,”

Joe Nassif

co-host of Bourbon Podcast

“It is a big, bold, hazmat bourbon that is packed with flavor. It tastes like a dessert in a glass, with notes of brown sugar, chocolate, raisins, and cinnamon.”

Each barrel of Cowboy Bourbon® was hand-selected by Master Distiller Donnis Todd and stashed away in Garrison Brothers’ barrel barns for at least six years.

The process and high heat in Texas allows the bourbon to soak in even more flavor and texture, resulting in an incredible product. “Cowboy 2013, the first Cowboy ever released, put Garrison Brothers and Texas on the bourbon map,” said Donnis Todd, Master Distiller, Garrison Brothers Distillery. “It’s an honor a decade after the first release having the 2023 Cowboy named as the 2023 Whiskey of the Year,” Todd said.

Founded in 2005, Garrison Brothers Distillery is located in Hye, Texas. In 2006, the distillery was granted the first stiller’s permit for bourbon outside of Kentucky and Tennessee, which makes it the oldest legal bourbon distillery in Texas.

In addition to 2023 Whiskey of the Year, Bourbon Podcast announced the following 2023 Honorable Mention Whiskeys:

2XO Gem of Kentucky, 108 Proof, MSRP $199
Old Forester The President’s Choice, Barrel #30, 117 Proof, MSRP $189
Russell Reserve 13, Batch 4, 114.8 Proof, MSRP $150
Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond 10 year (Spring 2023), 100 Proof, MSRP $140
Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Rye, 114.4 Proof, MSRP $270
Elijah Craig Barrel Strength (C923), 133 Proof, MSRP $70
Elijah Craig Barrel Strength (B523), 124.2 Proof, MSRP $70
Garrison Brothers Balmorhea, 115 Proof, MSRP $180
Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon, Barrel #23G2651, 94.4 Proof, $185 MSRP 
George T. Stagg, 135 Proof, MSRP: $125

Bourbon Podcast is the premier podcast for whiskey enthusiasts, consistently ranking in the Top 10 of Apple Podcasts in the United States in the hobbies category. Bourbon Podcast has thousands of weekly subscribers made up of whiskey enthusiasts and industry insiders. With over 60,000 followers on social media, Bourbon Podcast has distinguished itself as one of the top sources for news and reviews of whiskey in the United States.

For more information: www.bourbonpodcast.com

Instagram: @bourbonpodcast
Facebook: facebook.com/bourbonpodcast

Fresh Victor Saves Your Holiday Cocktail with Fresh, Organic and Full Flavor Mixers

Holidays 2023: Fresh Victor Puts the the drinker in charge with Fresh, Organic and Full Flavor Mixers.

Fresh Victor is how you make fast, delicious craft cocktails and amazing mocktails — Every. Single. Time. 

Fresh Victor is a line of premium mixers for consistently delicious and efficient cocktails (and mocktails too.)

H. Ehrmann knows his cocktails

H. Ehrmann is a bartender and drinks industry consultant who runs Elixir, one of the most influential bars in San Francisco.  In the industry for 35 years, owned a bar for 20 years. 

Recently he hosted a virtual mixer walking us through several cocktails using Fresh Victor as the mixer: from non-alcoholic, to low alc, to full alcoholic.

Cold-pressed juice-based cocktail mixers. They have added sugar, either organic cane sugar or agave nectar used to balance out citrus levels to hit the intended brix level for most cocktails.

Holidays 2023: Fresh Victor creates Fast, Delicious Craft Cocktails

For example, with the Lemon Sour, the base is known as a pretty simple flavor profile.  You can add another layer of flavor complexity (like a liqueur).  But the Fresh Victor mixer was designed to have more depth, a bit more bitterness to handle any additional sweetness added. 

Fresh Victor +1 or +2

All of the Fresh Victor bottles are designed to make delicious cocktails, but simply and easier.  How?  The amount of cocktails that can be made by adding just 1 or 2 ingredients plus the Fresh Victor mixer.

+1 is agave and tequila.  Lemon Sour and whiskey. 

+2 might be carbonation, frothing, aromatics, like:  tonic, soda water, champagne, egg white, bitters.

Fresh Victor creates Fast, Delicious Craft Cocktails

 

“2-3 pours and a lot of flavor”

H. Ehrmann

With those 3 elements and Fresh Victor’s 9 flavors, you can end up with dozens of drinks.  From classics, to a spin-off of a classics (including mocktails).

Mixing ratios: 1: 1 and 2: 1.  

1 1 / 2  oz of spirit to 2 ounces of mixer

2 oz of spirit to 2 ounces of mixer

If the drinker likes the taste of the alcohol, they want that taste to “punch” through, then then 2:2 is better for them.  If they want the flavor sweeter, iding behind the mixer, 2:1 is the answer for them.

Fresh Victor is a mixer, not a juice.  So it’s meant to take on dilution as you build your cocktail. Right out of the bottle, it’s a bit more concentrated, more dense.  Meant to be stirred, shaken, reduced down without watering down the flavor.   It can dilute 15-20% without losing quality. 

Using Fresh Victor, you can create a 32 oz, 64 oz or a gallon punch bowl for a holiday party in less than 5 minutes.  And it’s not a simple, lame flavor.  It’s complex.

Orchard Bliss Royale

Non-alcoholic.  When you add Champagne or Sparkling, it’s called “Royale” and today’s drink is adding Sparkling Cider.  

4 oz sparkling cider

2 oz Fresh Victor (Three Citrus and Mint Leaf)

Garnish with dehydrated apple slices

The nose is refreshing. Vibrant apple.  Effervescent on the palate, from the Sparkling. A balance of lemon, lime, orange.  Plump, but not overwhelming.  Mint notes that bring a tertiary element.

Suggestions include playing with adding a shot of vodka, rum or tequila, any of which would work well.

Fresh Victor mixers give a fruit-forward base that makes it easy to play and experiment with.

Winter Spice Tonic

“When mixed well, Gin impacts the overall character of your drink, but doesn’t get in your face”.

1 oz Tanqueray london dry gin

1 Oz Fresh Victor (Cactus Pomegranate)

4 oz Fever Tree Tonic

Aromatic bitters

Garnish with vanilla bean, All-spice berries, Dehydrated Lemon

The nose is immediately the charming, floral aromatics you’d expect from the gin.  Then slowly the baking spices express themselves.  Deep character layers and complexity.  A gush of tonic, then lingering vanilla and lemon.  

Definitely a gin drink for someone who’s not a gin fan as it showcases the best of gin without being overwhelming.

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Winter Spice Tonic

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Winter Spice Tonic

Love a standard gin drink?  Try Gin and Tonic with Fresh Victor’s Cucumber and Lime!

H. Ehrmann feels one the the reasons Fresh Victor is so popular is because people want to be able to make easy drinks at home that still have amazing flavor.

“I’ve taught cocktail classes for over ten years.  As much as students love it and geek out over cocktail details at the bar.  When they get home to their kitchen, they still prefer to have something easy.  That’s a huge part of when Fresh Victor is.”

One of the keys to Fresh Victor is adaptability.  The drinks are scalable and easy to experiment with.  Having more guests than expected?  Want stronger drinks?  No alc of low-alc drinks?

“The 2 things that show us down when drinking cocktails, alcoholic strength and bitterness.  Those are things that help us drag a cocktail out 10-20 minutes. Like, intentional speed bumps to keep you from drinking too fast.  So removing the alcohol from a recipe, removes that speed bump.  Adding more bitters, adds it back.  It helps a non-alco drink feel more like a cocktail.”

How did Fresh Victor launch and grow during the struggles of the pandemic?  Luck, hardwork and finding an audience that wants flavor.  H. Ehrmann explains: 

“Just before Covid, we decided to focus Fresh Victor on bars and restaurants.  So Covid hits.  We decided to re-package into a 16 oz bottle.  Within 6 weeks we had these bottles available in 7 states direct to consumer. Within 2 months, we had 48 states direct to consumer.  I shifted to selling cocktail kits from home and Fresh Victor was the perfect partner for me.  Take a liter of tequila and a 64 oz bottle of Mexican lime and agave, you can make 32 margaritas.  I was selling those kits like crazy.  People were re-ordering every other day.”

Figtorious Celebrations

2 oz of Fresh Victor (grapefruit and sea salt)

2 oz VSOP brandy

1 / 2 oz fig syrup

Try thinking of Fresh Victor less as a mixer or a juice and more as an ingredient.  Think of it as an ingredient where you can use as much or as little as you want to make a more complex drink.

Explore from a culinary point of view.  What other flavors mix?

Fresh Victor is all about experimenting.  Trying different flavors.  Adding spirits, garnishes and mixers that might not be traditional.

“All the ways you can use Fresh Vector.  I went through the lexicon of cocktails.  What can I make with lemon sour?  What can I make with Mexican Agave? Then I’d look at more unique flavor profile and ask myself what can I make with that?”

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Figtorious Celebrations

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Figtorious Celebrations

 

Fresh Victor Holidays Flavors

H. Ehrmann suggests a twist this cold, holiday season.  Think like a Hot Toddy. Simply warm up your Whiskey Sour, Lemon Drop, even your sangria.  Anything that would normally go with ice, this time heat it up warm and toasty.

 

Zayn Malik launches a custom Lychee Martini flavor, joins Mixoloshe as Chief Creative Officer and Co-Owner

Zayn Malik joins Mixoloshe as Chief Creative Officer and Co-Owner

The global superstar launches a custom Lychee Martini flavor, with a unique can design inspired by his own tattoos.

The fast-rising, award winning non alcoholic beverage brand, made with clean ingredients and nothing artificial will make its retail debut at Walmart, launching across the US with the retailer by end of October

Mixoloshe, a female founded and award winning non-alcoholic beverage brand, announces its partnership with celebrated award-winning artist and entrepreneur Zayn Malik, who has joined the company as the Chief Creative Officer (CCO) and Co-Owner. 

The partnership will center around reshaping the narrative of the non-alcoholic beverage industry, as well as deep creative collaboration on marketing initiatives and upcoming flavor launches. 

Additionally, Mixoloshe will launch in 500 Walmart stores across the country, marking the brand’s anticipated retail debut. 

Zayn’s first flavor launch is a non-alcoholic Lychee Martini, a refreshing and exotic drink, that is sweet, floral, and slightly tropical. The can design is also captivating and unique, featuring replica illustrations of his own most beloved tattoos.

Mixoloshe was founded in 2022 to redefine the booming non-alcoholic drink category with a clean, alcohol-free take on cocktails and premium spirits that taste like the real thing. 

Their collection offers a non-alcoholic range of popular cocktails, such as a Mojito, Old Fashioned, Gin & Tonic, and Margarita, as well as non-alcoholic Tequila, Whisky, and Gin, all made with real ingredients, and low in sugar, calories. 

 

Mixoloshe’s soft seltzers and non-alcoholic spirits have been recognized globally as best in class, and in 2023 they were honored with the Bartenders Spirits Gold Award, Ascot Award Gold for Taste, and the SIP Awards in Gold, Silver, and Bronze, to name a few. Their collection includes 8 canned non-alcoholic cocktail varieties, including the newly launched Lychee Martini flavor, and three bottled non alcoholic premium spirits.

 

“The non-alcoholic beverage market is ready for disruption, which can create immense growth potential. We see consumers already shifting preferences towards healthier and alcohol-free alternatives, which provides an opportunity for a brand like MIXOLOSHE to redefine this industry. I could not be more excited about the chance to make some noise in the category of non-alcoholic beverages and build one of the most talked about drinks in the world.” – Zayn Malik

 

“Zayn is a creative visionary both in music and beyond. His passion for innovation and his ability to captivate audiences will undoubtedly help us redefine the narrative around the non alcoholic beverage category, with a fresh perspective on making healthy lifestyle choices and living well, irrespective of your beverage preferences,” said Kristina Roth, MIXOLOSHE Founder and CEO. “I’m looking forward to working alongside him and shaping a future for this category where the glass is always half full of possibilities.”

Soft seltzers are available in a 12 pack, and retail for $29.99. Non-alcoholic spirits are available in a 750 ml bottle and retail for $29.99.

 For more information, please visit: mixoloshe.com.

Mixoloshe is a female-founded line of non-alcoholic seltzers and spirits that are formulated to taste and smell boozy without the booze. Whether you’re booze-free forever or just for the night, these drinks are the perfect inclusive answer to an age old question—what are we drinking? High in flavor and low in calories, MIXOLOSHE packs a party into every can of soft seltzer and bottle of non-alcoholic spirits. With a mission and ingredients that are anything but fake, the brand offers booze-free cocktail alternatives that taste like the real thing. Party tonight with no regrets tomorrow.

 

 

2023 NYC Halloween events: Check out the creepiest, craziest, tastiest (Updated)

Check out the creepiest, craziest, tastiest Halloween events in NYC.

It’s that time of year when NYC gets their haunted freak on.

Village Halloween Parade

Village Halloween Parade

1. The Village Halloween Parade

The Village Halloween Parade is NYC’s creative and spooky march in Greenwich Village and it’s coming back this year on Halloween, Tuesday, October 31.

Thousands of monsters, zombies, ghouls, witches take over the streets.  Whether you march or watch from the sidelines, don’t miss this iconic Halloween event, which is celebrating 50 years in 2023!

The Halloween Parade is a 0% tolerance for alcohol event.

2. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Since 2005, more than 2 million visitors have been delighting in this walk-through experience, where thousands of hand-carved pumpkins in elaborate displays light up the night. Now in two New York locations, in Westchester at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson and in Nassau County at Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Old Bethpage, this fun fall festival features larger-than-life installations, along with synchronized lighting, and an all-original soundtrack. It’s a magical, family-friendly experience for all ages.

Blaze is uniquely located at two National Historic Landmarks, providing hundreds of thousands of visitors the opportunity to experience these treasured sites and learn about the culture of the region.

Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest

Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest

3. Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest

Now in their 25th year in Fort Greene Park, and sponsored by Fort Greene PUPS, the Great PUPkin is Brooklyn’s largest and most outrageous dog costume contest. 

Scads of dogs enter and ruthlessly compete for the coveted Great PUPkin rosettes for the top pups!

And remember, your entry fee is a tax-deductible donation to Fort Greene PUPS, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization! Your receipt will serve for tax purposes. Thank you for your support!

After preregistering, you will receive a receipt, which you should print or bring on your phone to check in starting at 11:00 a.m. on the day of event.

IMPORTANT: If you do not check in at the registration table located at Monument Plaza (top of stairs) by 11:45 a.m., your entry will be forfeited. Judging of all entrants begins at the bottom of the monument stairs at 12pm sharp!

The PUPkin is FREE to attend – registration is ONLY required if your dog is competing in the contest!

Special Thanks to All Ears Veterinary and support from Bond Vet

Central Park’s Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla

Central Park’s Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla

4. Central Park’s Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla

Each year, Central Park hosts a Halloween celebration on the Harlem Meer that’s perfect for the entire family.

There are a  variety of children’s activities, including crafting, storytelling, scavenger hunts, and a spirited Halloween parade.

At twilight, a procession of illuminated jack-o’-lanterns is guided across the Harlem Meer by a whimsical witch or mischievous goblin.

Celebrate Halloween on Thursday, Oct. 26th by watching the Harlem Meer light up with floating pumpkins. Feel free to dress for the occasion! 

If you would like to see your own jack-o’-lantern floating in the parade, improve your chances by entering a pumpkin that is approximately 8 lbs. after its been carved up (include the lid – think the size of a soccer ball) and make sure you don’t use any decorations that are unnatural such as paint, glitter, marker, food dye, paper, or plastic. You don’t want to pollute the Harlem Meer or harm the wildlife. Candles and lights to illuminate the pumpkins will be provided. 

Stop by the information table between 4:00 and 5:30 at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Plaza with your masterpiece and they will let you know where to drop it off. Space on the float is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. 

You can reclaim your pumpkin at the conclusion of the flotilla at 7:00 PM. Pick-up is at the Harlem Meer Beach near Fifth Ave and E. 108th Street.

This event is FREE and weather permitting.

Halloween House at The Oculus

Halloween House at The Oculus

5. Halloween House at The Oculus

Halloween House is a completely immersive, one of a kind Halloween experience where you are transported to an all Halloween world.  Every one of our impeccably detailed, fully realized rooms is a different Halloween theme designed to make every Halloween lover’s experience unforgettable.

Visit the #1 ranked Halloween attraction for all ages!  If you love the decor of a haunted house, but don’t want the stress of being touched and scared, Halloween House is for you.  And if you do love haunted houses, you’ll love Halloween House too!

Halloween lovers unite! Our uniquely themed, fully immersive rooms include the one of a kind “Trick or Treat” Room, the “Glow in the Dark” Room, the Horror Movie Graveyard, our Vampires’ Lair, and more!

THE OCULUS 

185 Greenwich St, New York, NY 11006

(Main Level – in the corridor near Sephora)

You can get tickets at the Halloween House website; adult entry costs $40, while tickets for kids and under are set at $35. 

Dreams of Dracula: An Immersive Masquerade Experience

Dreams of Dracula: An Immersive Masquerade Experience

6. Dreams of Dracula: An Immersive Masquerade Experience

Step into the Dracula universe retold as an immersive vampire theatrical play. Walk through the darkness of Castle Dracula, meet The Virgin and the Vampire.

Two floors and four rooms of the 25,000 square foot venue offer a choose-your-own adventure style journey through the intricate details of Bram Stoker’s original classic vampire novel.

You may engage with Dark Romantics, Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Mary Shelley. Exchange a bon mot with Oscar Wilde in their famous salon, or step into the Alchemical Study of Sigmund Freud.

Be warned! Hypnosis, tarot readings, scary tales, darkness, flashing lights, thunder, and lightning will all be a part of this experience. You may be touched by our performers.

Attire Note: Your version of black tie is highly suggested on Friday and Saturday nights, but basic black will always get you in the door. For all other shows, all black attire is required for entrance.

Written and Directed by Jonathan Albert and Nicole Coady. Choreography by Arianne Meneses. Music composed by Dian Shuai.

Please find the digital program here.

The production opens on October 4 and runs through November 11 at Musica NYC in Hell’s Kitchen; previews begin September 22. Gothic and Victorian costumes are “very much encouraged,” event organizers say. 

Tickets start at $69 and are available for purchase here.

Pumpkin Nights at the Bronx Zoo

Pumpkin Nights at the Bronx Zoo

7. Pumpkin Nights at the Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo Pumpkin Nights, an ALL NEW nighttime family Halloween event, will take place on select evenings this fall! Follow an animal-themed illuminated jack o’lantern trail and learn about animal behavior after dark, plus enjoy games and treats.

Pumpkin Nights will feature gorgeous scenes of more than 5,000 illuminated pumpkins, together with atmospheric sounds and colored lights, to provide a festive family atmosphere as you follow a half-mile trail to holiday excitement right here in NYC.

Pumpkin Nights will debut on Thursday, September 28 and run Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sunday, October 29 from 6pm to 10pm.

Tickets for Pumpkin Nights range from $26.95-$36.95 for adults; kids’ tickets range from $24.95-$26.95 for kids. 

In addition to the new Pumpkin Nights, the Bronx Zoo will continue the tradition of Boo at the Zoo, which will return on Saturdays and Sundays, September 30 through October 29, plus Monday, October 9. 

Halloween Extravaganza and Procession of the Ghouls

Halloween Extravaganza and Procession of the Ghouls

8. Halloween Extravaganza and Procession of the Ghouls

The Cathedral’s beloved annual Halloween celebration returns for 2023! 

Following the film screening of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with live organ accompaniment, ghouls and goblins from the Mettawee River Theater Company emerge to scare and delight audiences. 

Mark your calendar for an evening of classic thrills, spooky chills, and autumnal spells!

Tickets are now available! 

Two viewings will be offered at 7 and 10 pm for the Halloween Extravaganza, with $40 tickets available on the cathedral’s website

Also on October 27 and 28, the cathedral’s famous Crypt Crawls will make their grand return from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm and from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm, guiding visitors down into the rarely-seen depths of the Gothic building. You will hear stories of the entombed and learn the origins of Halloween as a Celtic New Year celebration and later transformation into All Hallows Eve. Grab tickets for the guided tour here.  

NYBG's Fall-O-Ween at the Botanical Garden

NYBG’s Fall-O-Ween at the Botanical Garden

9. NYBG’s Fall-O-Ween at the Botanical Garden

Make NYBG your pumpkin headquarters this fall! The tricks and treats of the season come to life with plentiful pumpkins, gourds, and ghouls—and all sorts of fun-filled activities to celebrate this season of frights and foliage! Day or night, there’s something for everyone as we offer special weekends of pumpkin parades and pumpkin carving face-offs, as well as the return of our popular beer sampling weekend, Bales & Ales! Evening events give kids (and adults!) the chance to show off their Halloween costumes in New York City’s most beautiful landscape, while you can savor the flavors of the season with artisan demos, food and drink talks, and so much more as autumn in the Bronx brings vibrant color to your backyard.

While you’re here, don’t miss your opportunity to capture picture-perfect fall photos at the Reflecting Pool and on the adjacent lawn, where you’ll find hundreds of pumpkins and gourds of all shapes, sizes, and colors!

Tix and more info here – https://www.nybg.org/event/fall-o-ween/

"Hocus Pocus" at Rooftop Cinema Club

“Hocus Pocus” at Rooftop Cinema Club

10. Rooftop Cinema Club Halloween movies

Rooftop Cinema Club is screening rooftop movies this fall with a packed slate of films running all the way through October 31. 

Sip wine and eat vegan popcorn while watching classics like When Harry Met Sally, The Addams Family, Hocus Pocus and lots more this autumn. Tickets are on sale here.

October’s lineup include scary screenings such as Rosemary’s Baby, Paranormal, The Exorcist, The Shining, American Psycho and other cult classics as well as family favorites like Coco and Monsters, Inc. That all leads up to All Hallow’s Eve’s screenings of Hocus Pocus and Halloween.

For info and tix Rooftop Cinema Club

 

The Haunted Laboratory

The Haunted Laboratory

11. The Haunted Laboratory

Get in on the fun at The Drunken Laboratory, a bar in Brooklyn where you’ll wear lab coats and goggles for a night of sipping drinks and doing science. 

The bar’s Haunted Laboratory experience includes a ghostly drink menu, haunted decor and scare actors for a truly immersive experience

Tickets are on sale now starting at $45; the experience begins on September 22 in Bed-Stuy with dates running through the finale on Halloween night. 

Halloween Harvest at Luna Park

Halloween Harvest at Luna Park

12. Halloween Harvest at Luna Park

Experience Fall & Halloween themed activities during our 10th annual Halloween Harvest!  Halloween Harvest activities are FREE with your Wristband purchase, on our website or at our ticket booths, for park visits from September 22 through October 29.

The fun doesn’t stop there as we will be offering fall-flavored food items across popular dining options including Half Moon Food Court, Coney’s Cones and Salt & Sizzle. For all pumpkin-spice lovers, guests can indulge in Pumpkin Spiced Funnel Cake, Pumpkin Spiced Gelato,  Purple & Orange Halloween-themed Cotton Candy and more!

Halloween Harvest activities are FREE with Wristband purchases* valid for visits from September 22 through October 29.

The park’s Halloween celebrations kick off on September 22 and run through October 29 on weekday holidays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in Coney Island.

Pumpkin Point at Governors Island

Pumpkin Point at Governors Island

  1. Pumpkin Point at Governors Island

Pump­kin Point, Gov­er­nors Island’s annu­al free pump­kin patch and fall fes­ti­val, returns to Nolan Park for 2023! Vis­i­tors are invit­ed to pick out their own pump­kins (free with sug­gest­ed dona­tion) on the week­ends of Octo­ber 21 – 22 and Octo­ber 28 – 29, 2023, from 10am to 5pm. Come ear­ly in the day to make sure you have your pick of the pump­kin patch, and please lim­it pump­kins to one per per­son per household. 

Gov­er­nors Island food ven­dors will be on-site both week­ends with fall-themed food and drink avail­able for pur­chase, includ­ing Lit­tle Eva’s, Gov­er­nors Beer Co., Brigs Sweet Shop, El Toro Rojo, Deploy Cof­fee, Rosie’s Empanadas, and Fauzi­a’s Heav­en­ly Delights. 

Pump­kin Point is rain or shine. Please be advised, a large num­ber of vis­i­tors is expect­ed for Pump­kin Point, so leave extra time to board and ride the fer­ry. 

Click here for fer­ry sched­ules and tick­ets. 

Pump­kins left over from Pump­kin Point will be com­post­ed on Gov­er­nors Island by Earth Mat­ter, which runs a Com­post Learn­ing Cen­ter at the Urban Farm on Gov­er­nors Island.

14. Historical Hallowe’en Party

Happy Hallowe’en New York City! Get dressed in your Halloween best and come join us for our annual evening of hands-on games, spooky and silly stories, historical Hallowe’en crafts, and buckets of candy!

Have you ever heard of mourning jewelry? It was quite fashionable during the Victorian era. These sentimental keepsakes helped keep the memory of beloved family and friends close and included some unusual design elements, like real human hair! Learn more about this unique tradition and make a piece of mourning jewelry (with fake hair!) to take home. 

Discover the many ways clothing and accessories were used to show remembrance! Historical interpreters will share the meaning of their outfits, from widow’s caps and pins, to dress colors.

This is also the time of year Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is celebrated in Mexico and beyond by many families. Take part in this unique holiday by creating your own special offering to place on our communal ofrenda (altar). 

We’ll be playing Hallowe’en bingo, reading jack-o’-lantern stories, crafting costume accessories, and more!

For even more Halloween fun, expect hands-on games, Hallowe’en bingo, spooky stories, historical Hallowe’en crafts and buckets of candy.

This all-ages celebration at the Upper West Side museum runs from 4-6pm on Halloween night, Tuesday, October 31. Costumes are encouraged.

 

Scroll to top