Mix It Up
Sometime in the middle of the Egyptian protest, while doing management consultant for potato chip factories in Cairo, Alex Abbott Boyd decided that what he really wanted to do was make cocktail mixers. And with funding from Kickstarter and a sale on Fab.com this week, plenty of people are happy he came to that decision.
Cocktail Crate offers a trio of all-natural, primarily organic mixers: Ginger Bee (fresh ginger, New Jersey wildflower honey, organic cloves), Smoky Hops (smoked tea, Cascade hops), and Holiday Old Fashioned (cassia and Ceylon cinnamons, turbinado sugar, allspice, and fresh orange peels). After a day spent boiling and bottling over 400 bottles at The Organic Food Incubator in Long Island City, Queens, Abott Boyd sat down with us for some happy hour talk.
How did you come up with the plan for Cocktail Crate?
The idea stemmed from noticing a gap in what was available. I love to go out to all the speakeasies in the city, but I also like to have people over. To serve even two drinks to a bunch of friends is super hard if you’re going to make syrups and squeeze juices, and at the same time, most of the mixers that were out there were just filled with high-fructose corn syrup. Basically there was nothing that would make serving great drinks really easy for people.
The bottles are really vintage-looking. Where did you find the design?
I had a contest on 99designs; however the winning design was a very last minute entry by one of my friends. In the 50s, the type of crates that food came in had these really great posters, so she took that for inspiration.
What alcohol do you recommend with each mixer?
When I designed them I had one liquor in mind for each one, but I quickly discovered—from doing samplings and sending them out to people—that they’re actually super varied. I designed the Ginger Bee for dark rum, with a Dark & Stormy in mind. But people have been telling me that whiskey, Apple Jack, and Pimms are great. Smoky Hops I designed with vodka in mind, which in retrospect is the least good. It’s much better with gin or whiskey. And the Holiday Old Fashioned is definitely a bourbon or rye.
Are you working on any new mixers right now?
I’m thinking up something that is very springy: lavender, cardamom, maybe a little honey, and chamomile. All the other ones go really great with whiskey, which I think is an inadvertent consequence of me loving whiskey, so I’m hoping that the new flavor will go with lighter spirits, too.
While we’re waiting on your new mixer, any recommendations for a spring cocktail recipe?
Anything with St. Germaine—I’ve heard it referred to as bartender’s ketchup, because you can put a little into most drinks and make them taste great.
A lot like you can put ketchup on things and make them taste great. St. Germaine and mint and lime juice. I also love the Southside as a good spring cocktail.
How to create the Southside at home:
2 oz. gin
3 to 4 oz. soda water
1 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 mint sprigs + 1 for garnish
Muddle the bottom four ingredients before adding the gin. Shake well, and pour over ice. Add soda water, garnish, and serve.
Cocktail Crate’s mixers retail for approximately $15 at various locations around the city, including Eli’s Manhattan and Gourmet Guild, Williamsburg, cocktailcrate.com.
By Allison Malecha
Photos courtesy of Cocktail Crate