This Fourth of July weekend, look no further than to Cocktail Crate for easy party cocktail mixers and an all-American small business success story.
The Queens-based company got its start on Kickstarter a year and a half ago and can now be found in approximately 80 stores across nine different states. The flavors, Smoky Hops, Spiced Old Fashioned, Ginger Bee, Lavender Bloom, and the brand new Sriracha Margarita, all mix effortlessly with the spirit of your choice in a 1:1 ratio.
Formerly working as a consultant, founder Alex Abbott Boyd “loved going to all the bars, the speakeasies, making cocktails at home, and having a great time learning about all of these drinks.”
Alex quit his job and launched the craft mixer company through Kickstarter funding, which allowed him to do the first production run. The original label was designed by an illustrator friend. The bottles are still produced by Alex and another friend who work anywhere from 1-3 days a week out of the Organic Food Incubator in Long Island City "dicing ingredients, squeezing juices, putting it in the bottle, getting callouses from screwing on all of the caps."
Food Cellar in Long Island City was the first to carry the product in its stores. "They said 'Are you local and are you all-natural? I'll take four cases.' and that was my first sale," said Alex. Astoria Bier and Cheese on Broadway was the third to carry the product, also saying they would give him a shot because he was local.
The purpose of the mixers is to simplify the cocktail making process by putting all of the steps with syrups and juices into one bottle. The bottles have a shelf life of up to a year (though they should be refrigerated after opening). The ingredients are all fresh juices and all-natural ingredients, including honey from New York farms, and lavender from the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm on Northern Blvd.
"A huge part of the vision is democratizing quality drinks," said Alex of the company. Cocktail Crate cuts back on the expense and complexity of making special cocktails, and the original recipes and thoughtful ingredients provide a higher quality product than the typical powders and corn-syrup sweetened mixers familiar to most people.
"It tastes not like a compromise," said Alex.
Alex recommends the Smoky Hops for bourbon pairing, as well as the Ginger Bee and Spiced Old Fashioned (in a smaller ratio to the bourbon than the other mixers). On the Cocktail Crate website, he has a recipe for a twist on a Mint Julep using the Spiced Old Fashioned, the Desert Julep.
For more information, recipes, and a list of where to buy the products, visit cocktailcrate.com . Photo provided by Cocktail Crate.