The Hudson Standard, located in Hudson, New York, started from the desire to make high quality bitters and cocktail syrups, called shrubs, using ingredients almost entirely sourced from New York’s Hudson Valley.
We began in the summer of 2013 with our first two batches, Ginger Bitters and Pear Honey Ginger Shrub. We quickly found the demand greater than our production. Word traveled fast and we received some great early reviews (see links below).
So this year, with your interest and help, we can increase our production of both these products as well as adding 2 new flavors that we’ve been working on this winter. We’re planning to open the season with a Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub and a Spruce Shoot Bitters. Recently we had some friends over to our test kitchen to taste our Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub, and everyone agreed it was like a delightful taste of summer. Mixed with some dry vermouth and soda, it’s a refreshing tonic after a long winter. And last year we knew that we wanted to make a Spruce Shoot Bitters. Finally this May, we were able to harvest the shoots and start extracting in an organic grain alcohol we found from the Finger Lakes. We are planning to blend with some juniper and dandelion root that we’ve foraged to create a botanically sharp, citrusy and earthy bitters.
The $12,000 goal enables us to increase production of these four recipes to 5,000 for 2014. The money we raise will go to buying ingredients, plus the bottles, caps and labels. We need to buy more supplies such as wide-mouth carboys, kettles and packing supplies. We also need to hire at least one person to work in the kitchen this summer. And, finally, we will be able to finish our website so we can offer direct sales as well as find more retail outlets for our products.
FAQs So What is a Shrub?
The word shrub comes from the Arabic word “shrab” which means DRINK! In Colonial America, when people grew most of their own food, they would preserve the season’s fruit with vinegar and then sweeten it to make a super refreshing syrup. In those days, when mixed with a little water, it was a pleasantly hydrating beverage during a tough outdoor workday. These days, shrub mixed with seltzer is a flavorful and refreshing “adult” soda. And shrubs mixed with spirits can make complex and delicious cocktails.
Our method of making shrubs takes about two weeks before going into bottle. The fruit needs to infuse with vinegar and macerate with sweetener, and then it needs time to fully blend before bottling. We work in small batches that are done to taste every time.
What are Bitters?
Historically, bitters were used medicinally before they became popular in cocktails. Typically herbs, roots and other edible plants are steeped in alcohol to make a powerfully aromatic flavoring using just a few drops in cocktails, or more as a tonic. Bitters are also great in food recipes, like our Ginger Bitters with roasted beets and hazelnuts.
Bitters can take from 4 – 8 weeks to make as the ingredients need time to extract in the alcohol, before being strained, blended, and bottled.
Why the Hudson Valley?
We live here! We wanted a connection to the people who are growing our ingredients and a first-hand knowledge of the quality of what we are using. Around the world, there is a renewed interest in how our food is grown and we are really dedicated to sourcing the very best of what is available in our own backyard. It’s been a real blast to get to know the local farmers, both the young recent transplants and the multi-generational family farms that keep our soil rich. But farming isn’t the whole story. We don’t mind getting our hands a little dirty and foraging in the meadows and forests of the Hudson Valley.
What have we done so far?
As we mentioned, we started bottling our first batches in late summer of 2013. We christened our venture at the Hudson Farm and Flea event held the last weekend in November, and it was a great experience to see first hand what people thought of our products. We sold all we had! We then got a grant from the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation to aid us in developing our business plan that would provide a direction for us to move forward. This winter we worked hard to line up all our suppliers for this season, plus we spent a lot of time in the kichen on batch and recipe tests.
We’ve had some great early press and feel fortunate for the attention of such influential publications and tastemakers. Check it out:
What are our rewards?
We have a lot to choose from! You can buy a special kickstarter bottle of our Stawberry Rhubard Shrub, mailed directly to you, for $23. Or you can opt for our exciting private Farm to Glass Tour with Kelley Slagle for you and 5 friends or splurge on a special private dinner with the amazing chef Jeff Loshinsky in our test kitchen and beautiful 3rd floor gallery space in the heart of Hudson. There are a lot of pledge choices so hopefully there is something that fits what you would like. Plus check out the design for our t-shirt (note: it will be a cream colored shirt, like our label):
Who are we?
Marianne and Michael:
Hi, we are Marianne and Michael (and Percy). We moved from Brooklyn to Columbia County in 2000, right before our daughter was born. Ten years ago, we opened Hudson Wine Merchants. It’s been a fantastic experience and we love what we do. We caught the bug a couple of years ago to start a business making cocktail bitters and shrubs from locally sourced ingredients. We wanted to raise the bar on quality mixers in the midst of the current distilling boom in New York. We are so happy that The Hudson Standard is bringing us even closer to our community by working with various farmers, brainstorming with foragers and sharing with customers. Given our background in photography, writing and music, it’s been a great creative pursuit for us as well.
Hi, I’m Dave. I live in the Hudson Valley with my wife, two kids and dog, Willie. I have always had a passion for the outdoors, for nature; so getting to forage for ingredients for The Hudson Standard bitters recipes is a thrill. My family often assists me in sourcing ingredients, digging dandelions, foraging in the forests. My B.A. in archaeology with a focus in physical anthropology from Hampshire College has been critical for the scientific aspects of developing bitters recipes. In high school, I built an abandoned Christmas tree farm into a working vineyard. I also worked with a master beer brewer, while in college; and recently, have dabbled in distillation, making binh, the traditional rice wine of Vietnam. In my professional life I have been working in Internet marketing since 1998. During this time I have had the opportunity to assist several .com startups grow to profitability. Working with the Hudson Standard has brought all of these elements together to make this my dream job!
Hi, I’m Daniel. I was introduced to shrubs in early 2013, by a bartender friend. Being curious about traditional foods and preservation and always looking out for new cocktail ingredients, I had to try making my own batch. It was delightfully refreshing. I learned Marianne and Michael were starting a company to produce bitters and shrubs, and I had to jump on board. I’m really excited to help bring this simple, refreshing, and healthy way of thinking about beverages to the world. My favorite way of drinking a shrub is to just mix a couple ounces with some club soda. In my spare time I work in management consulting and help run a family goat dairy in Vermont.
Big thank you to Dan Estabrook for making our video. Dan is a dear friend and amazing artist. Thank you!
And to our friend Brad Robinson for making the music to the video. We love Brad and The Fuzzy Stones!
Huge thanks to John Isaacs design for the amazingly appropriate design of our label. We love the way our product looks as much as what is inside the bottle!
Risks and challenges
We are very confident we can fulfill every reward to our backers. We already have much of the stock of supplies needed. As soon as we reach our goal, we will be ready to get the rewards out as promised.
But with any ambitious project, there may be some delays in shipping as we work out the final supplies and numbers for this campaign. We don't anticipate any farm-related delays as things are growing and there have been no late frost issues this year. We think 2014 is going to be a great year!
- (30 days)