I’ve been creating do-it-yourself cocktail bitters kits for several years now. They range from simple, pre-mixed kits to elaborate collections of herbs and glassware that are like chemistry kits for home bartenders. I’ve added a number of mixer kits for gin & tonic, martinis, and tiki drinks. Along the way, I’ve launched a handful of Kickstarters that you helped to make successful. So far, all of these products have been focused on fancy drinks with bitter flavors and complex recipes.
My new project is about having fun with flavoring your drinks. I want to launch a new line of infusion kits with intriguing and delicious flavor combinations. They’ll be easy to make, be made of tasty, all-natural herbs and dried fruits, and, best of all, can be alcohol-free (though they’ll also make wonderful spirit infusions!). They even come with a sturdy Mason jar to make and store the infusion.
Each kit contains three packages of infusion ingredients – each of which is enough to make a quart of infused spirits. Most of the kits are intended for use with vodka, but some are specifically designed for use with other alcohols such as rum, whiskey, and tequila.
Zero alcohol infused syrups
Use my kits to create low- or zero-alcohol infusions. Add the contents of the kit to a saucepan along with water and a sweetener and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Allow the mixture to cool and then strain it into a clean jar. Close the jar tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The mixture may also be frozen. I suggest filling an ice cube tray with the infused liquid, freezing it, and adding a cube to your drink.
I’ve already spent several months experimenting with mixtures of different infused herbs, spices, and fruits and have come up with 18 different exciting flavors. For the initial goal on this Kickstarter, we’re going to offer six flavors. If there’s enough interest, I’ll add the next group of six flavors, and if there’s a lot of interest, maybe all 18 will be available to choose from.
- Cherry & Chocolate – Tart freeze-dried cherries with roasted cacao beans, like chocolate covered cherries
- Strawberry & Marshmallow – Sweet freeze-dried strawberries with marshmallow root (yes that’s a real plant and where the original marshmallow flavor comes from)
- Spiced Rum – Cloves, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and bitter orange peel
- Lavender & Honey – Fragrant French lavender with California wildflower honey
- Sarsaparilla Whiskey – Sweet and herbal, similar to an old-fashioned root beer
- Vanilla & Tangerine – A blend of dried tangerine peel and freeze-dried tangerine slices with natural vanilla flavor
Stretch Goal - $1500 - Group 2
- Elderflower & Lemon – Floral and citrusy, with a blend of lemon verbena, lemon balm, and lemon peel along with dried elderflowers
- Omani Lime & Turmeric – Rich, earthy turmeric mingles with Omani limes (tiny limes with a big flavor – brined and dried to a dull brown but don’t let looks deceive you – they are packed with flavor)
- Toasted Coconut Rum – Forget rums that taste like sunscreen, this is reminiscent of a certain Barbados rum with natural flavors of toasted coconut, caramel, vanilla and molasses
- Apricot & Dandelion – A sweet and slightly bitter infusion with dried apricot chunks and roasted dandelion root that makes an excellent soft drink
- Grapefruit & Hops – Featuring our Cascade hops and grapefruit peel, it tastes like a citrusy IPA
- Rose & Cucumber Gin – Light and refreshing, it features dried rose petals and freeze-dried cucumber slices
Stretch Goal - $2500 - Group 3
- Pineapple & Passionfruit – Freeze-dried pineapple and passionfruit – makes a tasty vodka or an excellent syrup for tiki drinks
- Hibiscus Cordial – Like the Agua de Jamaica at your favorite taqueria, with hibiscus flowers, cinnamon, and allspice berries
- Black Powder – A blend of gunpowder green tea, jasmine green tea, and black pepper for a spicy kick
- Ginger Peach – Featuring freeze-dried peaches and dried ginger root, great for vodka or bourbon
- Chipotle Lime Tequila – Excellent for spicy shots or mixed drinks, it includes chipotle chilies, freeze-dried limes, and tamarind for sweetness
- Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler – Tastes just like the cobbler my mom used to make, this infusion has freeze-dried strawberries and rhubarb, cinnamon, and toasted oats
Each kit will contain three identical bags of ingredients packaged in our commercial kitchen. The bags are heat-sealed to keep their contents fresh. The bags are then packed in Ball Mason jars for further protection. Wrapped around each jar is a list of ingredients and a set of simple directions.
Where possible, I’ll include freeze-dried fruit in the kits. Freeze drying preserves the color and flavor of the fresh fruit much better than air drying. It’s more time consuming and the equipment is expensive, but the results are worth it. However, this does mean that some of our flavors will be available in limited in numbers. Because not all types of fruit are available commercially freeze-dried, we’ve had some specialty fruits such as rhubarb, cucumbers, and sour cherries freeze-dried locally using regional produce. Once we’ve run out of our stock of freeze-dried fruits, we won’t be able to restock until the next growing season. Early backers will have first pick of flavors and if we run out a flavor you picked, you will have the option of waiting until we can make more or choosing a different flavor.
Herbs and spices
I already have on hand a large stock of dried herbal ingredients that we use to fill our cocktail bitters kits. We go through our stock quickly and order often, so our ingredients are fresh and flavorful.
Our lavender and honey flavor features honey from Pendell Mountain Apiaries, a honeybee breeder in the foothills of the Sacramento Valley. Unlike migratory bees that are trucked from state to state to pollinate various crops, these bees collect nectar from a variety of California wildflowers all summer, lending the honey a rich, full bodied flavor and texture. Sampler packs will include honey sticks from a different California apiary.
You’ll have the option of getting the kits singly or in pairs and boxed either in a plain cardboard box or in a glossy black box suitable for gift-giving (extra $1 each). The jars fit snugly in the boxes, making for secure, efficient shipping (we’ll wrap the black gift boxes in padded envelopes to protect them). All of the packaging is recyclable and the mason jars can be reused for everything from pickled peppers to party lights. Sampler packs will ship in a padded envelope.
Risks and challenges
The risks for this project are pretty low. We’ve already developed the flavors, created the packaging and artwork, and have a large portion of the ingredients and components on hand. All of the production will be in-house so there will be no waiting for outside manufacturing. There is a risk of running out of certain ingredients like the freeze dried cherries so early backers will have first choice of flavors. Barring unforeseen disasters, there shouldn’t be any problem with delivering packages in time for the Holidays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (18 days)