The “black negroni” and scratching the entrepreneurial itch

Entrepreneurial-Itch

Lately I’ve been doing some reading on entrepreneurship and my particular favorites are Choose Yourself by James Altucher and Anything You Want by Derek Sivers.

Both books are written by guys who have founded and sold companies for millions.

And both emphasize a similar point: starting a business isn’t about making money; it’s about helping people.

Here are three great examples from the world of cocktail entrepreneurship:

————————–

Shoots and roots

Problem: the production and composition of bitters have long been shrouded in mystery.

Solution: three ethnobotanists combine their knowledge of indigenous plants and advanced chemical analysis techniques to bring thoughtful, never-before-available flavors to cocktail enthusiasts.

Kickstarter (ENDS this Thursday!)

————————–

Bar 40 Bitters

Problem: you try a recipe at home and it needs “something more” but you’re not sure what to add.

Solution: a line of for bitters labeled simply “sweet,” “salt,” “sour,” and “umami”

————————–

The 86 Co

Problem: fancy liquor bottles look pretty, but are a pain to actually pour from behind the bar.

Solution: ergonomic bottles, designed by bartenders, for bartenders. Oh, and they come filled with pretty classy hooch too.

————————–

In Other News

So over this past Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s break, I slowly moved in to Richmond, VA. During that painstaking process, there were times when I only had access to a few bottles from my bar.

One night, I found myself with gin, Campari, and Averna handy, so I created what I will dub the “Black Negroni,” playing off the yummy black manhattan. I’m sure someone out there has already created this drink, but I didn’t find any mentions after a quick search, so here goes:

Black Negroni

1.5 oz gin (I used plymouth, but any gin you like in a Negroni should suffice)

1.5 oz Averna

1.5 oz Campari

2 dashes each Angostura and Regan’s Orange Bitters.

Stir and Strain into a coupe glass or over a large rock.

I’m sure this drink would have been vastly improved by a orange peel garnish, but I didn’t have one handy. For an off-the-cuff incredibly simple libation, this actually turned out very delicious and I’m itching to create one at the next opportunity.

I’m also itching to follow in the footsteps of other cocktail entrepreneurs and create a business of value. So, that brings me to the question:

What cocktail-related problem do you wish a business would solve?

[lead image adapted from bar40bitters, Shoots and Roots, and The86Co]

9 Comments

  1. Rafa January 7, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    I made a Black Boulevardier based on your (delicious) Negroni variant and called it No Loitering. Very nice! Have you tried the Bar 40 Bitters? I’ve often found myself wanting something similar (well, not “sweet;” that’s simple enough to take care of), but I haven’t tried their products myself.

    I have many ideas for products and services that I think there’s a demand, or at least a need, for on a large-ish scale, but I don’t know if “bring back x liqueur” is too narrow of a focus for your question, or whether “lobby to make on premise distillation legal” is too broad.

    Somewhat relatedly, have you seen this?: http://productsofdesign.sva.edu/critter-bitters-insect-based-cocktails-from-julia-plevin-and-lucy-knops/
    Though that company is perhaps less entrepreneurial than mission-based, with the mission being “normalizing entomophagy through cocktails,” i.e., getting people to think it’s cool to eat bugs.

  2. Kevin January 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Rafa,

    I had not seen critter bitters – very cool!

    Really I’m game for anything, but I don’t think I’m going to try to make an alcoholic product like a liqueur, and I think tackling legislation is more a lobbying thing than something that’s directly addressed through a product or a service?

    I’m leaning toward doing a curated glassware pack – what do you think?

  3. Mary Margaret February 8, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Hi ~ I love your blog. I can tell you are a very compassionate person.
    I found you looking for a Tonic recipe.
    The big thing that needs help is the soda stream recipes.
    Soda stream is hot, Super Bowl commercial fell flat but their product is great.
    With every one dropping sugar and artificial sweeteners we need healthy recipes.
    You should team up with Soda Stream and put out a book.
    I like to drink Tonic and Grapefruit juice but SS mix that comes with the machine is terrible.
    I need a healthy Mountain Dew for my son.

    You need to monetize your blog and Soda Stream should be your first product.
    Then you package the bark it is so hard to find.
    Link to Amazon and they can sell it for you, everyone loves Amazon and their customer will pay more. I sell on Amazon and they are a fair company.
    Thank you and good luck with your ventures.
    Mother Mary

  4. Kyle March 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    Welcome to Richmond! I’ve been reading your book and spotted your name on an article about top 5 places to drink in RVA, written before The Rogue Gentlemen opened I’m guessing, had to confirm you were local. If you’re ever in need of a fellow cocktail nerd to test out some experimens I’d be happy to.

    The problem: There’s no web/phone app for the cocktail enthusiast community.

  5. Kyle March 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    Welcome to Richmond! I’ve been reading your book and spotted your name on an article about top 5 places to drink in RVA, written before The Rogue Gentlemen opened I’m guessing, had to confirm you were local. If you’re ever in need of a fellow cocktail nerd to test out some experiments I’d be happy to.

    The problem: There’s no web/phone app for the cocktail enthusiast community.

    • Kevin March 1, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

      Hey Kyle,

      Pleased to make your acquaintance. Will have to check out Rogue Gentlemen – you’re right, they were not around when I wrote that article (I had actually drafted it last year, but we were waiting for after the holiday rush to release it).

      What specifically do you mean as a web app for the cocktail enthusiast community? Something like kindred cocktails?

      Kevin

  6. Rafa March 1, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    On iPhone there’s BarNotes for posting and sharing cocktails, a la Kindred. There’s also Bartender’s Choice, a recipe ‘book’ by Sam Ross of Milk & Honey (and now Attaboy).

  7. Kyle March 17, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    Ok, I’ll have to look into BarNotes. I’m familiar with Kindred but I struggle with it.

    In other news, I just picked up 2 cases of booze in NY that I can’t find in VA. I’m stuck up here while the mid Atlantic is under ice and snow and in a pinch put together another Negroni variant from unusual ingredients that is also very much black…

    1.5oz Bols Genever
    1oz Casoni 1814
    1oz Bitter Truth XLR
    2d Scrappy’s Orange bitters

    It’s MUCH smoother than your normal negroni but slightly more complex. This is for people, and there are a few, that have nightmares about campari.

  8. Kristin Wingfield March 27, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    I used to live in The Fan area of Richmond and it was a cool town. Im now in Atlanta and am such an enthusiast for craft cocktails that I just started my own business manufacturing and producing small batch bitters, syrups, tinctures and shrubs. I love your blog… if you ever need some material on new drink recipes, just ask. Id be happy to share some of my secret recipes for craft cocktails and Id love to send you some our product to try as well. We have some pretty unique flavors!
    http://tinyurl/com/1821bitters

Post Comment

shared on wplocker.com