Boozy Botanicals raises the bar for homemade cocktails.
Who doesn’t love a fancy cocktail? There’s nothing better than walking into your favorite watering hole and ordering a sophisticated drink with a complex mix of ingredients.
Recreating that experience at your house, though, can feel impossible unless you’ve got half a day and a home bar that looks like a chemistry lab.
That’s why Cheryl Bisbee started Boozy Botanicals, a lineup of organic syrups that laypeople can use to make their own stylish drinks. She sells six different flavors—including a rosemary-mint and a spicy pepper blend—at about a dozen local shops and boutiques.
“I’m trying to bring something that’s not easily attainable to the home bar,” said Bisbee, a lawyer by training who most recently served as in-house counsel for H&R Block.
Bisbee sold her first bottle of Boozy Botanicals in September 2015, but she’s been working on the project about two years.
She felt the pull to own her own business for a while. She originally thought she would end up buying an existing company, but as a longtime foodie who loves to experiment in the kitchen, she began making infused cocktails at get-togethers for friends.
That was the start of Boozy Botanicals.
“I just started playing around with it,” Bisbee said. “People just started liking it, and I was enjoying it, coming up with (the syrups).”
WHAT GOES INTO BOOZY BOTANICALS
It takes about four to five hours to make a batch of Boozy Botanicals syrup. Bisbee combines water, sugar and the dry ingredients—rose petals, for example—and heats the mixture up so infusion occurs, then strains out the (now not quite as) dry ingredients.
She works out of a local commercial kitchen, which assists with the process, but she’s still an active part of production.
“This is my product,” Bisbee said. “I want to make sure it’s delicious every time.”
The sugar used to make the syrups is organic, and whenever possible, Bisbee buys from local sources. For example, she produces a lavender-Earl Grey syrup that incorporates tea from Hugo Tea Co. in North Kansas City.
As she has developed Boozy Botanicals, Bisbee has avoided fruit flavors and pursued less conventional tastes instead. She got the idea for her rosemary-mint syrup, one of her most popular flavors, from her own garden. The River Market Rose was inspired by roses on sale at City Market.
“I think people’s tastes and what they’re wanting are getting a little more elevated, a little more sophisticated,” especially among Millennials, Bisbee said.
People who aren’t big cocktail drinkers can still enjoy Bisbee’s products. Some customers like to pour the syrup over ice cream, include it in their baking or mix it with club soda.
While the home market is important, Bisbee is mulling over a second line that could serve restaurants, hotels and other business clients. She also believes her product could win a national following in higher-end retail chains and liquor stores.
“I really want to ramp up my distribution,” Bisbee said.
Until then, it’s still a thrill for her to see her bottles on local store shelves.
“Every time I get a new retailer,” she said, “I do a little dance.”