As you take your first sip of a drink made with a Cocktail Crate mixer, you enter a world of fresh ingredients, one-of-a-kind combinations and hours of dedication that bring the term “hand-crafted” to a new extreme.
Cocktail Crate is the creation of 24-year-old Queens native Alexander Abbott Boyd, who started off working as a management consultant, yet after one year decided that life was not for him.
“I was absolutely not enjoying it,” said Abbott Boyd, who then took his love for beverages and knowledge of the industry and came up with the Long Island City handcrafted mixers.
For Abbott Boyd, the secret to great mixers is sourcing the best ingredients.
“When I get really passionate about a beverage, I love taking trips to meet the people and production methods behind it,” he said. “During college, I rode my bike from Chicago to Kalamazoo, Michigan just to visit one of my favorite breweries and see how they were making such great beer. Last year, I visited Darjeeling, India so I could learn more about tea cultivation and production as well as organic farming. These trips gave me a real appreciation for good ingredients, and now I incorporate both teas and hops into my mixers.”
After deciding to leave his consulting position, Abbott Boyd took to Kickstarter last November, a crowd funding website that connects creative and entrepreneurial projects with potential backers.
“Kickstarter allowed me to test how others would react to my vision for cocktail mixers handmade with fresh ingredients,” he said. “After getting positive feedback from about 80 people, I decided to go for it and start turning Cocktail Crate into a real company.”
By February, Cocktail Crate was on the move and mixers were being produced, bottled and sold. The line of mixers are made by Abbott Boyd and his roommate Louis Songor at the Organic Food Incubator, a Long Island City based kitchen that hosts close to 30 developing and established food companies.
Coming up with flavors involves spending hours in the kitchen surrounded by all possible ideas, inviting friends to come over and give feedback and then fine tuning the ratios of different ingredients. Once a recipe is perfect, Abbott Boyd heads to the incubator where after a day of dicing, boiling, bottling, and hand labeling the mixers are ready to be carried to store shelves.
“I think it’s a lot of where the good flavor comes from,” said Abbott Boyd about the hand-crafted method. “The flavors are original and reflect my personal interests. And knowing that they were a part of someone’s fun night with friends is wonderful. It’s a really rewarding job!”
Presently, Cocktail Crate features three distinct flavors: the honey and ginger combination of “Ginger Bee;” the pine smoked tea with floral citrus of “Smoky Hops;” and the cinnamon and orange peel of “Holiday Old Fashioned.”
With spring in bloom, Abbott Boyd will be replacing “Holiday Old Fashioned” with a zest more in tune with the season. He hopes to have the new flavor available in the weeks to come that will include jasmine tea along with fresh lavender from the Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farm in Long Island City.
Cocktail Crate is available at about 20 different stores in New York City, including Food Cellar and Communitea in Long Island City, and Astoria Beer and Cheese. You can also shop for these innovative mixers at cocktailcrate.com.
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