Beverage Disruptors | Food | Northern Express

Audacia Elixirs wants to change the way we drink
By Ross Boissoneau | March 12, 2022

Whether you’re the designated driver, January is dry, or you’re just taking a night’s rest, there are countless reasons to seek out alcohol alternatives. For those of us who avoid alcohol, the status quo has long been pop, water, or a blank daiquiri. If you’re sick of the same old, same old, Roman Albaugh and Loghan Call have you covered.

The two are partners in Audacia Elixirs, a new Traverse City company based on the idea of ​​creating non-alcoholic beverages “designed to rival the complexity, taste and presentation of a traditional cocktail.”

try something new
Albaugh, a mixologist by trade, owns the Bartending Company, an on-site beverage service. He had managed bar programs for numerous bars and restaurants in the Los Angeles area before returning to his hometown of Traverse City and starting the beverage service.

Four years ago, he received a call from local chef Loghan Call of Planted Cuisine, who was preparing a six-course dinner for a client. The kicker: the event had to be alcohol-free. “I made six soft drinks with his six dishes,” Albaugh says.

The two quickly became friends, and eventually, business partners. Albaugh had observed that those who chose not to drink alcohol had few options and sometimes even felt stigmatized. “Offers were slim to non-existent: lime club soda, maybe a syrupy mocktail, kombucha. I wanted to create a more inclusive environment.

They both saw an opportunity. “The zero-proof movement is taking off,” Call says. “There’s not much on the market here.”

Several years after their first collaboration, Audacia Elixirs was born. The onset of the pandemic had resulted in the loss of most business for Planted Cuisine and the Bartending Company, but there was a silver lining: it was the perfect time to start their new venture. In December 2021, the duo was set to pitch at TCNewTech…and they won the pitch night.

Focus on flavor
Now officially operational, Audacia Elixirs offers three zero-proof spirits. Albedo is citrus-based, with flavors derived from lemon and grapefruit, along with the sweetness of fenugreek. It also offers notes of juniper and fennel. Radici (meaning roots in Italian) blends dandelion, chicory, astragalus and burdock roots and includes cocoa, French oak and cinnamon. Baca (floral in Latin) is derived largely from hibiscus and rose, which give it its intense red-pink color, although the flavor of schisandra berry and linden are perhaps most important .

Albaugh says the three spirits are not meant to be drunk neat. One of his favorite ways to use albedo is, as he says, to go the margarita route, mixing it with ingredients like lime juice, orange juice, honey , grapefruit, mint or ginger, which will complete the slightly bitter and intense taste. flavor profile.

Fruit and herb recipes can be traced back to Call’s catering business, Planted Cuisine. It offers a variety of food-related services, from catered dinners to cooking classes to immersive farmer’s market experiences, all plant-based. Although he is happy to supply wine and other alcoholic beverages, he is excited about the increase in non-alcoholic beverage requests.

So did Albaugh, who took up the challenge. “I knew it would push my creative boundaries,” he says.

They are joined in the business by Call’s mother, Naomi, considered their “alchemist”. Owner of Alchemy Farms in Maple City, she is a clinically certified herbalist who has worked as a chef, certified nutritionist and teacher for over four decades. They combine their different knowledge bases to create spirits that offer the complexity of whiskey, gin, rum and other alcohol-based spirits.

Change the story
Albaugh says Audacia’s goal is really two-fold: first, to develop high-quality, zero-proof spirits, and second, to enable those who choose not to imbibe to do so without feeling like not to be part of the fun. .

“What we’re trying to change is the stigma around not drinking,” he says. He makes it clear that they’re not looking to demonize alcohol, but to make sure those who don’t drink have options that are both tasty and healthy. Albaugh says the three elixirs allow him to create tasty original drinks, rather than trying to imitate popular drinks with fake alcohol and creating so-called mocktails.

“Coming from the food world, trying to recreate meat products is a lost game. So we wanted to offer original products… with bold and complex flavor profiles,” says Call.

At this point, their zero-proof spirits are only available in a few locations. “They are on the menu at Cook’s House and Iron Fish. They’re good friends, and we want to work with those we know and get some feedback,” Call says. “By April, the plan is to enter as many local establishments as possible.”

They hope to eventually go the retail route and expand to other locations where alcoholic beverages are served. “We want to be in breweries and cellars. They don’t [typically] we have a lot of mixers, so we’ll be making pre-mixed cocktails,” says Albaugh.

Find inspiration for recipes, upcoming events and more information on their website and their Instagram @​​audaciaelixirs.

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