Charles Joly Bottles the Art of Bartending With Crafthouse Cocktails

By Sarah Freeman  |  July 25, 2013

It started with a simple problem: the desire for craft cocktails at home but the inability to achieve the same balance as a bartender. Two years ago, Mixologist Charles Joly, James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Bar Program at The Aviary and recently named Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail, and Matt Lindner, partner in Three Headed Productions that owns The Drawing Room, decided to come up with a solution.

Crafthouse Cocktails is a line of premium-bottled cocktails. Each bottle contains no more than five ingredients - five of the best ingredients such as fresh juices, organic ginger beer, mint imported from France and pure cane sugar. The process of getting these ingredients into the bottles was not easy. “It started with me making the cocktail in my kitchen,” Joly said. Then the produce was sent to a food scientist in California to make the product shelf-stable. “We were willing to accept a shelf-life and refrigerate after opening,” Joly said in exchange for making zero compromises in terms of quality.

The custom-designed bottles are filled in a cider house in Canada. This was the only location Joly and Lindner could find that understood how to work with the delicate carbonation of the fresh product. The first two verities of the cocktail hit Binny’s shelves tomorrow - the gin-based Southside and vodka-based Moscow Mule. Tequila Paloma will be the next cocktail available, with limited releases such as Manhattans, the cocktail that inspired the project, further down the road. Goddess & the Grocer and Olivia’s Market will also sell the product at $19.99 per bottle.

“The one thing this opened up is the ability to take a cocktail with you,” Lindner said. These bottles of cocktails act as an alternative to beer at a BBQ or a bottle of wine at BYOB restaurants. Each cocktail can served straight form the bottle over ice with a garnish of fresh mint or sliced lime. They may not have the complexity of a creation at The Drawing Room or The Aviary, but Crafthouse Cocktails have the drinkability of something that can be a home-bar staple year-round.