I have been really excited about some of the new products we've brought into the shop since October. I've tried a lot of different avenues and styles of product listings. For example, when I first opened I really focused on jewelry and beauty - our brick and mortar is connected to a salon, afterall, so it made good sense to me. However, the people have spoken, and it seems like you guys really enjoy our witchcraft, practical supplies, books, and herbal goods!
Still, ever the innovative adventurer, I continue to dive into products that make ME excited. And such is the answer to the unasked question, "Minta, why did you decide to stock the Alkemista?"
The Alkemista Infusion Vessel by Ethan+Ashe spoke to me of limitless potential. You may not know, however both my business partner and myself were once fine dining bartenders. Although, admittedly, he's always been a better alchemist and bartender than I have. Nevertheless, when I first saw this glass and copper infuser, I was sold. It seemed really smart and easy to use, I have been stuck inside and miss going to bars and drinking craft cocktails, and it just looked nice.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time eliciting the same response from other people - not because they didn't think it was a good idea, but because they genuinely couldn't understand from looking at it how it worked. I recall one mentor of mine saying quite bluntly, "I have no idea what I'm looking at right now, but I'm glad you're excited."
This did not sway from stocking the Alkemista. Instead, I realized that I would have to SHOW people how to use it. To me, it has limitless potential. What to make a cocktail - easy. Interested in infusing medicinal herbs into a wintery magic blend - simple. Feel like bringing back the age old art of magical potion making - never a better time than when you're stuck in your house for a year.
And so, I just needed to show people how it worked. Over the next few weeks I will be testing each of the infusion herbal blends, and giving my very official former bartender opinion on the results! I also am considering creating a course around using it for herbal magic, but that's still to be decided. (If it's something you'd be interested in taking, drop a comment below.)
Without Further Ado, I present...
The Alkemista Report - Black Denim
Ok, being honest here, I did not read the package for the infusion herbs and recommended alcohol before buying. I glance at our options, saw bitters, and ended up grabbing a fancy Teeling small batch whiskey. Mainly because, I like whiskey. After ordering my alcohol, only then did I realize that the bitters blend was more specifically intended for overproofed whiskey, and might actually be a bad paring. So, I ended up with Black Denim instead.
Black Denim is a mix of clove, vanilla, orange peel, and spice. Definitely a fantastic start, but there are ways to get anything wrong. Alkemista also boasts that it can only take a few hours - I was skeptical. I recalled leaving alcohol infusing overnight in the past, but I decided to put it to the test and give it only 3 hours and then try it again in 48 hrs.
The way it works: The bottom comes off of the Alkemista, and it has sort of this little tea infuser unit that unscrews. You fill that up with your herbs, and replace the screw on bottom - tightly. Then just pour the alcohol into the top and "gently agitate" before leaving it be. So, that's exactly what I did! It makes fun bubbles when you agitate it.
Skeptics be warned - it actually works really quickly. My partner and didn't even wait 3 hours before pouring our first sip. It definitely had already begun working - I could taste the vanilla and clove, and it had a really lovely flavor reminiscent of 1960s cocktails that I'd made in the past. We added a little ice and a drop of seltzer, and it was just incredibly smooth. So much so that, admittedly, I got a little more buzzed than I had planned in the outset, but such are the perils of this work.
Two days after the initial infusion, the flavor is strong, and it definitely gives an even deeper nuance. I added more soda upon this taste test, and frankly it made me think of old fashioned medicinal colas. There wasn't any sugar added, but the vanilla genuinely made it taste sweet. I'm a fan.
For an introduction to the Alkemista, I give this a solid 10/10, would recommend. It was easy to use, and this particular flavor made whiskey really approachable. I would be surprised if even less adventurous drinkers had an issue enjoying this particular cocktail.
Next week, let's finally try the bitters....