IN THE SPIRIT FEATURING: Chris Wirth, Founder @americancocktailco @drinkvolley

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:

I'm a born and raised New Yorker and recent transplant to Charleston, South Carolina. I started American Cocktail Co. about 7 years ago out of my parents home kitchen with Massi, our mixologist, coming up with the amazing recipes. I had no experience in food and beverage or product manufacturing, but when I tasted Massi's cocktails I knew they were different than anything I had tasted before. I started the company as a late night hustle with the goal of making that amazing quality of drink accessible to other bars and consumers in their own homes. Every component was hand squeezed and bottled by yours truly (not by choice but simply out of budgetary constraints! We couldn’t afford to pay anyone). American Cocktail Company can today be found behind the bar of numerous restaurants in the USA, Italy, and Spain and high-end retailers including Whole Foods, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Bloomingdales and has a thriving cocktail of the month community thanks to your support. Over the years, my hangovers have gotten worse and I found myself avoiding sugar more and more. My wife, Camila, and I started drinking tequila sodas as our go-to drinks for the lack of sugar and lower likelihood of a bad hangover. That’s about when these spiked seltzers started appearing everywhere. We asked ourselves what was in these low calorie, low sugar drinks? Turns out alcohol companies aren’t required to share ingredients or nutritional facts! The ones that do list mysterious ‘natural flavors’ and fermented cane sugar as their ingredients. From my experience, I know that ‘natural flavors’ are the food industry’s dirty secret and can have up to 100 ingredients in them. We wanted nothing to do with them and decided we could do spiked seltzer the right way. We put every lesson we’ve learned over the past few years to work to build Volley, the cleanest spiked seltzer available. The recipes were developed in our home kitchen just like our mixers, not in a lab. We brought it to life with the world’s best branding team at Red Antler and partnered with the non-profit Leave No Trace to support a cause that we’re passionate about – the outdoors. Volley is about transparency, authenticity, and fun. We list our ingredients in large letters on the front and the back of the can along with our nutritional facts. We chose 3 ingredients for our product: premium 100% agave blanco tequila from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, sparkling water, and organic juice – that’s it. I get enjoyment from creating high quality products that play a part in the fun parts of your day. This box is an assortment of all of those products. I hope you enjoy it and share it with friends and family. Cheers.
 

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT PROJECTS?

My most recent project is Volley, our wholesome tequila seltzer in a can. We cannot wait to share our new product with our amazing American Cocktail Club subscriber community. This has been a labor of love for the past year and we can't wait to hear your feedback. 

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE YOU HAVE COME UP WITH USING AN ACC PRODUCT? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT? 

My favorite recipe I have come up with using an ACC product is the Sparkling Mango & Spice! It’s a refreshing balance of mango, lime, and jalapeño with just the right amount of carbonation. This is a recipe I came up with by combining our new organic Mango Jalapeno Mixer with tequila and topping it off with a Volley Zesty Lime spiked seltzer. Here is the recipe below:

1.5 oz tequila
1.0 oz Organic Mango Jalapeno Mixer
3.0 oz Volley Zesty Lime Spiked Seltzer
Garnish with a lime wheel

Add tequila and Organic Mango Jalapeno Mixer to shaker. Add ice and shake well. Pour into collins glass over fresh ice. Top off with Volley Zesty Lime Spiked Seltzer and stir once to mix. Garnish with lime wheel.

 

WHEN YOU ARE COMING UP WITH NEW DISHES OR DRINKS, DO YOU HAVE A SOURCE(S) FOR INSPIRATION?

When Camila and I were coming up with the recipes for Volley, we had a few goals. We wanted it to be as refreshing and drinkable as possible. Keeping the fruit flavor profiles light and not over powering was key while also making sure the 100% agave tequila note remained subtle was a challenge. We took flavors that we really like, grapefruit, ginger, mango, and lime and found them in their truest form - not from concentrate and 100% organic. What we came out with was a highly carbonated, lightly flavored and subtle to no tequila note seltzer which has a strong enough alcohol content (5.25%) to have fun, but low enough that you can enjoy a few without pushing you over the top.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT OR BAR, WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK DO YOU RECOMMEND IT, AND WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE CAN A VISITOR EXPECT?

I would say Penrose on the upper east side is always a great time. It feels like a downtown bar on the upper east side and has amazing quality drinks and food. Look out for the GM Pete when you are there! I know they are anxiously awaiting to open their doors again once Covid settles down.

 

WHAT INFO ABOUT COCKTAILS DO MOST PEOPLE MAKING DRINKS AT HOME NOT KNOW THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO THEM?

Two good tips are to always shake a drink that uses fruits or syrups and when shaking a drink, first pour the drink components in, followed by ice right before shaking. If you pour the ice in first then you may get more dilution than you were expecting.

 

FAVORITE ACC FLAVOR?

Spicy Ginger

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE? 

I can't wait to hear what you think about Volley! Please join us on this adventure by following us @drinkvolley on Instagram and sharing what you thought of your box there!

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