Fruit syrups for craft sodas, cocktails
Fruitations is a fruit syrup with a double life. Added to seltzer it’s a fashionable craft soda. With vodka, the syrup lends an intense gusto of flavor, as it does to many cocktail and cordial recipes.
“It started as an alternative to soda for my kids,” says founder Allison Goldberg, 48, who lives in Lynn with her husband, Ted Stux, and children, Julian, 11, and Chloe, 8. “I wanted to do something as naturally as possible. I used what was in my pantry.”
Goldberg founded Fruitations in 2013. It’s an extension of New England Cranberry Co., a line of cranberry-based condiments she and Stux bought in 2003. With Fruitations, they can keep production and sales more uniform through the year. Allison handles sales and marketing, Ted oversees operations, procurement, and getting products out the door. The syrups are bottled in Lynn in an incubator for family-owned food businesses.
The three Fruitations, which sell for $6.99 for a 16-ounce bottle, come in tangerine, cranberry, and Rio grapefruit flavors. Each has three ingredients: water, fruit, and cane sugar. That sounds basic enough, but the recipes are an intensely fruity departure from commercial fruit concentrates sweetened with corn syrup.
While the syrups started as drinks for children, adults had other ideas. A British neighbor insisted that Fruitations was “for a cordial,” a syrup typically added to water or seltzer.
“Why not with vodka?” offered another friend.
“That’s when the happy accidents came to life,” says Goldberg, a graduate of Cornell School of Hotel Administration and Ecole Superieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales in France, one of Europe’s best business schools.
“It just brightens up a cocktail,” says Michael Ray, 42, bartender at Oak Long Bar + Kitchen in Boston and Blackstrap BBQ in Winthrop. “And it’s come at a time when the cocktail movement is exploding around Boston.” Patrons demand less-processed ingredients, he says. “When you make something with as natural flavors as you can get, the better the experience.”
Ray prepares a cranberry margarita with pepper jelly and cranberry syrup that taps into both product lines. The tangerine flavor, which he uses for a Tangito, a tangerine mojito, and in an Old Fashioned, he says, is a unique flavor in cocktails.
The only limitation, ironically, is New England’s cranberry supply. Fruitations cranberry syrup comes entirely from Cape Cod cranberries. But some of the cranberries for the jellies come from Wisconsin. The firm must share the harvest with turkey dinner.
FRUITATIONS is available at Becky’s Gourmet, 7 Bessom St., Marblehead, 781-990-1220; Kappy’s Liquors, 175 Andover St., Peabody, 978-532-2330; Tendercrop Farm, 108 High Road, Route 1A, Newbury, 978-462-6972; and Sudbury Farm, 1177 Highland Ave., Needham, 781-449-9180.