We continue our series of talking to local producers with this interview with Ross from Cahoots. Cahoots has eye-catching bottles of locally made syrups perfect for drinks or as Ross explains below cooking!
Q. Why did you start Cahoots?
A. Cahoots started in 2014 with the simple idea of creating and sharing good food. We think of our syrups as collaborative flavours for cocktails and more. You can mix them in drinks or pour them over desserts. However they’re used, Cahoots makes it easy for people to be adventurous in the bar or kitchen.
Q. Who are you guys? Tell us a bit about yourselves!
A. Before the launch of Cahoots, John and I [Ross] had been running our own graphic design practices. We became versed in telling other company's stories and developing their brand narratives. The idea for Cahoots started out of a desire to build our own products and tell our own story. After discussing a number (mostly terrible) ideas, we recognized a renewed interest in home bartending and an idea stuck.
Q. Why do you love making syrups?
A. As novice bartenders, we were frequently frustrated that the drinks we made at home didn’t live up to what we were consuming at our favourite bars. When we discovered simple syrups, the basic ratios for most classic drinks became clear. The drinks we began mixing at home didn’t just taste better, they looked great too.
Q. What do you use your syrups for?
A. Our goal is to encourage creativity in the home bar by making it simple for anyone to create a great tasting, beautiful looking drink. Beyond that, we’re constantly surprised by how people use our product. From salad dressings to marinades and glazes, the applications seem endless. We recently caught wind of someone using our Chai Syrup as the base for a whipped cream on their brunch waffles. We love seeing what customers do with our product.
Q. What ingredients do you use in your syrups?
A. We figure what you put into something determines what you get out of it. That’s why we make Cahoots syrups according to a strict policy: only good ingredients. That means we work with growers to find the highest quality ingredients we can, from fresh-grown herbs and whole fruits to natural sugars—paying close attention to our supply chain to ensure they come from sustainable sources.
Q. Where do you get the ingredients?
A. We do what we can to source our ingredients directly from the source. Our lavender comes from a Naramata farm that grows 16 varieties of lavender. We searched long and hard for the right flavour and colour, delaying the product launch considerably to get things right. Our unique blend is mixed from three different varietals to produce a balanced, sweet and perfectly aromatic syrup.
Q. What's your favourite cocktail or drink?
A. John will take a margarita any day. It doesn’t matter what else is in it, as long as it’s made from a good quality tequila. I [Ross] stay pretty close to the classics. Nothing beats a Sazerac.
Q. What's your favourite bar in town?
A. We have an unhealthy addiction to Campagnolo Upstairs, which may have something to do with their Dirty Burger...
Q. What's your favourite thing about Vancouver?
A. Vancouver has an ever-growing, ever-evolving food and drink scene. We love that it’s no longer about the single, new “it” restaurant in town. There’s so many great chefs and bartenders covering a diverse range of culinary interests.