If you’ve ever been to an elegant restaurant or bar, there’s no doubt that a mixologist crafted your cocktail with the same expertise as the chef put into your entrée. Fine ingredients, measured to perfection and all designed to pair unique flavor experiences to your spirit of choice. How many times have you wondered how cool it would be to have that same experience in your own home – or in other favorite restaurants? Instead of dreaming about the experience, Jorge Alvarez brought this idea to life by crafting Barmalade — a line of premium all-fruit mixers with unique flavor combinations used to create amazing-tasting cocktails and mocktails.
As the then bar manager at one of the famous five-star chef and restauranteur Stephen Pyles’ restaurants,
Jorge realized there was nothing like Barmalade on the market. In 2017, Jorge and his wife Amber co-founded Barmalade to disrupt the mixer industry by filling a gap for consumers and restaurant operators looking for an elevated, but the easy-to-craft cocktail experience. The concept was based on convenience by removing the hard work of hand-muddling and focusing on all-natural ingredients and great taste. Pyles’ restaurants required that everything on the menu, including cocktails, must be handmade and hand-muddling craft cocktails take a long time, especially during peak times when drink orders could take up to 20-30 minutes.
The Barmalade concept started with Jorge’s berry basil cocktail. All of the berries and basil had to be double-strained which takes a long time but tastes amazing. To reduce the work and time involved, Jorge made a jam out of the berries and basil. This allowed the bartenders to use a spoonful of the jam, a squeeze of citrus, and a dash or two of the spirit – cutting cocktail creation time down to less than one minute.
Today, Barmalade is a liquid jam that pours like syrup, but unlike syrups that discard the fruit, they blend the fruit to intensify the flavor. The unique flavor combinations create complexity and dimension in each cocktail – where it tastes like the beverage took a long time to make but was simply Barmalade, citrus, and your favorite spirit.
As Barmalade’s chief development officer, Jorge is focused on quality control on current flavors, creating new flavors, as well as executing mixology partnerships with spirit brands and key clients. Besides the Berry-Basil flavor , Barmalade’s range has expanded to eight flavors: Mango-Habanero, Blood Orange-Guava, Grapefruit-Elderflower, Pineapp
le-Passionfruit, Apple-Pear, Blackberry-Mint and Raspberry-Hibiscus. Barmalade’s products are cross-utilized in the kitchen for sauces, desserts, breakfast toppings, and dressings. Prior to COVID the company released at least one new flavor per year and beginning in 2023, Barmalade will resume releasing one new flavor annually.
As Jorge perfected crafting the Barmalade recipe, Amber used her extensive business experience to build a strong business foundation for the emerging company. Developing the recipes and packaging, R&D taking two years since it’s a hot fill product, securing a specific type of co-packer as well as determining the packaging were all challenges they faced early on.
Since this was the first business that Jorge and Amber launched together, the power couple relied on a strong social network for business guidance. They also joined DFW CPG to gain industry insight and to learn more about an industry that is completely new to Jorge and Amber. These relationships helped Barmalade overcome the challenges that many businesses face when starting up.
Today, people can experience Barmalade in cocktails at restaurants such as Mesero, Primo’s, DeLucca’s, Fogo de Chao, Del Frisco’s, Omni Hotels, Twin Peaks, and Cinemark. Its retail products are available at Amazon, Kroger Marketplace, Walmart Marketplace, VABC, BevMo, Shaw’s Supermarkets, and independent retailers across the country.
Ultimately, Barmalade’s greatest strength is Jorge’s and Amber’s commitment to creating a premium product and executing best-in-class customer service across all channels. Their goal is for Barmalade to be a household name — synonymous with quality and great taste, available at all major retailers and in cocktails/mocktails at restaurants across the country. Based on Barmalade’s growth in five short years, there’s sure to be more to celebrate in the years ahead. Cheers to that!