Whether it’s at dinner with friends, drinks with coworkers or even a date, a Blossom espresso martini is the District’s new must-have cocktail.
The espresso martini is the trendy cocktail that has it all. This is of course due to an unmatched synthesis of flavors, a picture-perfect glass and that much-needed boost of caffeine.
While an espresso martini is the reigning champ of all cocktail drinks, it has a flaw. Imagine you’re getting ready for a night out but then – because of D.C.’s predictably unpredictable weather – it starts pouring (or maybe even snowing). The dream of an espresso martini or two is quickly slipping.
And while you could try and make one at home, it never tastes the same. To avoid this horrific situation, pick up a pack of Blossom’s ready to go espresso martinis Yes, Blossom is making miracles happen and dreams come true.
This D.C.-born craft cocktail company is just about a year old and is painting the town with their signature blue and pink colors. We sat down with the Founder and CEO of Blossom Beverages David Jack to hear all about their impressive first year.
District Fray: Tell me a little bit about your company and your product.
David Jack: Blossom is a D.C. beverage company, and we are what we call a drinkup. We’re a tried and true startup. We’re 12 months old, and we are a canned ready to drink cocktail company. Our premier product is a delicious, boozy and buzzy and chocolaty, canned Espresso Martini, whose recipe was made here in D.C. We launched almost a year ago . . . and our first product . . . is taking D.C. by storm.
When did you first start the company, and why did you start the company?
First of all, myself and my co-founders, like most startups, started Blossom to solve a problem. Truthfully, our problem was we were so obsessed with this cocktail called the espresso martini, and not just us, we looked up and saw D.C. in general was just enamored by this cocktail, and then you take a step even higher up and you see the country, being the number one demanded cocktail in bars in the United States – that was documented by Forbes a couple months ago – and then you take another step up, and it’s actually one of the most popular cocktails in the world.
The problem we were trying to solve was we loved it, it was part of our lives, however, it was not available outside the four walls of a trendy, chic cocktail bar. We wanted it when we were at home just hanging out with friends; we wanted it while we were getting ready to go to a networking event to get a little bit of energy and the blood flowing a little bit; we definitely wanted it at baseball games, cheering on the Nats; we definitely wanted it when we were watching our favorite artists play at Echostage or Soundcheck; we wanted this cocktail in all the places where you couldn’t get it at the time. So we decided to put our heads together, and we solved that problem.
When we decided to solve this problem, we did so really thinking about – and I think this is a different D.C. mentality for sure – but a different mentality we took in that was kind of starting with the why. Starting with the why moved us to developing a brand which we called Blossom, which is all about community. Yes, we sell damn good espresso martini, but the reason why we wake up every morning super early, and the reason why we go to bed super late thinking about this company and building it is because our why is so centered on building community over a great, great cocktail. That’s really our north star, which has allowed us to be incredibly creative, which has allowed us to produce a phenomenal award-winning product.
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That’s awesome. How did you and the team land on this specific formulation to make Blossom such a success?
Definitely, because a lot of love, and a lot of sleepless nights – espresso-fueled sleepless nights – went into the recipe, and you can taste it. I’m a coffee lover first and foremost, that’s why I fell in love with the espresso martini. When I found out I can have coffee at happy hour, I was like “say less.”
That was the most important thing for us, the coffee flavor, so we partnered with La Colombe, which is an incredible coffee company based out of the Northeast, but growing like crazy across the country. We knew we had to start with great coffee. I also wanted to make it approachable, coffee can be a little bit bitter, and not everyone in the world is a coffee drinker, especially espresso being much richer and concentrated and bitter. I love the marriage of coffee and chocolate, and I think that there’s something just so beautiful about those flavors coinciding and mixing together. That’s what we started with, we wanted to launch with a chocolate and coffee forward cocktail. It’s also something that really differentiates us.
When we started Blossom, I think there were maybe three other canned espresso martinis at the time. We weren’t really looking at them for what we should do, we were just doing what we love. And what we loved was the chocolate and espresso marriage. But we didn’t want to stop there. We love diverse things, we love complicated things – the world is so complicated – so we decided to complicate this cocktail for a good reason. We then added a little bit of vanilla to it to make it smooth and a dash of nutmeg to give it a little bit of spice and a little bit of kick, and – of course – they’re 9% Vodka, which creates this beautiful melody of flavors, and a good espresso martini.
I think – and so do the 25,000 other people who’ve enjoyed a Blossom, in the past 12 months – that that recipe is great. That’s the nuts and bolts. But truthfully, when I tried recipe 45 – the one that we decided to move forward with – I was brought back to my first espresso martini, that’s the flavor that I recalled. It was almost like that scene for Ratatouille when the curmudgeon eats the dish, and he’s brought back to his childhood. I had this sort of transformational moment where I felt like I was sitting in Dupont Circle at the first bar that I ever had an espresso martini and wow . . . that’s kind of when my brain and my gut kind of came together, and I knew that this is the right one.
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You said at the start that this is your first product, do you have plans for more in the future?
Yes, it’s incredibly exciting news. We’ve grown so fast, and we continue to hear from our fans and our customers via DMs, or just conversations when we’re at tasting events that they want more Blossom – they want more flavors of Blossom, they want us to create more. They’ve given us a few ideas, and we have a few ideas as well. But yes, we are launching three to four more [items] in the next 12 months. We’re going to do that sort of on a seasonal basis. I can’t share exactly which flavors yet, but we are experimenting with your classic coffee flavors, from your various spices to your favorite flavor pairings that you see at big coffee companies.
And then we’re also doing something a little bit crazier, which I’m very excited about, and I think it’s going to crush. That is experimenting with fruit flavors, which isn’t necessarily a coffee thing. You go into a coffee shop [like] La Colombe [or] Starbucks, you don’t necessarily see too many fruit and coffee pairings, but we like to do things differently. That’s what we’re experimenting with. We will launch four new flavors in the next 12 months, and I think customers are going to absolutely fall in love with them.
What makes D.C. so special to you, and why did you choose to launch your company here?
I would be lying to you, if I didn’t say the thought crossed my mind – should we launch this company in a city that is known for beverage startups? I decided not to because our community is here. My co-founders, we all live, work and play in Washington, D.C. We looked at the market and figured out that launching in our backyard and being able to leverage our collective networks would 10x Blossom compared to if we were to try to do this in a city where we don’t live, work and play in.
I’m able to pick up a phone call and speak with a restaurateur who I’ve known for years, and convince her to take Blossom on and see what happens. We do that and Blossom crushes and customers are asking for it, and now we have this beautiful partnership. I wouldn’t be able to do that in a city where I don’t have those relationships. It was all about relationships for us first for staying in D.C. and being able to surround ourselves with just positive people, successful restaurateurs, successful investors, successful mentors, successful folks in media, etc.
The second piece was D.C. is actually an incredible drinking environment. I think we’re number one on tons of different lists for consumption. We have this just incredible vibrant culture of going out, wining, dining and having fun. The business environment in D.C. is a very lucrative one if you tap it and enter the market right. And I think we did just that, and now the results are following. It’s just another example of following your passion and the success will follow. Also it really allowed us to create a splash in our backyard, which is where we came up with the recipe. It’s very interwoven into our story, it would be super inauthentic if we tried to start somewhere else. We couldn’t be more proud that we’re a D.C. company and that we’ve been exclusively sold here for 12 months.
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You’ve had such a successful year. Is there any experience that you’ve had throughout Blossom’s lifespan so far that has really stayed with you? Maybe your “I made it” moment or an experience with somebody came up to you talking about how much they love Blossom?
When we first launched at Union Market we launched on what was supposed to be a cold November day. In fact, we got branded fleece puffer jackets because it was an outdoor pop up, and it was November 12. We were expecting like 40 degree weather. We were not expecting too many people to show up, and the weather gods blessed us. We had the hottest day in November on our launch date. What started with five people walking by our setup turned to 10, turned to 20 turned to 100, and I looked down and there’s a line all the way down Union Market to try this little thing that we made. Fast forward a few hours later, we completely sold out of our inventory on our first day. Which is a good and a bad problem. Good in the sense that, we have something special. Bad in the sense that we sold through all of our inventory that we had planned for our first launch and so for the next month we missed the holidays because we did not have any inventory. I had to beg and plead with our manufacturer to make more Blossom. We literally rented a UHaul, and went and picked up tons of pallets and delivered them to D.C. That was incredible.
The second most memorable moment was the Opening Day at Nats Park. To be a company, not even a year old, and to be sold in a Major League Baseball Stadium was a dream come true. To see people I’ve never met before, just Nats fans stop at the grab and go and grab a pink can of Blossom and go to their seats was an emotional moment for me.
Finally, we are now in Giant food stores, which is our first grocery chain. We’re actually in all the Giants in D.C. But that’s my supermarket. I live in NoMa, and so I go to the Giant on H Street. And walking down the aisle getting groceries, and going past the beer and can cocktails aisle and seeing Blossom on a shelf is – I’m speechless, it’s unreal. Those are the moments, the nice fluffy ones.
My next sort of “aha” or most gratifying moment will be when we take this D.C. product, this dream made in D.C., and we start to export that to other states. That’s what’s happening very soon. We have so much demand in the surrounding areas, we have so much demand in Maryland, we have so much demand in Virginia, we have so much demand in New York. And we’re going to do that. So that’ll be my next gratifying moment is when we’re in New York City, and someone’s buying a Blossom can at a bodega, that’ll be pretty cool.
To keep up with what’s next for Blossom, be sure to follow them on Instagram @blossombeverages. Check out their website blossombeverages.com to purchase your own or find your nearest store that carries the ready-to-drink espresso martinis.
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