Designers in D.C. work with home in mind — whether home is in the city or a faraway place that adds extra texture and color to their products. Each maker featured in our October Issue is unique, but a common theme persists: a focus on cultural appreciation, sustainability and naturalness. We tell their stories and dive into details of each business below, from cocktail syrups to minimalist earrings to vintage repurposed maps.
Tory Pratt, founder of Pratt Standard Cocktail Company, is dedicated to quality cocktail syrups made pre-Prohibition style: no high-fructose corn syrup or harmful additives included.
District Fray: What’s the story of Pratt Standard?
Tory Pratt: My parents instilled a sharp palate and passion for entertaining at a young age; when I was old enough to drink, though, I couldn’t find any cocktail ingredients worthy of mixing with good booze. Everyone deserves access to premium drinks, and you shouldn’t have to go to a fancy bar to get one. In 2014, I set out to create the best tasting tonic syrup in the truest pre-Prohibition style; 47 iterations later, Pratt Standard was born. My syrups are versatile and classic and are perfect for home bartenders looking to up their game. I still develop every single recipe myself, and I’m on a mission to equip and inspire drinkers of all kinds to share in the joy of cocktailing. I have taught more than 20,000 home bartenders and more than 1,000 bartenders how to make cocktails. I’ve also designed 25 bar programs from D.C. to Ohio.
What made you focus on pre-Prohibition-style cocktail syrups?
Growing up around an amazing food family, I found most food products get adulterated over time. Producers find cheaper ingredients to replace real ones and cut costs, and this leads to lower quality. Cocktails followed this same trajectory. They went from being made by a bartender with dedication and skill before Prohibition to drinks loaded with high fructose corn syrup and synthetic additives. The skill was lost, and cocktails were made cheaper. So, we make mixes with a pre-Prohibition mentality: high quality, well-sourced ingredients and minimal preservatives designed to make your cocktailing easy and delicious.
What is your favorite syrup and why?
Picking a favorite syrup for me is like choosing a favorite child. I can’t pick one. But I go through phases of what I like drinking. Recently, I’ve been enjoying our Earl Grey vanilla syrup in an old- fashioned variation with a lemon peel garnish. But it’s about to be fall, so I’m guaranteed to make a lot of penicillin cocktails with our True Ginger and True Rich simple syrups.
Anything else you want readers to understand about Pratt Standard?
Pratt Standard is all about equipping and inspiring people to make great cocktails easy. As part of this, we do a lot of online education as well as in-person cocktail classes. If anyone is interested in getting into the craft of cocktailing, we’re here to help and build their educational cocktail journey.