My great Aunt Gladys and her mother, Lily, had a pitcher of these Bloody Marys ready to serve at all times in their Garden District Home. People do just drop by in New Orleans, you know. It’s welcome. They were sassy but classy ladies - serving drinks and laughter but in fine crystal, fully garnished. Everything was framed by an old world etiquette and attention to detail, but far from stiff and stuffy. These gals like to entertain and party and they make no bones about it. They still had a mischievous twinkle in their eye and a spring in their step, ready to kick up their heels and paint the town red in an instant. Family events are just an excuse for a party with people you like, kids and friends and anyone who shows up included.
This embodies the New Orleans spirit. This is what we are bottling above anything.
I was little at the time, and more interested in finding all the hidden buzzers in the floor (for calling servants in the kitchen once upon a time), begging an up close viewing of the glass menagerie collection(I kid you not), or romping through the tropical bricked courtyard, filled with sensuous smelling flowers like Jasmine and Gardenias. My own mother requested the recipe. And both she and I became known for them. But I knew to keep it secret.
When the gifting idea hit me out of the blue in late 2008, I left my Director of Marketing position, in the middle of a recession no less, to pursue the business while spending more time with my toddler. It took 2.5 years to finally launch. The recipe conversion alone took 1.5 years. Every sample tasted fine until vodka was added. Then it tasted bitter. Turns out there is a chemical reaction that occurs with about 8 ingredients in a Bloody Mary. Mine is the ONLY mix to have overcome that.
Then, everyone told me bottling in the carafe was impossible. To me, it was crucial for the gifting and environmental strategy. And I stubbornly persisted.
Finally, against all the odds, and LOTS of help, Garden District Bloody Mary mix launched, in its beautiful glass carafe, in late October, 2011. Sassy original art for "Queen Mary" by Oak Cliff Artist Gretchen Goetz, graces both the reusable carafe and the witty seasonal gift tags like "Have a Bloody Mary Christmas™," "Congrats on getting Bloody Mary'd," "Let's Drink and get Bloody Mary, " etc. Every detail contains thought - The neck has enough room to fill with spirits, shake and serve, the back label is a clean peel, the lid reseals.
So, the packaging rocks, the mix itself is the best ever, I get to honor the strong women of my family, and I work in between raising a child. BUT there are goals behind this are quite large. The decisions we make as a company must consider the next seven generations. 1. We strive to be/use local resources (all elements are made in US except the tamperproof seal and many come from Louisiana or Texas). 2. Be environmentally friendly (Reusable is the first R and glass can not only be recycled, but is made of 60% recycled materials naturally). 3. Hire a series of Part Time Mommas. There is an incredible talented work force that left to raise children, yet want to work part time. Right now, there are very few opportunities for them. I want to help create those for other moms like myself.
Stephanie Sanoja, Founder, Garden District Bloody Marys.