Hey Bushwick, would you like that cocktail shaken, stirred, or in a bottle?
Bushwick-based entrepreneurs Julian Mohamed and Darren Grenia, the brains behind tapped cocktail bar Yours Sincerely and its late relative Sincerely Burger, have teamed up with former manager Roxane Mollicchi to bring you a boozy new enterprise: Wandering Barman.
Wandering Barman is almost exactly what it sounds like — bottled, handcrafted cocktails designed for use by bars and restaurants as part of their cocktail menus. It’s “wandering” because you’ll find these drinks at spots all across Bushwick. They come in serving-sized bottles, making portioning and serving a breeze for busy bars and eateries.
“Running Dear Bushwick, we realized it was tricky trying to keep up with the cocktail program just in terms and speed and consistency,” Mohamed told Bushwick Daily. “Friday and Saturday nights we would get hammered. We were so busy, cocktails were coming out after appetizers, so it would get really frustrating for customers.”
“That was part of the inspiration for creating the bar,” Mohamed continued. “We just wanted to be able to serve quality cocktails really fast.”
That’s exactly what Yours Sincerely does. More “cocktail laboratory” than bar, Yours Sincerely keeps about 20 cocktails on tap, already mixed and ready to serve. If you’ve ever had a cocktail made using a mass-manufactured, hyper-sugary “cocktail mix,” then you’ll know that crafting tasty drinks at scale is fraught with difficulties.
“We figured out how to do them really well,” said Mohamed. “And it was a choice: do we open more bars around the city doing the same thing, or do we try to help provide a solution to other bars and restaurants that are getting slammed with cocktail demands.”
They chose the latter, and Mohamed, Mollicchi, and Grenia came together as partners to start Wandering Barman.
“It was really built as a solution,” said Mollicchi. “We were bar managers, bar owners. We built this to help ourselves and now we want to help other bars and restaurants.”
They officially launched, after nearly a year of prep, on Dec.8, 2016. Wandering Barman cocktails are made using liquor sourced from high-quality brewers, fruits and vegetables bought locally and organic whenever available, and infusions and bitters handmade in house. Socialite and Swipe Right were Wandering Barman’s first two cocktails.
You may be familiar with Swipe Right, a date-infused bourbon old fashioned, from the Yours Sincerely menu. It’s bourbon-forward to start, but the flavor profile changes drastically as it sits in a glass. There are rich caramel notes from the dates, an almost chocolatey aroma, and a tiny bite from the bitters.
Socialite, a gin-based old fashioned, features cucumber and elderflower liqueur. If you’re not into cucumber in your drink, this one is definitely not for you — it’s the most prominent flavor. The gin is close behind, and these two layer over a delicate background of sweet, floral notes.
Though they’ve met with early success — their reorder rate has been 100 percent so far — Wandering Barman is taking a measured approach to growth.
“We’re launching one more [cocktail] this month,” Mollicchi said. “Then another one next month, and then we’ll be rolling them out as we go. So for now, [releases will be] month by month until we hit five or six.”
They’ve opted to take their time to ensure that they can establish and nurture meaningful business relationships.
“We want to make sure that we can take care of the customers we have,” said Grenia. “We don’t want to grow too quick and not be able to service them and make them happy. It’s really about the relationships that we build.”
For now, Wandering Barman cocktails are available at six Bushwick spots: Le Garage, Sally Roots, Elsewhere, 3 Diamond Door, Archie’s, and, most recently, Roberta’s. As their range of bottled handcrafted cocktails grows, except to see them in more locations.
Cover photo by Adam Kasper