Adrienne Walker, founder and CEO of Blue Henry Spirits, is raising expectations in the cocktail industry by providing all-natural, handcrafted cocktails, mocktails and cotton candy divvy’s. Walker will be launching her new tamarind flavor cocktail and Bloody Mary riming salt this coming fall. These cocktails are sure to have you begging for more while bragging to your friends about the authentic and fresh taste.
Blue Henry Spirits provides hosting and bartending services along with an all-natural and unique cocktail selection. Being a certified mixologist and food service manager, Walker takes pride in using a hands-on approach when crafting her enjoyable products.
Walker has previous experience working with the Food and Drug Administration as an executive officer, which has helped her to successfully deliver a service of quality and excellence.
While on her successful entrepreneurial journey, Walker explains the most difficult and rewarding part of starting a business. She says, “In the beginning, I thought, ‘I’ll put the products out there and it will sell, and the money will come.’”
She adds, “Well, that’s not exactly how it works. In the beginning, you [must] make sure you are doing it for the love of the craft. The only thing that will carry you through is to make sure you are doing it for the love.”
Rolling out spoke with Walker to talk about her cocktails, cotton candy divvy’s, candied fruit and more. She explains her inspiration behind creating her mocktails for those who are unable to partake in the alcoholic drinks. Blue Henry Spirits, syrups and candied fruit are available on Candied Fruit Garnish and Amazon Prime, as well as on the Blue Henry Spirits website. Check out more of her story below.
Tell us how you started the Blue Henry Spirits business.
We got our productive facility last October [and] started selling online this January. It started from a genuine love for the crafting of cocktails. Bars are just starting to make better cocktails and I wanted to be a part of that. I was already the one responsible for making drinks when the girls got together, and they were used to me playing around with different ingredients and different concepts. At the same time, I started to lose interest with the desk job that I had with the federal government. So, I was looking to be a little more inspired and creative with my days. It was a bit of leap, I have never been an entrepreneur before, so I am learning every day and I love it.
What is your favorite aspect of owning a business?
The variety. The variety can be a bit crazy; because we are just starting out, it’s something different every day. One day would be a day like today where I am prepping for an interview. Another day would be at the production facility cutting oranges and apples all day. Another day would be an evening event where I get to go and bartend, show the product and see people excited about they are trying. [Also] being able to set your schedule, it makes life easier with the kids I can prioritize and if they have an event at the school I can [attend].
What made you choose to go the all-natural route with the Blue Henry syrups, cotton candy divvy’s and candied fruit?
I decided to go the all-natural route because I wasn’t happy with the mixers on the market. Probably 90 percent of [the mixers] are full of chemicals. There are artificial colors and artificial flavors. One part is, we are ingesting chemicals that we don’t exactly know where they come from. Another part is, artificial is artificial and you’re losing flavor of the natural fruit. I wanted to get to the true heart of their flavor and the only way you can do that is by creating natural products.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur?
One would be the ability to adapt and learn new things. You [must] understand every part and facet of your business and no one is going to be prepared day one to know all those facets. Be open and ready to learn. Networking is another huge skill for entrepreneurs. Use your network as a community and not as competition. The next skill would be perfectionism, as an entrepreneur you should always strive to create a better product or better service for your customer.
What’s the most interesting cocktail flavor that you’ve created and why?
I am getting excited about some of the new flavors that we have in works for the fall. One of them is a tamarind flavor syrup which is a hard pod with a fruit on the inside, [typically] in the Indian culture. It creates this complex sweet, little bit of heat and a little bit of spice flavor. Another one is a Bloody Mary riming salt that’s got a little spice in it with a Maryland flavor.
What inspired you to create mocktails?
As I am testing recipes, particularly the cotton candy [divvy’s] my kids are watching me, and they want to enjoy too, and they can with the mocktail products. I can use these flavors to create drinks for them. For example, we have an elder flower flavor cocktail that is the same flavor that you find in the elder flower liqueur but there is no alcohol. I can craft a mocktail in a similar vein that I would craft the cocktail version.
Are there any upcoming projects or hostings that you have going on?
We are hosting a party at Exhale bar in Northeast D.C. on this Friday, Sept. 7, from 5-10 p.m. where we are helping to support their local public schools and providing uniforms for the kids in need. We do pop-up events and there is a fun one called the Bash Pop-Up, we provide the bar tending services for them. Of course, Howard University homecoming, which is a big one here in DC and there will be a lot of party’s that we will be helping support and providing bar services. We are also booked for the Law School Alumni. It’s going to be a blast and a busy time.
Check out the Blue Henry Spirits website, www.BlueHenrySpirits.com
Email Blue Henry Spirits for bookings, questions or any additional information: [email protected]
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