Written on October 28, 2022.

If you’ve ever been to an authentic Mexican or Latin-American restaurant, chances are you might be familiar with the milky and sweet beverage, Horchata, or even “rice water,” as you may have heard it commonly called. Nothing goes better with a Latin American dish than a sweet and refreshing Horchata. Horchata has existed for centuries and is a staple in Latin and Central American eateries. It’s a creamy, often milky, sweet beverage that is usually concocted from grains, nuts, or seeds soaked in water for long periods of time. To spice up the beverage, you can add cinnamon and various other herbs and spices. Unknown to most, however, is that Horchata varies from region to region, and each recipe brings a unique flavor. Let’s dive into the origins of the Horchata and reveal how some key variations changed what the world is drinking

Where it comes from

You would be surprised how far the horchata influence has reached over the years. Although there isn’t precisely one originator for the drink, culinary experts have traced the origins back to North Africa all the way back to 2400 BC. In Nigeria and Mali, a similar beverage is called “Kunnu Aya,” but in the 11th century, the recipe spread to the “new” world countries such as Spain and Portugal, due to the Muslim Moors. The original Horchata is made from Tiger nuts ( seeds that come from Yellow Nutsedge) found in Southern Europe, Africa, and Madagascar. When the Spanish conquistadors and Moors copied the recipe from Africa, they made the Horchata into a rice-based beverage since they didn’t have tiger nuts readily available. The rice horchata grew so popular in Spain that King James of Aragon had dubbed it “liquid gold,” and some even graced it as “the drink of gods” for its flavor alone. While the tiger nuts version of the drink would make its way to Spain, the rice horchata, or “rice water,” became the Spaniard’s favorite and a recipe we still use today. The modern Mexican Horchata is made with rice and then sweetened with cinnamon and sugar; sometimes, milk is included in the recipe. Currently, the “classic” rice horchata flavor profile can be enjoyed in ice cream, cookies, horchata-flavored frappes, and alcoholic beverages such as “Rumchata”

Horchata Variations

The Horchata has appeared in several variations and different recipes throughout its history. Some may not even fit the typical profile of what most know as a horchata, but they still count. The “horchata” in Spanish is a generic term that applies to any sweet beverage made from grains, ground nuts, and various spices. With such a loose definition, there are many ways a drink can be considered a “horchata,” and it varies from culture to culture. Here are some of the more common ones that would be sweet new beverages to quench your thirst wherever you travel.  


Horchata De Arroz: There is no better place to start than the most familiar Horchata that you’ve likely encountered before: The Horchata De Arroz. The Mexican Horchata is the beverage we commonly call rice water in the U.S. This Horchata is made with cinnamon, water, and soaked rice. Sometimes it’s substituted with milk instead to make it sweeter. To make it, you simply wash and soak your white rice in hot water, place a stick of cinnamon in hot water as it boils, and then process the rice into a blender. While it may be a bit gritty after its blended, you’ll end up with a delicious treat to enjoy with any Latin American cuisine.   


Horchata De Chufa: Time to go back a little and get a taste of the original recipe, Horchata De Chufua!  Also known as the Spanish Horchata, this beverage is one of the most common horchatas in the U.S. and Latin countries, but still very distinctive from the rice water we’re more familiar with. The Spanish Horchata is made with tiger nuts exported from Africa and Madagascar. Although it’s not as sweet as the Horchata De Arroz, the Horchata De Chufa can have a sweetened and savory almond flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste.   


Horchata Deajon Joji: If you’re into beverages with a more nutty taste, then this Horchata is for you! The Horchata Deajon is made from untoasted sesame seeds, sugar, and water, although sometimes milk is used as a sweetener. Unlike other horchatas, the horchata deajon doesn’t call for any additional spices. To make it, you soak untoasted sesame seeds in hot water for four hours or overnight, and then place the soaked seeds in a blender with sugar. As a result, you’ll have a nutty but sweet beverage that is simple and cheap to make.


Semilla de Jicaro/Morro Seed Horchata: Want to depart from the rest of the horchatas? If so, you certainly need to take note of this melon horchata. The melon horchata is a little closer to an “agua de Fresca” or melon water, but to make it involves soaking seeds, so it still counts within the horchata family. The melon horchata uses a mass of melon pulp for the body and the seeds for a splash of nutty flavor. With a mix of melon pulp and seeds, honey or sugar, and a splash of lime juice, you place it all in a blender until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Like the other horchatas, this one can be gritty but certainly just as refreshing as its name’s sake.  

Horchata Origins


Ecuadorian Horchata: If you Really want to mix up your horchata pallet, then the Ecuadorian Horchata is a must-have treat. Probably one of the most distinct on the list, the Ecuadorian Horchata is more like tea and less milky than the others. The Ecuadorian Horchata is blended with 18 different herbs and flowers, such as chamomile, mint, lemongrass, borage, roses, violets, and carnations, to name a few. With such a combination, this Horchata can taste like a floral fruit punch and gives off a red color, which comes from blood leaf and amaranth. The 18 herbs blend makes the Ecuadorian Horchata hard to create outside of the country due to its complicated combination. Some herbs needed are treated with harmful pesticides in the U.S. However, some Latin American vendors sell pre-made Ecuadorian horchata blends for you to enjoy its fruity and herbal flavor. 


When you’re ready to talk about your idea to change what the world is drinking, give us a call at (502) 273-5214 or get started with this web form.   

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Written on October 3, 2022.


No matter how old you get, there’s still something nostalgic about getting a slushie at a gas station on a hot summer’s day. From the loud slurping sounds made sucking through the straw to your colored tongue, there’s no childhood experience like drinking a slushie on a hot summer’s day. Not a popsicle and too solid to be soda, the slushie has become a quick staple as a gas-station treat and is on the market by numerous global brands. Why are slushies so famous? How were they invented? What makes them so unique as a beverage? We’ll discover the slushies origins and examine how such a simple and accidental invention changed what the world is drinking.     

A Happy Accident

Like many great beverage or food inventions, the slushies origin began with somewhat of a happy accident. It started with a Dairy Queen owner named Omar Knedlik in the 1950s. Knedlik was a World War II veteran who used his earnings to buy an ice cream shop. After discovering a passion for the ice cream industry, Knedlik moved to Coffeyville, Kansas, in the late 50s and used the remainder of his war earnings to buy a Dairy Queen franchise. One fateful day, Omar’s soda machine failed, so he stored all his soda in his freezer. Overnight, the soda became a snow-like substance that retained its Coca-Cola flavor. Wanting to get rid of it, Knedlik sold the slushies to his customers, and they became an instant favorite. 

With the accidental slushie becoming more popular, Omar needed to find a way to produce them quickly. Knedlik took an air conditioner unit from a car and changed it into a slushie machine. The slushie machine would combine and freeze a flavor concentrate with water and carbon dioxide. The machine kept the slushie mix turning, so it wouldn’t solidify in the container. Originally Knedlik wanted to call his accidental invention “Scoldasice” (S’cold as ice), but with help from Ruth E. Taylor, an advertising and marketing professional, the two settled on the name that we all know and love today: “ICEE.” Knedlik partnered with the John Mitchell company (Which sold appliances and functional hardware materials) to mass produce and patent slushie machines to sell, further solidifying his invention in the market. 

Slushie Explosion!

Soon after getting the patent for the slushie machines, Knedlik made a licensing deal with the 7-Eleven company to sell “ICEES” in their locations. So that the two slushie brands wouldn’t compete, the 7-Eleven company named its slushies “Slurpees” after the sound one makes when trying to suck them through a straw. Many frozen carbonated beverages (FCB) followed, such as “Slush Puppies,” “Thirst Buster,” as well as brands that have developed their own line of slushie flavors, such as “Circle K” and “Sonic.” As the slushies became increasingly popular, distributors kept finding new and unique ways of advertising their fresh flavors and mixes. In the 70s, marketers started tapping into the youth trends of the times and appealing to them through cup designs, creative advertisements, and popular flavor choices. One way Slurpees were advertised was In 1967 when Tom Merriman made the song “Dance the Slurp” for the 7-Eleven company, and it became an anthem for teenagers to buy slushies.


Another marketing tactic that was utilized were the cups! The cup designs became a unique way for companies to advertise their slushie products. In the ’70s, the 7-Eleven company started selling cups with pictures of sports stars, comic book characters, rock bands, and even early video games. There were even limited edition cups that came annually with movie releases. Such a trend persisted to the early 2000s, with blockbuster movies like Spider-man, the Simpsons, Hulk, and Iron Man. Lastly, one of the greatest appeals of slushies is, of course, the flavors themselves. Originally slushie flavors were cola or cherry-flavored beverages since they derived from the popular sodas of the 50s and 60s. As sodas accumulated more flavors, so did slushies. Any flavor of slushie you can think of is now imaginable.   

Frozen Flavors

More options for new flavors come with further complications in mixing a delicious slushie. Assembling the slushie machine has gotten smaller and more straightforward, but creating a sweet and impactful slushie flavor can be a tricky balancing act. Essentially, creating a flavor for a slushie to replicate its soda profile takes a higher sugar concentration than the original formula; this is primarily due to the ice crystals in slushies that melt and can water down the flavor profile of the slushie. While some slushies derive from established soda brands like Sprite or Dr. Pepper, slushies were truly revolutionized when beverage architects began creating unique flavor blends. One of the best examples includes places such as Sonic, which is partially known for having an array of slushie flavors. 

“Some flavors are super concentrated where you essentially only add a few drops and others where you add more than you would think. When developing with them, you must know how that flavor will affect the flavor profile and what might mask all other flavors. Some flavors like the Blue Raspberry are super simple, but others like the Cotton Candy are surprisingly difficult.”-Tolman Elwell, Beverage Architect-Flavorman  

At Flavorman, we treat our employees and guests to our own unique slushie flavors such as Criss-Cross Applesauce, Prickly Pear Hibiscus, and many more during the summer months of the year. The slushies are developed by our Beverage Architects working in the lab daily to change what the world and staff are drinking. 


When you’re ready to talk about your idea to change what the world is drinking, give us a call at (502) 273-5214 or get started with this web form.


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Written on August 1, 2022.

Pina Colada

One of the world’s most famous blended drinks and cocktails is the Piña Colada. If you’re only familiar with the drink from the Rupert Holmes song, you’d be doing yourself a disservice. The perfect blend of rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, and sometimes whipped cream creates a refreshing and slightly exotic drink. Considering that the Piña Colada is a popular summer drink, we’ll explore its intriguing origins, from urban legend to its various creators and contributors that made the Piña colada as we know it today.

The Legend    

According to legend, the Piña Colada was the creation of Puerto Rican pirate and revolutionary Roberto Cofresi, AKA El Pirata Cofresi. Born into a wealthy family that fell impoverished due to the conflicts of the Latin American Independence war, Cofresi sailed into his career as an explorer who traveled through the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Dissatisfied with the modest salary of a seaman, Cofresi quit and pursued pirating. With a rotating crew of 10 to 20 men on a stolen ship Christened the “Anna,” Cofresi evaded Puerto Rican authorities and most of the Caribbean with speed, stealing and pillaging throughout the Islands. Eventually, Cofresi and his men were captured by authorities and executed by a firing squad. After his death, urban legends spread about Cofresi’s “Robin-Hood”-like adventures. He stole from the rich and gave to the poor, and most famously was the person who is rumored to have created the Piña Colada. Rumor has it that Cofresi made the drink with the available ingredients of white rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice in hopes of preventing a mutiny on his ship. Unfortunately, there’s no real confirmation whether the famous pirate created the recipe or not, as legend states, the recipe died with him. Historians argue how valid the story is, but regardless of its truth, Cofresi will always be associated with the Piña Colada.

Ramon V Ramon: Dawn of Pina Coladas  

The exact creator of the modern Piña Colada is a mystery based on conflicting stories. The two most famous accounts come from two men in Puerto Rico, Ramon Monchito and Don Ramon Portas. Ramon Monchito is most often credited with the creation of the Piña Colada. Monchito concocted the drink while working as a bartender at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in 1954. Monchito was a kind and humble bartender who would make piña coladas for large parties in generous proportions. When Monchito first created his Piña Colada, he made it with coconut cream, vanilla ice cream, and pineapple juice all put into a shaker with ice. At first, the Piña Colada was sold in the snack bar as a milkshake, but due to a large number of adults at the hotel, coconut rum was soon added to the mixture and became a crowd favorite. By the 60s, in order to keep up with the orders, Monchito began using an Osterizer blender to combine the ice and coconut cream faster. Soon the Piña Colada’s popularity reached Miami and became one of the best-selling blended drinks in the world.

Legend also has it that another Ramon claimed to invent the Piña Colada by the name of Don Ramon Portas. Not much is known about the individual Don Ramon, but he is also credited with creating the Piña Colada at a hotel just 2 miles west of the Caribe Hilton called the Barrachina hotel. According to his former coworkers, Don Ramon Portas created the drink in 1963; Portas made the Piña Colada in a cocktail contest that called for a drink to represent Puerto Rico. Portas’ recipe used white coconut rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream, unlike Monchito’s original recipe which didn’t initially include rum. The dates of their creations contradict each other as Portas says that he started making Piña Coladas in 1963, while Monchito claims to have created the drink in 1954. Nowadays, most people rightfully credit Monchito for the modern Piña Colada, but some still debate Portas’ contribution. More than likely, while Monchito created the Piña Colada, Portas at least had a hand in popularizing it with tourists.

The Coco Cream      

Monchito’s and Porta’s Piña Coladas would not be as widely known today if it wasn’t for one key ingredient: coconut cream. While coconut cream and milk were readily available for most dishes, it was hard to produce in masses due to the coconut’s hardened exterior. Luckily a man named Don Ramon Lopez Iriarry, a scientist and professor of Agriculture at the University of Puerto Rico devised a solution to creating coconut cream quickly and efficiently. Working in a small lab, Professor Lopez cracked the code to easily break into the coconut shell. The coconut meat was extracted from the shell, simmered in water, and then strained. Once the pulp and liquid coconut meat were complete, Lopez mixed the Caribbean coconut cream with just the right proportion of natural sugar cane. The mixture created the sweet coconut cream that became a sensation.

Pina Colada

At first, the “Coco Lopez ” cream was mainly used for traditional island dishes, such as coconut pineapple sweet rice or coconut batter shrimp. But soon, the cream would get its most famous use in Monchito’s Piña Colada recipe. Using the perfect amount of pressure and temperature control, Lopez could produce massive amounts of coconut cream (20-30 cases of cream) a day. Lopez continued scaling up his company and The Coco Lopez cream became an international hit, so much so that it is synonymous with the original Piña Colada recipe. The Coco Lopez company even has its own Pina Colada mix that can be ordered in stores everywhere and from their website.

Although the origins of Piña Colada are debated and somewhat remain in mystery, the endurance of the ingredients and flavors have been a constant throughout its history. Now, the Piña Colada is a go-to beverage for a hot summer’s day or a tropical vacation. The best part about the Piña Colada is that it’s a sweet beverage that can be easily made at home with rum, coconut milk, and vanilla ice cream.

That’s right! Piña Colada was sometimes even made with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy this recipe for a Piña Colada milkshake that closely matches Monchito’s original recipe. The Piña Colada milkshake is easy and fun to make in a blender.


  •       Vanilla ice cream ½ oz (15 mils)
  •       Crushed pineapple 2 oz (60 mils)
  •       Coconut milk 11/2 oz (45 mils)
  •       Cream of coconut ½ oz (15 mils)
  •       Coconut flakes (for the rim of your cup)
  •       Rum (optional substitute for milk)


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Written on July 14, 2022.

Cherry flavors

For years cherry flavor has been a crowd favorite amongst consumers in the food and beverage industry. Cherry flavors have always been popular in whatever form they take and are often part of a core set of flavors, such as watermelon, strawberry, apple, grape, and most significantly, cherry. Even in traditional and alcoholic beverages, cherries have always been popular among consumers, and the flavor never ceases to be sold. As predicted in our 2022 Beverage Trends, we anticipated cherry playing a larger role as consumers continued desiring familiar flavors that would transport them back to a time of comfort. Ringing true to our predictions, this year, nearly 7% of all incoming beverage requests have included the desired cherry component. So, why are cherry flavors so popular? Is it an eye-catching color? The symbolism? Or are there chemical compounds specifically designed to make us want more.

What Makes Cherries so Sweet?

The flavor we often associate with cherry-flavored products on the market may not exactly taste like a cherry on a tree. As with most fruit-flavored candies or beverages, what you taste can be derived from the flavor chemistry of the named fruit, but often, the levels and types of these materials used can be accentuated. A flavor chemist can create a flavor profile of any given fruit based on analytical data which resembles the chemical makeup found in nature; this is true for every kind of fruit-flavored beverage — from bananas to blueberries, for example. Additionally, creative liberties can be taken for additional flavor notes to be added. For example, our customer may want some berry or vanilla notes which may not be contained in the chemical makeup of the actual fruit but can accentuate or steer the direction of the flavor profile for the benefit of the finished product.

Cherry flavors

The dominant aroma chemical in cherries is benzaldehyde, which people often associate with cherry flavor. Benzaldehyde can also sometimes make the cherry flavor in beverages taste different from the actual fruit. Benzaldehyde is found in low levels in the aroma chemical makeup of cherry fruit; however, this material has become the benchmark of what a cherry flavor should be perceived as and is used in higher concentrations for more impact, which isn’t always truly representative depending on the varietal of cherry you are making. Additionally, because of its tenacity, benzaldehyde is used in pharmaceutical products to mask off-notes, cough drops, and syrup, which causes people to associate it as medicinal.

Other materials are found in more significant amounts; however, benzaldehyde is powerful and has a dominant character making it the primary compound people identify as the traditional cherry taste.

Other compounds which make up the cherry flavors are:

  1. Eugenol, which tastes like clove.
  2. Linalool has a floral and woody flavor.
  3. Hexanal (cis 3-hexenal/trans-2-hexenal) which has a grassy taste.
  4. Phenylacetaldehyde makes a honey-like sweet flavor.

The Verdict

So why is cherry flavor so popular? Its ruby color derives thoughts of treasure and good fortune as used in paintings and religious stories, and its symbolism alludes to sexuality in a way that makes the fruit even more appealing — a connotation marketers have used to sell cherry-flavored products for years. While cherries have other desirable aspects, the most compelling verdict is that the compounds found in the cherry and the additional ingredients designed by flavor architects create an irresistible taste. Ultimately the cherries’ endurance is because of their flavor. Whether it be to quench your thirst, satisfy your sweet tooth, or mask the bitter taste of liquid medicine, the cherry reigns supreme.

Do you have a great drink idea? Our team of beverage experts can help you bring it to life–and change what the world is drinking. Get started by filling out this webform or by giving us a call at (502) 273-5214.


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Written on July 3, 2022.

Tea in America

The beginning of America is primarily known to have started with the dumping of tea as a protest. Tea was a lucrative commodity for the British empire that ruled over the 13 colonies that would become America and taxed the colonists for tea often to pay off their debts. The colonists famously opposed this “tea tax” slogan, “No Taxation without representation.” The colonist began dumping exported, and local tea in the Boston River as protest, and such actions led to the American Revolution. The most famous drink known to man is the center of this conflict: tea. Although America began with the dumping of tea, the states have made many innovations and contributions to the tea industry. To celebrate the 4th of July, we would like to highlight the popularization of iced tea in America and how it became popular in the Southern states.

Iced tea in America

Iced tea has been a known beverage in America for years since tea was first brought to the United States in 1789 when French botanist Andre Michaux brought the plant as a popular beverage among citizens. In the 1800s, many cold tea recipes appeared in alcohol punches, such as Charleston’s St. Cecilia punch and Chatham Artillery punch during the civil war. In the 1800s, iced tea was often flavored with many ingredients such as a few squeezes of citrus, an infusion of fragrant spices, perhaps a bit of steeped mint, and most commonly, sugar. In those days, it was green tea that was often used before the more popular black in iced tea beverages. It’s also worth noting that a lot of the iced tea was presweetened by dissolving a large quantity of sugar directly into the hot tea base before diluting it with water and ice, as opposed to sweetening already brewed tea with sweetener.  Soon beverage makers across the country started putting out their recipes for these “tea punches” and iced tea drinks.

In 1839 Lettice Bryan put out her cookbook The Kentucky Housewife, which has a tea punch recipe that requires pouring hot tea over sugar before mixing in cream and champagne or claret wine. In 1879 Marion Cabell Tyree published her cookbook Housekeeping in Virginia, which also popularized the iced tea recipe. Tyree’s recipe calls for green tea to be boiled and stepped throughout the day. In her book, Cabell states, “Fill the goblets with ice, put two teaspoonfuls of granulated sugar in each, and pour the tea over the ice and sugar.” In 1884 D.A. (Mary) Lincoln, the head of the Boston cooking school, released a recipe for iced tea that involved pouring cold black tea over ice, lemon, and two sugar cubes. In 1928, Henrietta Stanley Dull, home economics editor for the Atlanta Journal at the time, published her tea recipe in a book titled Southern Cooking. Dull’s recipe calls for boiled water poured over green or black tea leaves, the tea is removed when its strong enough to taste, pour in small amounts of sugar into the mixture, broken ice, and then finally serve with a garnish of a sliced orange, strawberry, cherry, or pineapple. Sometimes Dull’s tea was with a sprig of mint or lemon as well.

Tea in America

After years and several variations on the iced tea recipe, the beverage would become popularized because of tea farmer Richard Blenchynden. During the 1904 St. Louis World fair, Blenchynden offered complimentary hot tea at the East Indian pavilion; however, no one bought the tea due to the intense heat. It was rumored that Blenchynden, and his team filled several bottles of brewed Indian tea and turned them upside down so the tea could flow through iced lead pipes. It was a very welcomed treat in the intense heart at the time, and soon Blenchynden took his free iced tea idea to New York and sold it to larger crowds. After iced tea had grown in popularity, companies like Lipton started selling iced tea all over the United States and significantly down south.

Sweet Tea in the South  

Sweet tea is often associated with the south, but after iced tea became popular, it took a while before the beverage became such a staple. In the 19th century, it was harder for the south to obtain ice. The harsh heat and the mild winters kept ice from being a popular commodity south. The ice obtained down south was usually transported from the North and was only for those with the luxury to afford it. Two major technological shifts allowed ice in the south: cars were accessible so ice could be transported from the North quickly, and the invention of the refrigerator in the 1920s helped people down south preserve ice and colder beverages. Another factor that played a role in iced sweet tea’s popularity was the prohibition in 1920. Without drinks such as wine, beer, or whisky, many southerners held on to iced tea as much as they could until serving alcohol was legal. Henrietta Dull’s tea recipe was especially popular in the south and became essential for southern sweet tea, save for more sugar between individual preferences. It’s also important to note that during World War II, imports from Japan were not allowed in the U.S. hence, importation from India, Africa, and South America made darker teas more economically sound commodities.

Presweetening brewed tea became a southern tradition and what often makes southern sweet tea overwhelmingly sweet to those not used to the beverage. Sweet iced tea has become such a southern staple that South Carolina (home of some of the largest tea-growing industries in the country) made sweet iced tea the state’s official hospitality beverage in 1995. Georgia passed a house bill in 2003 that requires all restaurants in the state to serve sweet tea. Although the beverage market is inundated with new sodas every year, sweet iced tea is still a special and refreshing beverage for going out and staying home with friends and family.



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Written on June 24, 2022.

Gay Bars

In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, we want to spotlight one of the community’s most significant cornerstones: the gay bar. Not only have gay bars historically served as an establishment where LGBTQ people can be safe to be themselves, but they have also been used to build culture and civil rights for the queer community. As a beverage formulation company, it is inspiring to know that an establishment for beverages can serve a vital role in the history of civil rights. We want to highlight how and why gay bars play a massive role in LGBTQ nightlife and the liberation of the LGBTQ community.


In the early 1900s, clubs specifically for LGBTQ gatherings were primarily located in small “bohemian” or counterculture communities in places like New Orleans’ French Quarter, New York’s Greenwich Village, and San Francisco’s Barbary coast before the first world war. Many were small and low-key establishments, as not to draw too much attention to themselves and avoid discrimination. After the first world war, gay bars began to fade into the background due to a new public perception of homosexuality and cross-dressing as a mental disorder. It wasn’t until 1948 when Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a biologist, and professor who founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, developed a “Heterosexual—Homosexual Rating Scale” (the “Kinsey Scale”) that homosexual attraction was scientifically established as a natural human phenomenon. Gay bars began to flourish across the United States.

World War II was especially a turning point, as more women joined the workforce and closeted gay men returned from the war. Despite how many gay bars there were at this time, they were forced to stay somewhat discreet. For many people with same-sex attraction and transgender or gender non-conforming individuals, gay bars were a safe space for both closeted and “out” people to be themselves, find romantic partners, and seek community.


Despite many scientific studies and academic research proving homosexuality as natural human behavior, LGBTQ establishments still face discrimination on all fronts. During the ’50s, Joseph McCarthy, a Republican US Senator, ignited the “Lavender” scare, which alienated gay people as “enemies of the nation.” Due to this scare, many gay bars were investigated by police and, in some cases, raided by undercover cops. This caused many to attempt to rid themselves of a police presence by aligning with criminals for added security. Eventually, tensions peaked, and many gay bars began defending themselves. One of the most notable historical events in these episodes of raids was the Stonewall Inn riots in 1969 San Francisco.

Gay Bars

The riots lasted six days and sparked people with same-sex attraction and transgender or gender non-conforming individuals to fight back against the police. During the Stonewall Inn riots and other bar raids, many people targeted were trans women. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are two trans women of color credited as significant figures during the riots at Stonewall. The publicity and attention that the Stonewall riots received was the beginning of the major gay and lesbian liberation movements that helped establish LGBTQ rights within the United States today.


Gay bars have endured many struggles and have stood the test of time with riots and the HIV/AIDs epidemic of the ‘80s. Gay bars may be considered less essential to the LGBTQ community now, as society has become more accepting, and the community has more options regarding where they can socialize. However, now, especially during pride month, the gay bar remains a respected establishment and monument of LGBTQ history for being a beacon of hope for an oppressed group of people. While most beverage establishments are merely seen as a place for social events and leisure, we proudly acknowledge how essential bars are to the LGBTQ community.



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Written on June 16, 2022.

Juneteenth is a national holiday dedicated to not only the end of slavery within the United States, but to also celebrate African Americans’ history, culture, and contributions.  Although it is a recent national holiday, it has been celebrated for years, and here at Flavorman, we believe in uplifting those accomplishments and achievements as well. African Americans in the past and now are making bold innovations in the beverage industry. Not only do we want to uplift those that are making drinks, but also those that have a hand in helping the beverage industry grow and reach new audiences. At Flavorman, we want to celebrate 5 people within the African diaspora who are innovators in the beverage world.

Nathan Green- Master Distiller 

There are a lot of unsung and unnoticed African Americans that have helped shape the modern world through inventions and skills. Through obscurity, Nathan Green was almost one of those individuals lost to the sands of time. Still, thanks to the research of 20 Journalists, historians, archivists, archaeologists, conservators, and genealogists, his story has been brought to the light.

Nathan Green was born into slavery and was freed with the ratification of slavery. Green was owned by a preacher named Dan Col,  and continued to work with Col in his side-hustle of distilling whisky after the ratification of slavery. Dan Col took in a boy who would later be known as “Jack Daniel” who wanted to be involved in the whisky distilling business. Not much older than Jack, Green was charged to teach him the technique of distilling Tennessee whisky. Green derived his method from West Africa called “sugar-maple-charcoal” filtering. It was also known as the “the Lincoln County process,” and it was a method of distilling whiskey that gave it a unique smoothness. Once Jack got older, he made a career selling whiskey around town and to soldiers during the civil war. When Jack got older, he bought the distilling business from Dan Col and hired Nathan, or “Uncle Nearest” as he liked to call him, as the first master distiller of Jack Daniel’s whiskey company. Jack would later employ green’s sons Eli, Lewis, and George in the business.

Nathan Green’s contribution to the whiskey industry went unnoticed for years, but his work in establishing one of the most well-known alcohol beverages shouldn’t go unnoticed. Nathan Green’s methods are not only innovative in his use of whiskey distilling at the time, but it also touches back to the African roots from which he had been ripped away, making his story and contribution more unique. Thanks to those dedicated historians, and with some endorsement from actor Jeffery Wright, Nathan Green was finally given his own whisky brand in 2019 with the Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey company. The premium whiskey has now earned 450 awards for three consecutive years, is available in all 50 states, and has been dubbed on the website as the “Malt Disney world.

 Mikaila Ulmer- Me and the Bees Lemonade 

One of the youngest entrepreneurs and beverage innovators at 17 years old, Mikaila Ulmer, is the C.E.O. and inventor of “Me and the Bees Lemonade.” Years ago, Ulmer was stung by a bee twice. To ease her pain Ulmer learned about Bees and suddenly became fascinated with what they contributed to the overall ecosystem. One day her parents told her about a Children’s Business competition, and Ulmer got the idea to use her grandmother’s “flaxseed” lemonade recipe. To make the lemonade more unique, Ulmer thought back to her fascination with bees and decided that instead of using sugar for her lemonade, she would use honey from bees. In wanting to preserve the life and the ecosystem the bees helped to maintain, Ulmer dedicates a percentage of her lemonade sales to organizations that help save bees. Ulmer’s business motto is “Buy a bottle, save a bee.”

Ulmer’s lemonade grew in popularity in Austin, Texas, and is now sold in Whole Foods, Fresh Market, World Market, and H-E-B across the state, as well as Kroger stores and Vitamin cottage natural stores. Not only does Mikaila Ulmer work with environmental organizations such as the “Healthy Hive Foundation,” but she has also published a book titled Bee Fearless, Dream Like a Kid. Ulmer’s innovations and ideas are not only in the beverage industry but also in the overall preservation of the ecosystem and the bees, which are in danger of extinction.

Marc Farrell- Ten to One Rum

A Trinidadian native, Marc Farrell not only made a delicious rum from authentic Caribbean ingredients but has also used the rum to connect more people with Caribbean culture and history. An M.I.T., Cambridge, and Harvard Business school graduate, Marc Farrell became the youngest Vice President of Starbucks. After leaving the position, Farrell became fascinated with the public perception that rum carried. Farrell wanted to take the image and connotation of rum away from its roots in slavery, pirating, and British colonialism and imbue it with Caribbean history and culture that is proud and strong.

The flavoring and ingredients of “Ten to one” rum are also authentic to Caribbean culture; the dark rum blends bourbon-aged Barbadian, Dominican, Jamaican, and Trinidadian rums with no added flavoring or sugar. The white version of the rum blends Jamaican pot-still rum and Dominican column-still rum with zesty jasmine and honeysuckle.

Marc Farrell is a trailblazer for his company and to the rum industry overall. Farrell is making his rum more authentic and closer to the culture that helped produce rum, and he is also using his product to promote other Caribbean artists with clothing brands and musicians associated with the brand, including Ciera and those of the “New Calypso” movement.

Tamala Austin- J.I.V.E. Juice 

Houston Texas native Tamala Austin is the founder and C.E.O. of a juice and smoothie company known as J.I.V.E. juice which stands for “Juice Is Very Essential.” After receiving a diagnosis of high blood pressure, Tamala started seriously thinking about her health and wellness. Around this time, she began creating juices and smoothies made from natural fruits and ingredients for herself. Eventually, Tamala started selling the juice and smoothies out of her Texas house and became famous through word-of-mouth marketing. Austin’s juice and smoothies grew more popular, and suddenly J.I.V.E. juice was born! As a certified health professional, Tamala Austin believes “Your health is your wealth. Your health is our business.”

When the company expanded, the J.I.V.E. juice company became the first business owned by an African American to be shelved and stocked in Whole Foods. Her juice and smoothies are guaranteed to help boost your energy, improve your digestion, and improve your immune system. The J.I.V.E. team can also customize drinks with the clients’ health in mind and made with natural fruit ingredients free of additive sugars or fats.

Tamala Austin and her J.I.V.E. company are innovators because they are not only making strides within the juice and beverage world but making a definitive and conscious effort to make their products healthy for the customers. Many brands and companies seek to make a profit, and while J.I.V.E. does charge, they also aim to please and help the customer for their long-term health and wellness.

Andra Aj Johnson- Beverage Director

Although she’s mainly known for being a beverage director, Andra Aj Johnson has worn multiple hats within the food and beverage industry since she was 14. An Afro-Latino who grew up in the black and urban neighborhoods of Washington, DC, Andra Johnson is a managing partner and director of her of her own restaurant and bar Serenata , a bar director, and a cocktail mixologist. As a hospitality industry leader, Andra Johnson is level 1 in the Court of master sommeliers and a Cicerone-certified beer server, is only some of the few accomplishments that demonstrate her wide-range of skills and knowledge. She also spearheads an initiative cocktail program, called “Back to Black,” which strives to raise funds and donate to overlooked and underfunded charities and organizations in Washington, DC, especially those within urban neighborhoods.

Andra Johnson is a cut above the rest for not only wearing many different hats in the food and beverage industry but also for using cocktails and drinks to tell stories. Johnson loves to use the combination of cocktail ingredients to reflect a culture, a moment in history, or her people. “Crafting cocktails is a gateway to storytelling and collaboration. Each cocktail is imbued with a meaning and a story to tell.” Andra Johnson intends to share her industry knowledge and tell more stories in her upcoming book White Plates, Black Faces.   

All kinds of people are accomplishing innovations and excellent achievements. If Juneteenth has taught us anything, it’s that we should work to recognize and celebrate the works of the different cultures we encounter in our lives. The five people we listed are certainly not the only ones making significant changes within the beverage industry. We at Flavorman encourage clients to seek and shout out people from underrepresented communities who are inventing and creating new beverages that will change how the world drinks.

Do you have a great drink idea? Our team of beverage experts can help you bring it to life–and change what the world is drinking. Get started by filling out this webform or by giving us a call at (502) 273-5214.

Written on January 6, 2022.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 06, 2022) Flavorman, a leading custom beverage development company, has announced a new drink flavor to sum up 2021 — “Nada Colada.”

Flavorman made headlines in 2020 when it created a drink flavor coined “Dumpster Fire,” which helped sum up the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The flavor fittingly incorporated spicy, smoky ginger hints alongside bittersweet grapefruit to coincide with the sentiment that the year resembled flaming trash.

The Flavorman team is back at it again, and for 2021, has crafted another beverage flavor to sum up another challenging and, frankly, lackluster year. The year was filled with slow starts and sudden stops, spinning wheels with little traction and a sense of getting nothing meaningful accomplished. We waited for the tide to turn and as we took two steps forward and took one or two back. The Flavorman team has dubbed 2021’s flavor “Nada Colada,” which, if it was a drink, would include no flavor at all, no color, no sweetness or sour – it would be a bland beverage that tastes like nothing, nada.

“When you think of a ‘nothing’ flavor, you think of flat carbonation or a soft drink without syrup. Or, a glass of slightly infused water left stagnant overnight,” said David Dafoe, Founder and CEO of Flavorman. “We thought 2021 would be a positive year but it just felt like a slow-motion continuation of 2020 with unfulfilled hope of a return to normal, so we are naming the beverage and flavor ‘Nada Colada’ and hoping next year’s flavor will be much more exciting for us all. The positive is that 2022’s flavor should be much more enticing since we’re starting from nothing.”

The Flavorman team will create a flavor annually to represent the year.


ABOUT FLAVORMAN: Founded by David Dafoe in 1992, Flavorman is a custom beverage development company located in the heart of Bourbon country. Flavorman works with companies and entrepreneurs– big and small –to develop everything from energy drinks to flavored spirits and more. With 30 years in the industry and almost 75,000 beverage formulations, Flavorman has helped create thousands of household staples and iconic brands that have defined generations — and changed what the world is drinking. For more information, visit www.flavorman.com

Written on September 22, 2021.

If someone asked you to describe the flavor of root beer soda, what would you say? We’re betting you might struggle to find an answer–or that your answer might vary greatly from your peers. There’s a good reason for that.

Root beer sports an elusive profile that has had consumers around the world scratching their heads for generations. The truth is that there’s no truly authentic root beer recipe and, in fact, recipes differ between brands as well as around the globe.

Get to the root of root beer with us as we explore the origins of this classic drink, how it evolved into a beloved soda, and why it continues to change what the world is drinking.

An Indigenous Medicine Becomes A Colonial Treat

Root beer owes it beginnings to the indigenous populations of early America. Far before colonists arrived on our young nation’s shores, native people were already using different parts of the sassafras tree to create medicinal tonics and delicious cuisines, alike.

Every part of the plant–from the leaves all the way down to its roots–was utilized to create tisanes (herbal teas) and throat-coating syrups to treat respiratory conditions and stomach problems. It was also not uncommon for natives to consume the young leaves at leisure or use the fruit to make jelly or wine.

While the leaves provided a fresh lemony aroma, it was the roots that delivered what we identify today as a distinctly “root beer” profile. As colonists settled in the Americas, they learned the recipes for various food and drink from the natives, and root beer was one such invention embraced by these newcomers.

Colonists had long enjoyed “small beers”, essentially alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages made from herbs, berries, and bark. These drinks, which included birch beer and ginger beer were already a part of the diets of most European settlers, so similar beers made from American ingredients like sassafras root did not seem too unfamiliar to try. It didn’t take long for settlers to acquire a taste for root beer.

In fact, the colonists enjoyed these earliest forms of root beer so much, that records identify it as a favorite among 18th century farmers. As homebrewers, these farmers would often prepare their own versions of the stuff for social events, family celebrations, and parties. Even our founding fathers kept records of their favorite root beer recipes. Talk about American history!

Making Early Root Beer

In addition to sassafras root, common ingredients of the time included sarsaparilla, dandelion root, guaiacum chips, dog grass, and more. When you are living in an uncultivated country, you can’t afford to be picky, so many of these ingredients ended up in root beer. Yep, not quite what you might expect to find in your modern soft drink.

So, how was early root beer made?

Well, the process usually started out with boiled water. Ingredients would be heated in water to create a wort. Sweeteners like molasses, honey, or maple syrup were then added along with yeast and more water. Finally, the mixture could be barreled to ferment. The length of the fermentation process determined the final alcohol content of the beer, as well as its level of carbonation.

This process is surely what inspired the first commercial root beer recipe–ironically the brainchild of a teetotaling pharmacist.


The First Commercial Root Beer

Most people don’t spend their honeymoon seeking out inspiration for their next entrepreneurial venture, but we’re assuming Charles Hires wasn’t most people. In fact, you can thank Hires for contributing to the widespread popularity of root beer we enjoy today.

It all starts in 1875. While on his honeymoon, Hires discovered and developed a taste for an herbal “root tea,” taking the recipe home with him to Philadelphia. There, he tinkered with the recipe and became the first to market root beer as a commercial product.

The packaged dry blend contained 16 ingredients and was introduced to the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876. One package of his product cost 25 cents and could create five gallons of the finished drink. Consumers loved it.

Encouraged by the enthusiastic response, Hires soon re-formulated his dry blend into a liquid concentrate of the drink, which included nearly 30 different herbs, berries, and roots. By 1893, he had established a successful business in selling bottles of his famous brew.

Seeing an opportunity, other brands would later emerge and market similar products of their own. Barq’s launched in 1898, followed by followed by A&W in 1919. Dad’s Old Fashioned made its debut in the late 1930s, becoming the first product to utilize the standard six-pack packaging format we enjoy for most beverage products today. Originally marketed as “Belfast Root Beer,” Mug was then created during the 1940s.

Today, these four brands remain the most widely distributed root beer products globally, with A&W dominating as the number one in root beer sales worldwide.


Root Beer, Every Way!

We know what you’re thinking–what’s the deal with all of these root beer brands? While brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi dominate the cola market, root beer doesn’t seem to have any one clear winner–at least in so far as consumer tastes are concerned.

Sure, we can see that A&W brings in the most sales for the category, but debates surrounding which root beer brand reigns supreme in flavor usually tend to skew towards the complicated–much more so than the question of “coke or pepsi.”

While root beer has developed a few accepted characteristics–it’s bubbly, brown, sweet, and non-alcoholic–that’s where the similarities stop. Just like the homebrews of the early days of “root tea” and small beers, root beer today continues to be a diverse beverage category with a profile that can be hard to describe.

Medium has attempted to sort through the web of flavors, grouping popular root beer brands by their core profile. “Sharpy pungent” styles of root beer are spicier, sometimes even more bitter or astringent. Brands like Barq’s and Dads Old Fashioned appear in this category, plus the Australian brand Bundaberg. Medium’s head-scratching “sweet and creamy” and “smooth and creamy” groupings present two additional categories for the soda, with subtle differences that again speak to the challenge of nailing down a classic root beer profile.

Our Chief Flavorist, Tom Gibson, has his own take on what constitutes a root beer, then and now:

“There are a variety of flavor profiles of root beer on the market, but at the heart is a wintergreen profile with secondary vanilla, anise, and herbal, earthy notes. Traditionally, the sassafras tree root was blended with other herbs and spices to either enhance that defining wintergreen quality or provide earthier, herbal notes and enhanced flavor. Vanilla was later added to provide a creamier, smoother profile that takes the edge off of the bitter astringency. Over time, root beer has evolved and contained ingredients like allspice, burdock root, sarsaparilla root, yellow dock root, ginger root, juniper berries, wild cherry bark, birch bark, anise, lemon, wintergreen, and more.”

Modern beverage manufacturers continue to utilize some of these components along with a combination of flavorings, sweeteners, carbonation, and caffeine, but there continues to be no single way of making a great root beer product–that’s an exciting prospect for beverage creators.

When you’re ready to talk about your idea for the world’s next root beer soda, give us a call at (502) 273-5214 or get started with this web form.


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Written on September 8, 2021.

As the name suggests, milkshakes are typically dairy based. Prepared using ice cream and milk (or milk alternatives), a great milkshake also includes fun add-ins like fruit, candies, and nuts. With an equation like that, it’s hard to go wrong during your search for the perfect frozen treat. Of course, we didn’t say there weren’t favorites… Enter, the chocolate milkshake.

The staple of first dates, slumber parties, and guilty late-night indulgence, the chocolate milkshake is the king of classics. Whether you’re a chocolate lover or not, there is a milkshake for any occasion–and chocolate tends to taste great at any time of day.

In honor of National Chocolate Milkshake Day this September 12, we’re proving it to you with a full menu of chocolatey shakes to enjoy all day long as you celebrate.


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make it better with a milkshake.

Start your morning off like royalty with a rich pancake breakfast milkshake. A far cry from the standard breakfast smoothie, this recipe from Tastemade provides a full spread sure to delight the brunch crowd.

All you need to make your milkshake is whole milk, vanilla extract, vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream, and whipped cream to top it off. Sound a little plain? That’s because the pancake add-ins are the star.

For the pancakes, you can either whip them up homemade with all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, eggs, and butter, or grab your favorite boxed mix. Don’t forget to pay homage to the “chocolate” part of Chocolate Milkshake Day by adding a scoop of chocolate chips into your pancake batter.

Cook the pancakes as normal and when they are cooled, blend a few into your shake mix. Top with whipped cream, more chocolate chips, and a drizzle of maple syrup and you’ve got an instant diner special!


You might think your usual lunchtime sandwich is a bore, but that’s because you’ve never tried it in milkshake form.

Take your childhood peanut butter and jelly sandwich to the next level of decadence with this chocolate PB&J milkshake, courtesy of The Food Network’s Sunny Anderson.

Just blend together chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, and chocolate (or regular) milk, then add to a glass drizzled with raspberry or strawberry jam. To finish it off, garnish with whipped cream, chopped peanuts, and maraschino cherries and behold–another reason to look forward to your lunch hour.

Need a pick-me-up instead? Try a mocha milkshake from Sarah Cook at BBC’s Good Food. With only four ingredients, you can power through fixing up this tasty chocolate milkshake until you get your caffeine.

Simply chop up some plain chocolate and place it into a large jug with 1 tablespoon of coffee granules. Boil your choice of milk and pour over the chocolate and coffee mix, stirring until it is melted.

When it cools, tip the mocha solution into a blender with vanilla ice cream (or chocolate, for an especially chocolately profile) and blend. You can also add a shot of cooled espresso if you need the added boost.

Top with whipped cream and grated chocolate–and enjoy!


We’ve all been told to have dinner before dessert, but what if you made dessert for dinner instead?

Then, just to make things more interesting, take a classic fancy dinner dessert and turn it into a milkshake, too–after all, turning dreams into beverages is what we do. The dreamiest dessert-gone-beverage? A chocolate-covered strawberry cheesecake milkshake.

This recipe is the brainchild of Faithfully Gluten Free. To make this romantic meal for two, you’ll need to have chocolate fudge or syrup, graham crackers, vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, milk, and cream cheese.

Prepare the glasses first to ensure a great experience. Pour the chocolate sauce into a bowl and dip the rim of your serving glasses, dusting with graham cracker crumbs. Coat the inside of the cups with more chocolate sauce.

When you are ready to make your shakes, blend together the ice cream, strawberries, milk, and cream cheese, then pour into your prepared glasses. Top with whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs, and a chocolate-covered strawberry and serve with love.

Your sweetie will applaud your thoughtfulness on date night and you won’t even have to do too many dishes. It’s a win-win!

One last tip before we go: don’t forget to dress warm and loosen that waistband. Happy sipping!

Do you have a great drink idea? Our team of beverage experts can help you bring it to life–and change what the world is drinking. Get started by filling out this webform or by giving us a call at (502) 273-5214.


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