I've been meaning to write this post for a while, so apologies that I haven't managed to until now.
As part of my blog, I want to discuss products and the producers of the products which interest and/or excite me. Today, I want to talk to you about a company called FAIR.
I was lucky enough to meet the global brand ambassador, Paul Bungener, at an event hosted by Divine Chocolate, where I was introduced to the brand and was taken not only by their products but by their ethos.
FAIR. agrees and they believe in giving back. They guarantee higher margins to producers, donate 2.5% of their turnover to the financing of local development programs and given where they source their ingredients they impact the farming communities in Bolivia, Belize, Uzbekistan, Paraguay and Malawi.
Founded in 2009 by Alexendre Koiransky, FAIR. have a range of spirits including vodka and liqueurs.
Their desire to combine French know-how and Fair Trade ingredients is what gave birth to their delicious range of products. They spend time sourcing the finest Fair Trade ingredients and have broken the mould when it comes to how they make their spirits. Vodka, traditionally made through fermenting cereal grains or potatoes, is shaken up by using quinoa seeds and is brewed and distilled in the Cognac region which gives a unique flavour. The quinoa is organically grown and Fair Trade certified and is sourced from 1200 independent farmers in the Bolivian Andes. It is a great full and delicate vodka that is drinkable on its own but equally as at home in a cocktail - especially in an espresso martini when paired with FAIR. Café Liqueur!
The liqueur is made from 100% Arabica coffee beans and infused into a vodka base to create a rich, full flavour. The coffee beans are sourced from a co-op of 1800 independent farmers in Mexico and are, of course, fair trade certified. Like the vodka, it is bottled in the Cognac region in France.
Not only are FAIR. a brand who give back, they are also award winning. Their vodka has won several awards including Best Vodka at the 2009 New York Spirits Awards, Best Tasting Vodka in the 50 Best Imports 2012 and a double gold medal at the Asian Spirits Masters 2014.
If, like me, you care about where your products come from and want to make sure that every farmer who has a hand in creating the products you buy gets something back, let me suggest you try FAIR. If you don't believe me, believe the awards, and if you don't believe the awards just try it and you'll definitely believe the taste.
Think Human. Drink FAIR.
If you want to try FAIR. for yourself (and I truly believe you should), you can buy it from Gerry's at 74 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4UW or online from 31dover.com.
Find FAIR. online at www.fairsprits.com; twitter @FAIRSpirits; instagram @fairspirits and facebook facebook.com/fairspirits
I am lucky these days to be able to attend lots of food festivals and meet a lot of chefs and stall holders – many of whom have now become friends. I have also been lucky enough to meet some very knowledgeable people and learn a lot from them.
Those who know me are aware of my penchant for rum and gin, and on a slightly tipsy wander around a food festival I had a hankering for a cocktail. Cue Adam Westbrook. Adam gave us a masterclass in how to make the perfect Mai Tai, along with sharing its history. As the conversation continued, Adam (or Westie as he’s known), told us that he teaches classes about the history of gin! What could be more fascinating to a gin and rum enthusiast such as myself!
According to Adam (and a little Wikipedia reminder – I was tipsy after all. Alright, alright, I was drunk. Happy now?!) there is some argument over when and where Mai Tai was invented. The stories are that it was created in 1944 by Victor J. Bergeron at Trader Vic’s in California or in 1933 by Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood. One thing that isn’t in contention is the name of the drink. Mai Tai comes from the Tahitian “Maita’i roa ae” which translates to ‘very good’ or ‘the best’. There are a lot of variations on the recipe, but the classic Mai Tai contains rum, Orgeat syrup (made from almonds, sugar, and either rose water or orange flower water), triple sec and lime juice served over ice. A version created in 1953 Matson Inc. commissioned Victor Bergeron to create a drink for their Royal Hawaiian Hotel which ended up being a variation on the Mai Tai with the addition of pineapple juice. It’s still served at the hotel today.
It became a very popular cocktail in the 1950s and 1960s (which for me is yet another reason to love it!) and was prominently featured in the film Blue Hawaii staring Elvis Presley, it has also become synonymous with Tiki culture.
How’s that for a history lesson!?
If you’re interested in either booking Adam for an event or want to go to one of his talks, please contact me and I will put you in touch with him. I would highly recommend it!