Spirits with long histories always have charm when it comes to their age. Finest Roots spirits combine experience of four generations of distilling. Needless to say the name of the product describes the quality which is brought to consumers. Today, I have an opportunity to get a little bit more information by talking to Nikolas Smyrlakis, co-founder of Finest Roots Spirits.
Greece indeed has a very rich tradition of flavours & aromas. But also greek nature has an incredible variety of indigenous and special ingredients. Given this, Roots have their ‘roots’ on old greek recipes and unique ingredients from the greek nature. This was our philosophy in the first place: by going “back to our roots”, to introduce to the world the wealth of traditional flavours that Greece has to offer, in a modern, all natural and premium manner.
Roots are a family of four products: Mastiha, Tentura, Rakomelo & Herb Spirit. Mastiha is a tree resin, which can be found only in the south part of greek island Chios. Mastiha was the first ever chewing gum and had many uses in cooking and medicine since the ancient Greece times. Always a rare and expensive treat, Roots Mastiha is a distillate of the unique Mastiha tree resin. Tentura is a cinnamon liqueur, originating from Western Greece.
Roots tentura is a real natural sweet cinnamon kick. Rakomelo literally means raki (grape pomace distillate, similar to grappa) and meli (greek word for honey). On the Cyclades islands and on Crete island people used to warm up raki for the winter blended with honey, and this is how the Rakomelo recipe originated. Finally Herb Spirit is the first greek bitter liqueur, based on the dittany of Crete herb, a rare and almost ‘magical’ herb with the first reports on its properties dating back to Artistotle.
The family of Roots is a range of greek premium, yet traditional liqueurs, that can be enjoyed easily neat at home or mixed, from home made long drinks to high level mixology concoctions, found in some of the best bars in the world.
There are many secrets behind good quality liquors. I would focus on three aspects. The most important part is the ingredients that are used. It is absolutely necessary to source only the best natural and unique ingredients. The second part is the production process. There are fast and easy ways to produce liqueurs and then there are lengthy processes carefully planned in order to extract and maintain the most precious aromas of the ingredients, by providing at the same time a full and balanced taste. Of course in order to be able to do this comes the third important factor, which is experience. Experience is essential, blended with a little bit of taste and enthusiasm.
Definitely consumers nowadays are becoming more aware. Young people and millennials want to know everything, and when that comes to drinking, they like to know what they are drinking, how and where it is made and why they are drinking it. Additionally bartenders themselves are much better educated than in the past on their subject, and they are willingly spreading this knowledge to their customers. Consumers have become specific and strict on what they want, demanding higher quality everywhere, from drinking at home to experiencing cocktails at a bar. This has raised the bar of product quality across the industry.
The variety of different spirits, as well as the number of new brands that have emerged, is huge. I would say that the quality standards of many new brands, as well as the old champions of course, is very high. With so many good products in the market the competition is very strong, which of course in the end of the day is a great thing for the consumers ! In this landscape, Roots combine the highest quality ingredients with an original philosophy in liqueurs, based on tradition, and this is what makes Roots stand out.
I would say the market poses many challenges, and not threats. A big challenge is to manage to stand among the multinational corporations on equal terms. Another challenge is to be to be able to inspire people with different cultures, coming from totally different backgrounds, to embrace our values and understand what our products, ingredients and tradition stand for. Finally a possible threat might be the differential alcohol tax regimes that constantly change and have been raising recently.
In a young start up company, in the beginning you have to do a little bit of everything. My brother Manos and me from day 1 have shared all the main roles, from financing and logistics to selling booze on the street. This could be tough, so you need to love it !
That it is definitely not as easy as it seems, but is definitely even more exciting than it seems !
For more information visit Finest Roots Spirits website.