Local Dish: An Interview with Eli Mason Plus a Giveaway!

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Eli Mason

Hello!  I am super excited about this Friday’s post because I get to introduce Luke Duncan, the founder of Eli Mason.  Eli Mason is a Nashville company specializing in cocktail mixes and syrups that I love.  I actually met Luke earlier this year at a cocktail festival.  At the time he was just starting to turn Eli Mason into a full-time job.  Since then, his cocktail syrups have been getting rave reviews all over Nashville.

Luke gave us a short interview – and he has generously provided a sample of products for a special giveaway!  Keep reading to get all the details.  And right now, we’ll turn the post over to Luke so he can tell you more about Eli Mason.

1. Can you give a brief description of Eli Mason’s products?

We make small-batch cocktail syrups to help you mix up classic, spirit-forward drinks at home. There are plenty of mixers on the market with corn syrup and artificial colors/flavors, but that’s not us.  We use only the best ingredients and we make every batch by hand right here in Nashville.

Our Old Fashioned and Mint Julep recipes are what we call Cocktail Mixers, which means you just add whiskey to create these classic cocktails.  But the Mint Julep especially is proving to be more versatile than originally intended.  You can use it to make mojitos, mules, mint hot chocolate, mint sweet tea, and much more.

Our Bar Basics line comprises single-ingredient syrups like you’ll find in the best cocktail bars.  We offer sugar syrups like Rich Simple, which is two parts sugar to one part water, and Demerara Syrup, which is made from unrefined sugar and retains some of the cane’s natural molasses (perfect for Rum and Tiki drinks, as well as coffee).

We also offer classic mixers like Gomme Syrup, which appears often in pre-prohibition recipes but is very hard to find today, and our newly released Classic Grenadine, made with pomegranate juice as the first ingredient.

2. How did Eli Mason get started? What inspired you?

 I spent years searching for the perfect, classic Old Fashioned recipe.  There are wildly divergent opinions on how to mix it.  Do you mush up a cherry in the glass?  Rye whiskey or bourbon?  What kind of bitters?  I just wanted to mix up a classic Old Fashioned cocktail at home.  Why was that so hard?

I somehow got the idea to try to put a classic Old Fashioned in a bottle for easy mixing at home (an idea, it should be noted, which is heretical to cocktail purists).  After months of tinkering, I had something good enough to share.

I gave out bottles as Christmas gifts, and one found its way into the hands of a local bar owner.  He called to order a case.  Then he called back to order two cases and I thought, “I should probably learn how to make this stuff legally,” which took another year from start to finish.  It’s been a long journey already but I hope it’s just beginning.

3. Where can our readers (local and not-so-local) find Eli Mason products?

In the Nashville area you can find us on the East side at Hey Rooster General Store, KORE in Edgehill Village, Savory Spice Shop in downtown Franklin, Hendersonville Produce in Sumner Co., as well as in numerous liquor stores like Red Dog Wine & Spirits and The Bottle Shop.  Find a location near you at our website.

Of course we ship anywhere in the US from our website and there are some awesome sets available through Batch that benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.

If you’re in Canada, you can find us at The Crafty Bartender.  In the UK, we’re available through Wishbox, and we’re also currently speaking with representatives in Mexico and Austria/Germany/Switzerland about expanding there.

4. Anything else you’d like to share? 

A Mississippi artist named Elayne Goodman told me, “Art should be fun; the marble Madonna’s already been done.”  I feel the same way about cocktails.

Cocktails should be fun, and everyone should feel free to participate in this tradition.  When you first start out, you will make some awful, awful drinks.  But you’ll begin to get the hang of it.  And then you can really start experimenting and putting your own spin on things.

The best part of this job is getting to do tastings and meet people.  I love hearing about your favorite cocktail … or your first cocktail … or your family’s weird holiday traditions.  If you ever see Eli Mason at an event, don’t be shy!  Whether you’re a mixology expert or a total noob, we want to hear from you.  Shoot us an email or reach out on social media.

Now, for the give-away!  One lucky reader will get a t-Shirt (size of your choice), a bottle of the Old Fashioned mixer, and a bottle of Demerara syrup!  To enter, just follow the rafflecopter instructions below!  Limited to US residents only.

Eli Mason

Whether you win or not, here’s some recipe inspiration for using Eli Mason’s great products:

  • Eli Mason’s own website has a cocktail recipe page that you don’t want to miss!
  • Nashville Blogger Southern Fatty created this spin on the amaretto sour called the Amaretto Southern using the Gomme Syrup.
  • Another Nashville blogger, So How’s It Taste created an Orange Crush cocktail using Eli Mason’s Grenadine. She says it’s the best grenadine out there!

To enter the giveaway, log in to the Rafflecopter box below using Facebook or your email address, then leave a comment on this post about your favorite cocktail. You can earn extra entries by following us or Eli Mason on Twitter! All entries must be received by noon on November 28.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Eli Mason is providing the items for the giveaway, but we were not given any product for review or compensated in any way.  All opinions are our own.  We just love to share great products with our readers!