Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur was a hobby before becoming a company. For years, co-owner Josh Morton made liqueurs for dinner parties, before launching the product in 2013 at the urging of friends.
A spicy cocktail component, the all-natural liqueur is handmade from Peruvian and Chinese ginger roots, which are processed, aged with neutral cane spirits, pressed, and then mixed with sugar and water.
I recently caught up with Morton and Co-owner Eve Alintuck to discuss the craft liqueur.
BD: What differentiates Barrow’s from other liqueurs?
JM: It’s an alcohol, not a syrup, so it’s more versatile. There’s nothing else like it now on the market. And liqueurs enable you to make more cocktails. People are always looking for ways to separate themselves with new and different flavors, and everyone loves ginger.
EA: I think we can’t really talk about differentiating the product without first talking about the product’s quality. We’re all about the ginger. There are no chemicals or additives. It’s very organic.
BD: How much does Barrow’s depend on the holiday season?
JM: Obviously we see a bump around the holidays, because the whole category does, but not to the extent of others. I wouldn’t sell something that sits and sits on shelves. My stuff is collaborative with most other alcohol products. That also means it’s not competing against other spirits.
BD: How does your product play in the craft market?
EA: We try to focus on doing one thing and doing it really, really well. If someone says they’re not a ginger fan, then perhaps this product isn’t for them. We don’t try to be everything to everyone. The uniqueness of Barrow’s is the honesty of our promise to be all about the ginger.
JM: If you’re selling craft products, it’s perfect for you. At the same time, we’re not necessarily competing against other local products. Barrow’s has got a lot more flexibility than other things on the market. It lends itself well to being in cocktails. It gets on menus and stays on menus. We give out a list of 40 classic cocktails that can be intensified with our ginger liqueur
BD: What’s the response been?
EA: What’s been a great surprise is the fan-like response people have to our product. People really get into it. I had been a single-malt drinker, and thought I didn’t like liqueurs. Then Barrow’s came along and made me realize there’s so much more out there.
JM: It’s been exciting finding out all the different ways bartenders use it. I walked into one place and the bartender was using it in a brunch cocktail with vodka and carrot juice.
It also goes well with hellfire bitters. Together they hit two different parts of the palate. The top of the tongue gets the pepper of the bitters, while the back gets the ginger. One bartender was making a beer cocktail with Corona, a shot of Barrows, Hellfire bitters (or hot sauce), a squeeze of lime, and salt on the top, but not around the rim.
I even made a milkshake, with Kahlua and ice cream. It turned out amazing. I started cooking with it, too. You can do really nice glazes with it. It also makes for nice marinades. My friends have also made crème brule, jams, ginger-red cakes.