One of my favorite hobbies as a crafty kid was embossing. After developing a pretty substantial stamp collection (my favorite stamp was a tiny porcupine), I quickly grew bored of the various stamp pads I had (even the tri-color pad could only thrill me so much). My mom helped me expand my horizons and invested in some embossing equipment: a “heat tool” (similar to a hair dryer), some embossing powder and a special clear ink pad. I started embossing everything: birthday party invitations, pen-pal letters from summer camp, even a menu for an anniversary dinner I made for my parents. I never took this hobby much further, knowing the next step was to work with hot wax and metal stamps, a craft used historically for sealing confidential envelopes. Though I have no hands on experience with this nostalgic art form, the folks at True Tonics have made it an elementary part of their packaging, branding each bottle of tonic with red wax and an ornate “T”.
Founded in 2014, True Tonics was created from the desire to bring natural ingredients into the contemporary cocktail scene. In the last decade, DC has been experiencing a true cocktail revolution, with many new bars opening each with a different focus. Some concentrate on the classics, making a perfect Sazerac or Manhattan, while others have been exploring new ingredients and flavor combinations (homemade carrot juice, lychee syrup, etc…) The folks at True Tonics found themselves swept up in this revolution but noticed that most of the basic cocktail ingredients were being mass produced using corn syrup and other chemically-based things. If we’re trying to make delicious cocktails, they thought, why not use delicious (and natural) ingredients to make them!
As they write on their website, “[e]ach batch of True Tonics Original Formula is made with high-quality ingredients…[like] cane sugar and cinchona bark” making for a very tasty mixer. Every bottle of Tonic is stamped with the batch number, reminding consumers that this is a handmade, thoughtful product. With a few recipes listed on their website, it’s not hard to make a delicious drink using True Tonic’s Original Tonic. Believe me, I’ve been experimenting.