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Soak It Up

Chef Robert Fathman, of Azure in Boston’s Lenox Hotel,
started experimenting with infusions years ago when he
happened to have an overstock of fresh figs at the
restaurant where he worked. Rather than toss them out, he
poured bourbon on them, added some cinnamon and vanilla, and
an infusion was born. Fathman continued creating infusions
of all sorts and, before long, customers at both the Azure
restaurant and the hotel’s City Bar were being treated to
original infusion cocktails. Fast forward to 2OO2 when
Brandon Bach and his sharp mind for business entered the
picture. The two hatched a plan to market Fathman’s infused
spirits in 2OO3 and the dream was realized this past
November when Infusion Diabolique Bourbon and Infusion
Angelique Tequila were launched followed by the recent
release of their third spirit, Infusion Diabolique Rum. At
the moment, BRIX Wine Shop in the South End is the sole, not
to mention proud, retailer carrying the line. You can,
however, order it at several Boston area restaurants and
bars. Plans are also in the works for the line to be made
available this year via online mail order through Town Wine
& Spirits in Rumford, Rhode Island. The response thus
far to Infusionique has been extremely positive, and while
the company is mainly focused on the current three spirits,
who knows what the future may hold.

So what,
exactly, goes into these infusions? Fathman doesn’t give
away all his trade secrets, but he does offer a short
description of the spirits. The Diabolique Bourbon features
Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey infused with fresh and dried figs,
cinnamon and vanilla bean. The Diabolique Rum uses premium
Virgin Island rum infused with lemon, orange and ginger.
Lastly, the Angelique Tequila is made with 1OO% blue agave
tequila that is infused with fresh mango, lime and Hawaiian
pineapple. As for the names Diabolique and Angelique,
Fathman’s contention is that all of us have both diabolical
and angelic parts to us.

Bach attended Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and during
his senior year decided to go into business for himself. He
established himself as a reputable labor broker and was
cruising right along when he decided he needed a change.
Bach had always been interested in food and the restaurant
business. For a birthday present one year, his aunt arranged
for Bach to go into the kitchen of Azure and observe Chef
Fathman in his element. This segued into a job for Bach at
Azure and was also the start of an important business
relationship and friendship between him and Fathman. It
wasn’t long before Fathman told Bach he wanted to take his
infused spirits to market and needed a business partner.
Given Bach’s business background, he was a natural choice.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Much time was
spent sourcing alcohol, sourcing the other ingredients,
getting proper licensing, doing research and perfecting the
formulas. “It took 4 to 5 months of sourcing – tasting
different products before we found the products that worked
for us,” explains Bach. A key relationship was established
with distributor M.S. Walker in Somerville where the three
Infusionique brands are produced. There, each spirit is
hand-bottled, mouth-tested and hand-signed by either Bach or
Fathman. This attention to detail has really added to the
success of the line. “The demand right now is outstripping
our supply, so we’re always playing catch up,” says

purchase all our alcohol at cask strength. It comes in after
being distilled,” says Bach of the Kentucky bourbon, Mexican
tequila and rum from the Virgin Islands used in the
infusions. Bach explains that the reason for producing at
M.S. Walker is because they have a D.S.P. (Distilled Spirits
Plant) license that allows them to handle product before it
is taxed. M.S. Walker also handles things on the purchasing
end. “We purchase through them because Robert and I
personally can’t afford these licenses on our own,” says
Bach. Though things with M.S. Walker have gone well, there
were some frustrating hoops to jump through along the way.
Bach explained that is was particularly tricky getting the
necessary recipe approval from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax
& Trade Bureau.

unlikely that this will ever be a mass-marketed,
turn-and-burn line of spirits. Both Fathman and Bach are
extremely concerned with how they market Infusionique and
where it is carried. Before the line was launched, Bach was
adamant about it not being available at a retail level. “I
didn’t want to sell retail at all because we knew that
Boston already liked the product,” he says. Bach also had
concerns about the product’s limited production capacity.
Despite this, Fathman convinced Bach to stick his head in at
the BRIX Wine Shop. It turns out that Fathman knew what he
was doing when he sent his partner in there. “So I went in
and immediately I knew this was the place I would sell my
product,” says Bach. His reasons were that the staff is so
knowledgeable about everything they sell. Another factor was
that BRIX is very exclusive in what they carry. Bach was
also won over by the location and design of the interior
space of the shop. “Everything worked,” he says adding that
“We don’t have a marketing budget; it’s up to us to place
the product in spots that give the product an air of
respectability.” As for BRIX, they couldn’t be more pleased
with the relationship. Co-owner Carri Wroblewski comments,
“We were very excited about the products after tasting them.
We could tell they were using top quality spirits and that
they were infusing them with good quality ingredients. I
think they were really looking for a store that took their
spirits seriously. They didn’t want to be lost in a lot of
wine shops and liquor shops where they’ve got 25 different
bourbons or 25 tequilas,” says Wroblewski. As for the best
selling of the three, which all come in 75Oml bottles and
retail for $35, the Diabolique Bourbon is the front-runner.
BRIX is certainly open to other offerings from Infusionique.
“As long as they keep it real, as long as they use the best
spirits that they can using the freshest ingredients and
they don’t sacrifice the quality which I can’t imagine them
doing, I would definitely be up for it,” says

are about two dozen or so restaurants that carry the
Infusionique spirits in and around Boston, all of them with
reputations for high quality cocktails and creative drink
menus. Executive Chef Jerome Watkins (and this month’s cover
boy) of South Kitchen & Wine Bar says the two that he
carries, the bourbon and rum, do well. “You introduce it to
different people and they like it,” he explains. Watkins
says that for the most part, customers prefer it served as
is, though it’s also been served chilled in a martini.
“Generally, people like to sip on it while they relax at the
bar and listen to the jazz,” he says. Watkins also says that
his bartender, Brooks Doten, has concocted some drinks using
the Infusionique rum and bourbon when customers have
expressed an interest in experimenting. Then of course,
there’s the question of using it in food recipes. “We talked
about doing some dessert sauces with Robert Fathman,” says
Watkins. Although it never happened, it could very well be
something Watkins decides to pursue. Brandon Bach comments
that the word from many of the restaurants they are now in
was that they couldn’t wait for it to be released. “Before
we even came out with it people were saying we want it
behind our bar,” says Bach. What does a restaurant need to
do in order to carry the Infusionique spirits? Bach explains
it this way: “Basically they have to take their food and
beverage program seriously. They also haveto have servers
who consider their job a profession; we want servers and
bartenders who can explain the product. We don’t want out
product being sold in plastic cups to a bunch of 22-year-old
valley girls.”

Burgis, Sales Representative from M.S. Walker, handles the
Infusionique spirits line and is quite happy so far with its
progress. “It’s doing very well in restaurants that have
knowledgeable bar staff,” she says. “As soon as bartenders
and buyers taste it, they want to instantly mix a cocktail
and experiment with flavors,” she adds. Burgis also explains
that sometimes the initial sell can be a challenge with
something as unique as Infusionique. “Some customers buy a
bottle to see how it sells and usually within two weeks they
are ordering a six pack.” As for BRIX Wine Shop, Burgis is
pleased on that front as well. “They have sold over 4O cases
of the bourbon infusion so far,” she says.


“We really want to get up to Portland, Maine, Portsmouth,
New Hampshire and Providence, Rhode Island,” says Bach. He
hopes that once they are established in those three cities
then they can set their sights set on an even bigger prize.
“Once our production capacity is really up there, we hope to
not only be in the small cities surrounding Boston, but also
major markets such as New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Las
Vegas, Chicago, and what have you.” Bach also says that new
flavors may be developed. “There’s always things we’re
thinking of. As of now, we have to dedicate ourselves to the
three products we’ve launched and take them

Noche Loca

Created by Trina Sturm, City Bar, Boston
1.5 ounces Infusion Angelique
8-19 mint leaves
3/4 ounce Mango puree
Champagne to taste
Shake the first four ingredients over ice, pour
into an ice rimmed martini glass and float
champagne on top

Created by Trina Sturm, City Bar, Boston
1.5 ounces Infusion Diabolique Rum
3/4 ounce Passion fruit puree
3/4 ounce Pineapple juice
Soda water-as needed
Shake the first three ingredients in a Boston
shaker with ice, pour into a rocks

New Old-Fashioned

Created by Jackson Cannon, Eastern Standard,
2 ounces Infusion Diabolique

1/2 ounce Sweet Vermouth
3/4 ounce Lillet
Orange slice
Dash of bitters
Muddle the orange slice, cherry and bitters
together in a glass. Add the Diabolique Bourbon,
vermouth and lillet. Stir and add

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