What’s shakin, cocktail fans? Welcome to Episode 238 of The Modern Bar Cart Podcast!
Thanks for joining us for another interview episode, where we track down the best and brightest minds in the spirits and cocktail world so that we can share their secrets with you. This time around, I’m joined by Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen, the co-founders of Empirical, a company that makes category-defying spirits designed to evoke poignant memories and spur positive change on a whole bunch of different levels.
In this wide-ranging conversation with Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen of Empirical, some of the topics we discuss include:
- How Mark and Lars met and bonded while working at the world-renowned Nordic Food Lab at the Michelin-star restaurant, Noma, and then spun their passion and expertise into a project that bottles flavorful memories.
- Why Empirical is referred to as a “Flavor Company,” as opposed to a distillery, rectifier, spirits purveyor, or any other typical moniker.
- The research and flavor building process that led to the development of their newest product: Soka, a spirit made using the fresh-pressed juice of sorghum cane, which they’re using as a way to spread the word about this regenerative, nitrogen-fixing crop.
- Why the density of flavor packed into these Empirical spirits impacts the way that they can be used in cocktails, specifically where sweetness is concerned.
- How Lars and Mark think about scaling the impact of their partnerships with farmers, using their adventures in Oaxaca as a case study for creating spirits that not only capture the flavor of a place, but also find ways to give back to it.
- Along the way, we explore sensory pathways in the brain, the importance of a beginner’s mindset, the socioeconomics of pasilla chiles, and much, much more.