Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what has been your professional path before bonbuz?
I'm a self-proclaimed wild gal turned sober-curious. Of Middle-eastern descent and having grown up in London and the south of Spain, I worked in law until finding my place at advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, where I got a taste of how brands are built. Pursuing my dreams and passions of creating products with impact, I moved to Los Angeles and became a beverage entrepreneur in both the alcoholic and, eventually, the non-alcoholic space. As former head of marketing for a California-based brain tech company, I discovered my passion for plant medicine and its therapeutic properties for mental and physical ailments + optimizations. This was catalyzed during my time as the co-founder of Uncle Ed’s Damn Good Vodka where I became sober-curious in 2018 on a meditation retreat in Northern California, and realized that drinking culture needed a radical shift. Harnessing my breadth of experience, whilst indulging in my passion for all things beverage, wellness, and plant medicine, I founded bonbuz, setting out to revive the spirits industry and what it means to drink together in the modern age.
What inspired you to create bonbuz?
Towards the end of my drinking career, I started to realize the really intense mental and physical effects that alcohol was having on my body and my mind and my brain health specifically. At the time, the only other options were a sugary mocktail or soda water. I started to think about how to manipulate traditional agents to really leverage the power of plants and natural supplements to give us a better high. “When I tweaked the recipe of my life and removed alcohol, everything changed for me.” And I wanted to share with the world the way to drink differently.
Tell us about bonbuz original — how did you come about creating this functional blend?
When formulating bonbuz OG, I asked myself: “What do I want people to feel? What do I want people to taste?” I found it hard to socially motivate without use of ethanol, so I wanted to create a spirit that was energizing and uplifting for these moments. I also wanted to create a product that had a bite and a sting that would mimic a hard spirit and the way it goes down so that would make people feel like they were drinking something naughty. Like any good spirit, bonbuz OG is potent, and offers a bold flavor profile that's citrus-forward. It's perfect for an amaro or aperitivo replacement.
Each cocktail should be made with a 1.5-2-ounce pour.
Using cocktail shaker, add:
- 1oz of lime juice
- .75oz of simple syrup (or 1.5T of brown or white sugar)
- 1.5oz bonbuz
- 5-6 mint leaves
- 2 lime wheels
What are the main adaptogens in bonbuz and how do they work?
Here’s a quick guide to some of the plant magic in bonbuz OG (and subsequently, Slowburn):
- Nootropics - different supplements and compounds that help with brain health + cognitive functions like memory and decision making. Nootropics assist with the executive function in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
- Adaptogens - different herbs that bring you to a feeling of balance. Adaptogens help with stress and bring the body back to its baseline.
- Caffeine - 50mgs of natural caffeine (about half a cup of coffee) to perk and alert (because we kind of all need it!).
- 5-HTP - assists with the release of serotonin, the feel-good chemical produced in your brain. It's also scientifically proven to help with alcohol withdrawal.
- L-tyrosine - both a nootropic and an amino acid, a protein building block in the body. It's associated with alertness to help the drinker focus and be present enough to connect in a deeper way.
- Rhodiola Rosea - a root herb and adaptogen designed to stabilize mood and balance the body.
- Ginger root - an adaptogen for immunity, and may help with the reduction of inflammation.
- 1.5-2oz slowburn (if you don’t feel spicy, replace with OG)
- 1oz lemon juice
- add a teaspoon of blueberry jam or any black jam
- ½ oz simple (suggested not mandated)
Tell us about bonbuz slow burn—how did you come about deciding to make a spicy version?
I come from a household where my mother would take a bite out of a serrano chilli with every bite of food during mealtimes, and this was something I adopted at a very young age. I loved the burn and subsequent endorphins released! When you eat something spicy, receptors in your mouth and nose react and the body releases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals. Sticking to our core pillars of being bold, potent and polarizing, we wanted to create a more playful spirit that could be mixed into cocktails for a smokey mezcal replacement or a spicy margarita base. Slowburn is complex, with a sweet citrus profile, and a spicy after burn.
Our motto at Boisson is seeing the Glass Half-Full. How do you think functional beverages like bonbuz allow people to see the glass half-full?
Alcohol has been around for a long time. Though it was created to be consumed ceremonially and in small quantities, widespread abuse and addiction to alcohol define the drinking culture today. Functional beverages like bonbuz exist to shift the mindset on social transcendence much like cannabis or mushrooms have shifted the way we use substances to expand consciousness rather than limit. We've created alcohol alternatives to be able to propagate collective higher vibes.
* Photography by Michael Louis