Meet Alexandra Dorda of Kasama Rum

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“I’m 29, but I like to joke that I have 27 years of experience in the alcohol industry,” says Alexandra Dorda, daughter of Tad Dorda, the co-founder of main vodka manufacturers Belvedere and Chopin. As a second-generation spirits entrepreneur, Dorda just lately began her personal model, however reasonably than selecting the household custom of vodka, she launched Kasama Rum, a fantastically aged golden spirit that’s impressed by her Filipino mom and Polish father’s distinctive heritage. Unlike many different rums discovered at liquor shops across the United States, Kasama is distilled within the Philippines utilizing native produce and methods after which delivered to the household’s distillery in Poland to be bottled and packaged earlier than being distributed within the United States.

Although Dorda has at all times been deeply entrenched within the household enterprise, she spent the previous 4 years working at a personal fairness fund in Warsaw, Poland. Quickly realizing this wasn’t the place her ardour lay, she began dreaming up plans for Kasama on the facet. Using each spare weekend, spending nights after lengthy days at work, and even sneaking into the occasional empty convention room, Dorda was lastly able to launch her labor of love in 2020. While the pandemic upended her plans, significantly given its damaging influence on the hospitality business, Dorda determined to as an alternative use social platforms to convey her model’s distinctive story. Currently, Kasama is accessible at over 250 liquor shops throughout the United States. Earlier this month, the corporate launched its DTC operation and is now available to shop online.

As for anybody inquisitive about what Kasama tastes like, I spent the previous few weeks sipping on the rum, and let’s simply say it’s a liquified pineapple-upside-down cake with a heady alcoholic kick that goes down actually easy. Delicious? One hundred p.c! It’s good with some ice however actually shines when used to whip up cocktails. Curious to be taught extra in regards to the model’s Filpino-Polish connection, I chatted with Alexandra about how her background formed the model, smashing tropes and giving Filipino rum a highlight on a world platform, and why the missed spirit lastly must get its spot within the solar.

Given your loved ones’s lengthy historical past of producing vodka, what made you decide rum?

I’ve been within the house for a really very long time and have noticed the alcohol class my entire life. And I at all times liked rum, particularly as a result of I really like tropical cocktails, however I seen there was nothing within the class that felt prefer it was for me. There are pirate rums and sailor rums and every little thing is fixated on this nautical trope. I’ve little interest in being a pirate, so I type of noticed this and didn’t actually assume it was my place to launch a rum till I realized just a few years in the past that the Philippines was one of the largest rum producers on this planet. And I had this ‘aha’ second the place I spotted that I may launch this rum that I want existed, which was extra trendy, convivial, and approachable for a millennial whereas celebrating the Filipino heritage that I’m so proud of.

Rum is often related to the Caribbean. We would like to be taught somewhat bit extra in regards to the historical past of rum within the Philippines. 

The Philippines is definitely one of the largest producers of rum on this planet. The greatest rum model isn’t Bacardi, however reasonably a model from the Philippines. But it’s simply principally consumed regionally, which is why rather a lot of folks don’t learn about it. We have an extended historical past of producing rum because the Philippines was really a Spanish colony for over 300 years, and that’s the place the custom comes from. It’s attention-grabbing as a result of it’s simply new information to rather a lot of customers right here within the United States.

What makes the rum-making course of so distinctive within the Philippines?

The course of itself isn’t totally different, however rather a lot of elements of it are particular. For instance, the distillery is situated amongst the sugarcane fields, so we supply all our sugarcane regionally from the area across the distillery. Sugar cane is definitely native to Southeast Asia, so it’s pretty new to the Caribbean and was solely introduced there within the 1500s. We have some of one of the best sugarcane on this planet. Something else that’s distinctive is that after the rum is distilled and aged, we really carry it to our household’s distillery in Poland, the place we mix, bottle, and bundle it. I can’t affirm, however I’m fairly certain that we’re the one rum model on this planet that’s really bottled in Poland, and to me, that’s very particular to have the ability to join all of the three nations that I’m from — it’s distilled within the Philippines, bottled in Poland, after which loved right here within the United States!

What are some of essentially the most distinctive elements about Kasama?

The style profile may be very totally different from many different rums on the market. The golden colour is as a result of it’s an aged rum that lays for seven years in oak barrels. It’s not closely spiced, and it’s not overly candy, which many customers count on rum to be like. It’s very mild, it’s very sippable, and it has actually lovely tropical notes of pineapple and vanilla. Plus, in phrases of the branding, it’s actually a breath of recent air within the class — a class that’s actually in want of that. We wished to get away from these nautical tropes and away from the pirate and sailor rums and current one thing that was recent, trendy, and enjoyable.

Rum isn’t perceived as one of these on a regular basis spirits you pop open after an extended day at work. What are some methods you’re making an attempt to alter that notion?

So much of folks within the business have been saying that rum goes to be the following whiskey or bourbon. I believe that rum has every little thing going for it. It’s an aged spirit that individuals discover actually attention-grabbing. And as a result of it’s distilled from sugarcane, it has a sweeter, approachable style profile. Rum virtually at all times comes from a tropical place, and there are actually constructive connotations round trip and round that carefree life-style. I assume that rum has every little thing going for it, we simply want to inform the story higher.

What are some of your favourite methods of having fun with Kasama?

I get pleasure from it neat, however I additionally get pleasure from a cocktail. For occasion, I like to combine Kasama with coconut water, which may be very mild and refreshing, or pineapple juice. Another favourite is to mix up watermelon juice in the summertime and simply combine Kasama. When I’m feeling a bit extra adventurous, I make a twist on a traditional Daiquiri, which is often lime juice, rum, and easy syrup. And as an alternative of lime, I like to make use of calamansi, which is a Filipino citrus. It’s a tiny little lime that could be a bit sweeter. So I prefer to make a Filipino Daiquiri with Kasama, calamansi juice, and easy syrup.

What influence has the pandemic had on what you are promoting?

We have been purported to launch in May 2020, however that received delayed for a lot of causes. First and foremost, everybody was simply scared. It wasn’t a time to launch a model. And rather a lot of locations have been closed and simply making an attempt to outlive, so we needed to push again the comfortable launch till September 2020. It’s additionally been troublesome as a result of sometimes you construct new alcohol manufacturers in eating places and bars, the place you’re employed with bartenders and meet customers and have them strive your product. Since that’s not likely potential, it undoubtedly makes it more durable. It has been difficult, however it’s one thing the entire business is going through, and it forces you to be inventive about the way you inform your story online.

For of us who’re new to rum, and particularly to Kasama, how would you entice them to present your product a strive?

It at all times begins together with your eyes and nostril. You at all times see the bottle and scent the product earlier than you get to style it. We labored actually arduous to inform a narrative with our bottle and present that it’s one thing for millennials and other people like me. The second factor is that the nostril is actually improbable on the rum. It has lovely tropical notes, so if you may get them to scent it and it smells good, they’d be extra prepared to strive it. I’ve seen rather a lot of individuals who say they don’t like rum, however then they struggle Kasama and so they’re shocked at how a lot they actually prefer it as a result of they haven’t realized that rum may style like this. We’re very excited to assist carry new folks again to rum, and I believe it’s going properly to date.

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