I first heard of Oliver Pluff & Co. this past August when I attended BevCon in Charleston, South Carolina. They were one of the local vendors who handed out free samples with a smile. Even though the temperatures outside were in the mid 80’s and humid, I never turn down an opportunity to try something new even if it’s a hot beverage. So, I had a small cup of their Hot Toddy. Just what I needed, actually. It was the perfect way to begin my day.
The company followed up with me a few weeks later and sent me full size samples of their two hot toddy products, two of their mulling spice kits and a canister of their Bohea tea. I had no idea what Bohea was, so I did a little research.
The word Bohea (BOO-hee) refers to tea in general during the early days of the colonies, being a blend of Pekoe, Orange Pekoe and Souchong. Unbeknownst to me, the city of Charleston hosted their own version of a revolutionary “tea party” before the one that took place in Boston in December 1773. Rather than dumping the imported tea into the Atlantic, they simply impounded it and then sold it to raise monies to finance the revolution. A far better solution in my opinion.
The owner of Oliver Pluff & Co. is not one Mr. Pluff, but rather Mr. Kyle Brown. He began his company in 2009. Based on his research and interest in producing authentic colonial style tea blends, he made inroads with the Colonial Williamsburg organization in Virginia who were the first major buyer of his wares. Today, you can find his teas, toddies, wassails and myriad products across the United States at over 200 historic locales.
I believe that tea based cocktails and tea/spice infused spirits will be the next big thing to come along in the mixology world. And why not? We have alcoholic energy drinks. Why not go back to our colonial heritage to rediscover something that will be revolutionary in the 21st century?
We tried all of the items sent to us in the GSN offices this past week and loved them. The products are beautifully packaged in tins (which can double as pencil holders or loose change canisters), and have a historical, vibrant quality. The Hot Toddies (Orange Clove & Lemon Ginger) work great with any spirit, especially gin and blended Scotch; while the mulling spice kits can be used with cider or wine and become the base for a cocktail using Applejack/Calvados or grape brandy. The Bohea tea works well on its own, but can also infuse a spirit like vodka or gin to give it an unusual twist. GSN Rating: A+
For more information go to: Oliver Pluff