The French sometimes get teased by Americans. I'm not really sure why, I absolutely love the food, art, architecture, wine, and did I say wine? They also have centuries distilling, the pinnacle being in Cognac and Armagnac.
Not coincidentally, two young Frenchmen, Jean-Francois Daniel and Alexandre Koiransky, who worked for the very well regarded Pierre Ferrand Cognac house, have started something new. FAIR. Spirits, evolved from being tired of the "business" aspects of distilling and sales; they each had a desire for more. This led to backpacking trips around the world, where a bigger picture clearly emerged: something is wrong with the growing world-wide wealth imbalance.
In Boliva, the solution was Quinoa. As the popularity of the grain has grown in recent years, many farmers were losing not only their land to big corporations, but also much of their cultural heritage. What could Jean-Francois and Alexandre also do with grain in a fair and revitalizing way? You guessed it, ship it back to their stills in Cognac and make arguably the most popular spirit, vodka.
They work directly with co-op farmers in a new supply chain: farmer to producer. This seems obvious, but the normal reality is a myriad of middle men. We have all heard of Fair Trade coffee and tea, now let's put spirits in the mix. FAIR. is Fair Trade certified, fair wages and fair pricing directly to farmers.
Beside the vodka, they source coffee from Mexico, resulting in a concentrated, vicious coffee liqueur called FAIR. Café. Thousands of miles away, the Himalayan mountain elevation provides the Goji berry from Tibet- and a terrifically mixable FAIR. Goji liqueur- bittersweet and tart.
FAIR.'s local ambassador is Martin Dupont, who kindly sat down with me yesterday and gave me a thorough overview of the company. Like the founders, he left a desk job in Paris and added to his international background by spending a year in Buenos Aires. Martin emphasizes that they have tried to be "doers not talkers," with supreme focus on the three products on the market.
"FAIR. is not an airport brand, we are savoir faire and terroir."
Very French, and very fair.
Look for FAIR. cocktails next time you're out; Martin tirelessly helped by highlighting some top bartenders and what they're doing with FAIR. around town. To Martin, Jean-Francois, and Alexandre- Santé!
Espionage by Kevin Martin, Eastern Standard
FAIR. Quinoa Vodka 1.75oz, Yellow Chartreuse .75oz, Amaro montenegro .5 oz,
Cynar .5 oz, orange and lemon zest
Bizou by Bill Codman, Minibar
FAIR. Goji berry liquor 1oz, Passion fruit juice 1oz, Aperol .5oz, Champagne float
Fair Play by Mike Batliner, Petit Robert Central
Bulliet Rye 2 oz, Fernet Branca 1 oz, FAIR. Café liquor 1 oz, orange bitters
Fair Shake by Meagan Taylor, Christopher's
FAIR. Quinoa Vodka 2 oz, Ginger liqueur .5 oz, lemon juice .5 oz,
house-made honey-clove syrup .5 oz
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