How did a wedding turn into the best cocktail spirits in Southern California? Meet Melkon Khosrovian.
The Precedence for Passion
While many people seem to be born knowing what they are passionate about; many others find it in unexpected ways. This is definitely the case for Melkon and the Greenbar Distillery. Melkon and his wife Litty were engaged in 2002. Coming from an Armenian family, this meant that the couple had a lot of family dinners ahead of them to celebrate. Like many Eastern European families, a shot of spirits is taken after a toast –more in in a ceremonious act than a step towards getting drunk. The problem was that Litty found the taste of these high-proof alcohols to be disgusting; likening them to rubbing alcohol or diesel fuel. While there is no pressure to drink something you do not like, it can be a bit awkward having a whole room toast to you and then watch you lower your glass. Melkon saw it as somewhat of a challenge. He was determined to create something that Litty would drink. Somewhere between mixing celery and black peppercorns into vodka and deciding which alcohol would pair best with black truffles – the couple found their passion, and Greenbar Distilleries had begun.
Playing with the Big Boys
Having dedicated themselves to perfecting the art of blending flavors, they were contacted by a large flavor manufacturer, who detailed everything that was “wrong” with their process. Malkon would try anything to make the flavor of his spirits better, and was sent a sample of lemon flavoring to use in his next batch. It was sent back after one sip. As Malkon said, “Literally something you should clean your floors with rather than drinking.”
The Buzz around Organic
Instead, the company focuses on using fresh and organic ingredients in all of their products. In the craze sweeping the nation, “Organic” seems to have become the newest buzzword, replacing words like “natural” and “quality”. Considering that organic is a government certification and not a marketing term; there is a huge difference. For Melkon, making the switch was a no-brainer. As the company teamed up with local farms, he noticed the flavor of his spirits beginning to change. Some flavors were simply overpowering others. This was unacceptable, so he took the produce back to the farmer to find out why. The reason revolutionized Malkon’s thought process. When you stop spraying plants with inorganic pesticides, they have to fend for themselves against pests. In nature, this is done by enhancing flavor compounds which repel the bugs. They also increase these compounds at the time of pollination. The result is a slightly smaller, yet more richly flavored fruit than ever experienced in conventional methods. As Melkon’s process is dedicated to taste, it was the smartest decision he could have made.
Made to OrderTaste
More than a consideration in the end product, taste is everything for Melkon. In fact, there is only one way to tell when a product at Greenbar is done – it tastes done. Call it a trade secret if you will, but Melkon believes that impressing a sophisticated palate is the one and only standard his spirits must strive towards. Once your palate likes something, there is nothing anyone can say to change your mind. In the Los Angeles area, Greenbar Distillery is certain to have your taste buds electrified with flavor creations you have only dreamed of. Meet Melkon, take a tour of the distillery, and stick around for one of the best cocktail classes of your life.