This article was first published in the March edition of our members newspaper 'One Time Press'
Whilst studying as students and enjoying going out in London, Double Dutch’s twin founders, Joyce and Raissa de Haas realised that if you wanted to find a mixer to compliment your gin rather than swamp it, there wasn’t many options. This was fine in the past but with the development of carefully crafted and designed gins with interesting flavours and botanicals they realised that there was a need for mixers to complement and enhance these flavours rather than mask them.
At the time they were studying for an MSc in Technology Entrepreneurship at University College London, graduating in September 2014. They realised the enormous potential of this idea and set out to use food paring techniques to develop a range of mixers to enliven and enhance these spirits. The idea is based upon the fact that ingredients combine well when they share key flavour components.
Double Dutch was their final year project, and led to them winning the university’s Bright Ideas competition, the funding from winning this competition gave them the chance to produce the first batch of their drinks. They tried these out on their friends and family and received good feedback.
With this encouragement they developed and launched their two first mixers Cucumber and Watermelon and Pomegranate and Basil in February 2015. These mixers offer a delicate equilibrium blending with the spirits. Their cucumber and watermelon mixer combines especially well with a floral gin like the One Time Gin X Manchester gin collaboration. The drinks are made without any artificial flavouring, colouring or preservatives and they use only natural ingredients blended with the highest quality spring water from the North of England. All their drinks are low calorie with a maximum of only 65 Kcal per bottle and can be drunk as a mixer or as a non-alcoholic alternative on their own
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Following their success later in December 2015 they launched their more traditional Classic tonic and skinny tonic, more traditional but with a subtle twist of juniper and grapefruit. Their journey has not been without its problems. Their first batches were produced in their kitchen but it proved difficult to scale this up. Commercial kitchens and bottlers required minimal amounts that were beyond their budget, but with perseverance and research they found a company to work with. Then came labelling problems all of which is part of the steep learning curve of launching a new product.
In October 2016 They gained support from Richard Branson who gave the twins a ‘Foodpreneur’ award for their innovative Food and Beverage brand, this gave them the opportunity to work with Virgin and pitch their product further afield. With the support and money that came with the award the twins have their sights set on expansion, they’ve just cracked the US with a deal with retail giant Target and there’s more in the pipeline. We wish them the best of luck!