Brooks Reitz of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. - Charleston, SC
Named in honor of co-founder Brooks Reitz’s great-grandfather, Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. celebrates “a return to better drinking.”
According to Brooks, Jack Rudy was many things. He was a daredevil pilot who illegally flew his plane under the Ohio River Bridge (on a dare no less). He was an inventor and a mechanic, a man who could build a houseboat from an old city bus. According to local legend, he was a marvelous dancer. And most importantly, he loved to entertain and indulge in his wife’s cooking and a well-made cocktail.
While in college, Brooks Reitz worked in a restaurant, starting as a busboy working his way up to a server and eventually a bartender. His mentor at the time was a man named Ricky, a surly, old — “yet entirely lovable” — barman at the restaurant where he worked. In modern cocktail terms, Ricky did many things incorrectly, but he was a great tender of the bar and a real people-pleaser.
As Brooks tells it, “He taught me a ton. As a senior in college, I could BS like a fifty-year-old, and it was all thanks to Ricky.”
After graduating, Brooks moved to Louisville, where he took over the beverage program of a progressive bar in a hotel there. With a nice-sized budget and a kitchen in which to experiment, Brooks started making his own mixers for cocktails.
“People loved them, and I started to garner attention. First locally, and then nationally.” And suddenly a business was born.
I’ve been a fan of Brooks’ products for a few years now. What first stood out to me was the unique nature of his tonic.
“The tonic is a concentrate, which provides more control for the user. Our fans and users appreciate the opportunity to tweak the strength of their drinks to their liking.”
Using natural ingredients, Brooks’ products are of the utmost in quality and simplicity.
“With our grenadine, I noticed the more widely-distributed products forced the bartender to drown their drinks in high-fructose corn syrup and the product itself wasn’t reliable. Sometimes, it’s too watery, sometimes, too syrupy. I wanted to introduce something consistent.”
With two products on the market, Brooks is only just beginning. “From the start, it’s been my vision to rediscover and somehow reinvent all the mixers found in my great-grandfather’s bar cabinet.”
In addition to tonic and grenadine, Brooks has put his stamp of approval on a new mixer and a line of bar tools: a bar spoon, shaker tins, jiggers, and strainers.
While Brooks Reitz is a great-grandson who has prided himself in following in his great-grandfather’s footsteps as an inventor and innovator, I’ve yet to report on his abilities as a dancer.
Brooks suggests enjoying Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon with his grenadine in a Black Rose.
Brooks Reitz of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.
Enriched by a hint of peppermint, it impresses with notes of pepper balanced by slight citrus overtones, and a spicy, warming finish.
Connect withMax Wastler
A Chicago-based storyteller, keeper of a whiskey blog and shop-owner who's known for his appreciation of America.