Liqs: Portable liquor cocktail shots

Image 1 of 2

A local liquor startup is trying to change your impression of shots as something you'd only throw back at a frat party or a bachelorette.

Michael Glickman and Harley Bauer's brand is Liqs. They call their product a complex cocktail shot with fresh fruit juice, natural flavors, a little bit of sugar. Glickman says it's like a mixology cocktail in a portable shot glass.

In other words, Liqs are not cheap shots for college kids.

Bauer says they use six-times-distilled vodka, 99 percent agave tequila, and premium whiskey.

When Glickman and Bauer launched the brand three years ago, their hope was to cater to the millennials and young professionals looking for slightly more sophisticated drinks. They hired a mixologist in New York City who created 50 different cocktails for them. Then they brought in family, friends, and friends of friends to do over a dozen tastings.

They launched in 2013 with four different flavors: Vodka Kamikaze, Vodka Lychee Grapefruit, Vodka Lemondrop, and Tequila Cinnamon Orange, selling 6-packs for about $16.

Their biggest hit is Tequila Cinnamon Orange, hands down, says Glickman.

Liqs was initially funded with $600,000 from Bauer's family who founded Crumbs Bake Shop. This year they're hoping to triple their sales to $1.5 million.

According to Bauer, in their first year they sold 2,400 cases, in their second year they sold around 5,000, and this year they're hoping to approach 15,000 cases.

Last summer they had a major moment when Brooke Shields tried out Liqs at an event in the Hamptons. Bauer and Glickman say they were very impressed with her shotability, calling Shields a pro.

This summer Liqs was one of the official beverages of the Belmont Stakes, a big event for a local independent liquor startup in a field run by giant suppliers.

Bauer says they love being a New York City brand, doing this on their own. He says they may not have a $100 million marketing budget, but when you have a cool product like theirs, there are ways around that.