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The Modern Bar Cart Podcast

Aug 25, 2022

In this wide-ranging conversation with Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen, co-founders of Empirical, some of the topics we discuss include:

  • How Mark and Lars met and bonded while working at the world-renowned Nordic Food Lab at the Michelin-star restaurant, Noma, and then spun their passion and expertise into a project that bottles flavorful memories.
  • Why Empirical is referred to as a “Flavor Company,” as opposed to a distillery, rectifier, spirits purveyor, or any other typical moniker.
  • The research and flavor building process that led to the development of their newest product: Soka, a spirit made using the fresh-pressed juice of sorghum cane, which they’re using as a way to spread the word about this regenerative, nitrogen-fixing crop.
  • Why the density of flavor packed into these Empirical spirits impacts the way that they can be used in cocktails, specifically where sweetness is concerned.
  • How Lars and Mark think about scaling the impact of their partnerships with farmers, using their adventures in Oaxaca as a case study for creating spirits that not only capture the flavor of a place, but also find ways to give back to it.
  • Along the way, we explore sensory pathways in the brain, the importance of a beginner’s mindset, the socioeconomics of pasilla chiles, and much, much more.

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