Photo by Nicole Franzen
Words & Interview by Jess Hemenway/ Photography by Will Foster
Being that we are all fans of a good cocktail, lets say we were more than delighted when Kari Morris, of Morris Kitchen agreed to let us come pay her a visit. Kari makes artisanal syrups, using all natural ingredients like ginger, rhubarb and spiced apple, in the artisanal capital of the worldBrooklyn, and her products make the perfect mixers for perfect cocktails. Morris Kitchen syrups come in distinctive packaging that evokes those of old world tincturesdark brown glass with letter pressed and hand stamped branding.
Morris Kitchen was launched in 2009 at the Greenpoint Market by Kari and her brother Tyler, who is an accomplished chef, and the duo continue to work together, overseeing all aspects of the business. Production takes place on Metropolitan Ave in Williamsburg, where more than 300 bottles of syrup are produced daily. Morris Kitchen can now be found on the shelves of Whole Foods, Williams Sonoma and other gourmet grocers.
Where do you live:
Brooklyn, New York
Favorite Neighborhood hang:
How did the idea of Morris Kitchen come about?
After a trip to the south of France, my chef brother and I tried our hand at making ginger syrup, which I had seen on the table, used like honey or hot sauce. We wanted to create a versatile product for all kinds of food and drink that inspired good times and conversation.
Can you tell us about the process of creating the syrups?
We take fresh fruit and preserve, juice and puree it; adding sugar and bring it to a boil. We bottle it hot, trapping the flavor inside for cocktails and cooking at a later date.
Do you have plans for more flavors? Or will you keep the selection small?
We are always experimenting with seasonal produce and are developing new products. We are about to launch an Earl Grey Syrup as part of a collaboration
Will you be expanding into more products other than syrup?
We enjoy cocktails and are playing with other traditional elements, like cordials. I am also very much into cooking, and don't necessarily feel limited to syrups: it's just my focus for now.
What are some of the challenges youve encountered during your career?
Ensuring we grow with integrity can be challenging, choosing our core values and sticking to them is what we deal with everyday.
What's been your most gratifying career moment to date?
Shipping off an order of 12,000 bottles after months of planning and endless hours of work.
How is it working alongside your brother?
We are a natural team. His skill in the kitchen is inspiring to me. Tyler now works with a restaurant in Louisville called Rye, so we no longer work together on a daily basis. We do, still share work stories and ideas.
If you didnt have your current job, what would you be doing?
A lot more painting and drawing.
Whos your girl crush?
SO many lovely ladies around me here in Brooklyn!! I am inspired by, Christina Tosi of Milk who has the most admirable work ethic and endless amounts of creativity in food and business.
Thanks, Kari. Check out Morris Kitchen products and recipes here.