Blue Blazer, which specializes in white-label and cobranded bottled cocktails, aims to be new type of beverage portfolio. The Chicago-based service allows the Windy City’s restaurants and bars to serve their own mixed drinks for carryout, delivery and through off-premise retailers, including local grocery and liquor stores.
Founded by Chicago hospitality attorneys Brian Troglia, Josh Kaplan and Joe Kreeger, partners at the law firm Troglia Kaplan, Blue Blazer was already in the works when COVID-19 hit. The pandemic accelerated the pace, as independent bars and restaurants suddenly needed help navigating the complexities of manufacturing, packaging and delivering their ready-to-drink cocktails to-go.
Blue Blazer’s partnerships prioritize premium ingredients and independent distilleries such as Letherbee, Beppe & Architect, Driftless Glen, Detroit City Distillery and more. Featuring fresh-squeezed juice and house-made syrups and flavorings, the bottled cocktails are created in small batches at Blue Blazer’s Skokie, IL-based production facility.
Blue Blazer beverage partner Michael Rubel, who has bartended at Chicago cocktail spots such as Estereo, The Violet Hour, Longman & Eagle, Lone Wolf and Big Star, manages production. The mixologists who serve the drinks at their bars regularly taste-test the batches to ensure that they provide the same quality cocktail experience as guests would enjoy on-premise.
The company’s name comes from Jerry Thomas, “the father of American mixology.” Thomas developed several famous cocktails, including the Martinez (the precursor to the Martini), and published the recipe for the Blue Blazer in 1862—his signature drink and the world’s first flaming cocktail.