For serial entrepreneurs and husband and wife duo Scott and Kim Holstein, margaritas are always the answer. The pair often celebrate their May birthdays with a fiesta, complete with the requisite tacos and craft margaritas. But, since the inception of their fresh, cold-pressed juice brand Twisted Alchemy in 2016, one major component of the party planning has changed.
“We were always on the hunt for fresh lime juice for our birthday celebration, and we ended up having to go to a restaurant that squeezed its juice on-premise,” says Scott. “My first job after college was as a bartender at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Paris, so I knew that process and realized it was a pain for mixologists and bartenders to have to squeeze fruit on-site.”
Now, Twisted Alchemy provides bars, restaurants, and food service (and Scott and Kim, too) a solution never before offered: fresh, cold-pressed juice designed specifically for the service industry to eliminate labor costs, food safety liability, waste, and variable prices. The couple is also launching a direct-to-consumer line in the next few months, including curated cold-pressed blend margaritas in three flavors: spicy pomegranate, Persian lime, and mezcal blood orange. Interested consumers can already buy their products, like “Be Your Own Bartender” variety sampler, online to create unique craft cocktails at home.
For Scott, that often means a spicy blood orange margarita with a splash of mezcal; for Kim, it’s a watermelon mocktail margarita, adding lime and cayenne pepper for a bit of spice. They’re riding the burgeoning trend in craft mixology and in quality, all-natural, no sugar added ingredients. And while preferences vary, Scott notes that “margaritas are still king in the U.S. right now” and that “watermelon is on fire with blood orange moving up, too.”
Twisted Alchemy offers a variety of flavors, juiced in Milwaukee, including lime, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, watermelon, orange, key lime, and blood orange, and they’re soon launching passionfruit. In every bottle of Twisted Alchemy’s Persian lime juice, for example, there are 25 limes. And they’re not just for drinks, either. Chefs have long touted the juice, especially lemon and lime, for its strong flavor profiles when cooking.
“We started Twisted Alchemy because of our interest in mixology and in margaritas, specifically, to be honest,” jokes Scott. “Our mission is to elevate spirits. We’ve been accused of putting sugar in our juice, but we’d never do that. It’s all 100 percent curated with nothing added. Fruit is a gamble but with us, it’s not. We curate for how sweet the juice is from around the world. We source pineapples from Costa Rica, grapefruits from Peru or Texas, limes from Mexico and later this year, passionfruit out of the Dominican Republic.”
After the juice is bottled, it’s placed into a pressure chamber filled with cool water for about 60-120 seconds, where it’s subjected to elevated pressure (think the equivalent of being submerged 20 miles beneath the ocean floor) starving off oxygen that, in turn, inactivates harmful, pathogenic bacteria without the loss of quality or nutritional value. The result? Fresh-tasting, cold-pressed juice year-round with a 90-day shelf life. They ship anywhere in the continental U.S. within 48 hours from their warehouses in Sacramento and, soon, in Georgia.
Twisted Alchemy is also a business with purpose, and they compost 100 percent of their produce. This year, they anticipate composting over 500,000 pounds of produce waste. In addition, Twisted Alchemy partners with various organizations who seek to make an impact on the world, like 1% for the Planet, an environmentally focused non-profit, and Speed Rack, in support of breast cancer education, prevention, and research.
Prior to Twisted Alchemy, the duo ran Kim and Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels, a company that transformed the plain pretzel into an anytime meal and was sold in retailers like Starbucks and Whole Foods. After they sold the brand in 2012, they later launched the first iteration of Twisted Alchemy, Industry Juice, but felt the name was too focused on functionality. So, in homage to their pretzel-loving roots and to the combination of art and science in the juicing process, Twisted Alchemy was born.
“It can be scary to start something from nothing, but that’s one of our biggest passions,” says Kim. “It’s been so fun playing around with new products that will broaden our reach of cocktail enthusiasts and of those with an interest in culinary arts and mixology.”
Currently, Twisted Alchemy works with notable hospitality groups like Hogsalt and Four Corners, along with restaurants like Cindy’s and Somerset and theaters like the Steppenwolf and the Writers Theatre in Glencoe.
In the past, Scott has performed musical theater with his children—the couple has two daughters and a son, aged 19, 16 and 14—through community productions in Wilmette, where the family is based. He also enjoys fitness and will be doing a 24-hour tough mudder in Atlanta this fall, and Kim is “crazy about yoga.”
Ultimately, though, it all comes back to margaritas. “I love the time we share as a family,” says Kim. “Mostly traveling, experiencing foods from different places and, of course, eating and drinking.”
For more information and recipes, visit twistedalchemy.com.