The full line of new cocktail infusions created by Savannah-based Fête.
In the past year, date night turned into pizza with Netflix, and sitting at the bar has turned into a quick run for beer from the corner store. As everyone reshaped what is normal and adjusted to spending less time out in public, entrepreneurs saw the pandemic as an opportunity to start or grow an empire.
There are now countless services for grocery delivery or restaurant delivery, and even medication delivery in New York City. Despite being stuck indoors, people can still enjoy their favorite meals almost any day of the week. What was lacking in the service industry experience, at least for Savannah, was the ability to enjoy a craft cocktail with a special order of delivery pizza.
This is especially true because most people are not expert bartenders or craft-cocktail creators; therefore, the need for an at-home craft cocktail kit was an open gap in the Savannah market. Fête at-home craft-cocktail infusions are now how locals can recreate a full dining experience from the comfort of their own kitchen.
The creature of Fête, Marguerite Seckman, is one of those entrepreneurs that took COVID by the horns. Seckman is from Rome, Georgia, and moved further south to attend an undergraduate chemistry program at Georgia Southern University. Eventually, Seckman landed a job as a chemist in Midway.
She held this job for several years, all while learning more about her new city, Savannah. Seckman noticed (as all locals do) that Savannah is a popular destination for bachelorette parties. Being an entrepreneur, she immediately recognized a large market gap in guided bachelorette trips.
To make cocktail infusions created by Savannah-based Fête, just pour your favorite spirit into the bottle of ingredients and wait.
According to Seckman, “They were always just on River Street or just in City Market, and I was like, there is so much more to Savannah than only those two areas. Okay, you walk on River Street, then what? I was always into throwing parties and events. I am very much a social butterfly. I was like, you know what, I am going to start a bachelorette planning business in Savannah.”
The first iteration of Fête Savannah was formed in 2017 to serve as Savannah’s girl’s-trip planning business. Seckman created her platform by partnering with tons of local companies, creating unique itineraries and offering a fun-yet-comfortable experience for visitors, before her adventure continued.
“After getting involved with that for a little bit, I wanted to get more involved in the wedding industry, since I was working with so many bachelorettes. I started looking for mobile bars, and seeing so many in Europe where people were converting old World War II vehicles into bars,” Seckman recalls. Eventually, she landed on a vintage camper − Thelma (the trailer was already named) − from Florida. The problem was, the old vehicle needed a lot of renovations.
“I completely gutted it, in my driveway and everything. My uncle has a woodworking shop, so I drove the camper to his place. This is all while I was still with my chemistry job. So, every Friday, I would leave my job, drive to his, stay there for three days, and work on the camper nonstop,” Seckman told me.
It was only one short year after starting her first company that Fête Savannah evolved into Fête Chalet. The Chalet is a fully functioning mobile bar that makes its way around Savannah for weddings, events, and many other functions. Quick success with the mobile bar allowed Seckman to quit her chemist job and focus full-time on her passions.
While attending a Starland-area pop-up market with Thelma in tow, Seckman met her partner, Lara Neece. Once again, Seckman itched to expand the empire, and began thinking about upgrading from the quaint camper to start a full-blown brick-and-mortar locale.
Superbloom in Savannah's Starland District, where cocktail infusions created by Fête are sold.
Small in size, the camper allows for a minimal amount of products that can be sold. There was no room for espresso machines or coffee brewers alongside the beers and wines. With this in mind, Fête Chalet evolved into the Starland District’s beloved coffee shop, Superbloom.
Neece operates the shop side of Superbloom with its rows and rows of curated local artisanal items. Seckman stepped into the left side of the shop, which specializes in handcrafted coffees and teas.
Superbloom is known for its unique energizing drinks that are as beautiful to the eye as satisfying the tongue. Standouts include items like their signature Beetroot Cocoa superfood latte that tastes like red velvet cake, or their Jalapeño Honey espresso latte layered with cayenne and notes of earthy honey.
This story does not stop at the opening and running of Superbloom. It is truly just the beginning. Seckman continued with her story.
“I have always had my fingers in the mimosa bars and the bartending for my camper, and now these crazy snacks and drinks. So I was like, well, when COVID hit, I had wanted to launch my own product line for a long time. The store had been closed for three months, so during those three months, I was experimenting in my kitchen with all of these types of crazy things,” Seckman recalled.
Fête’s line of cocktail infusions arrived as a perfect culmination of the many iterations of ideas Seckman worked on for so many years. Lemonade out of lemons, as they say; the lockdown was the perfect time for Seckman to stretch her creative brain once again. This is where her chemistry background really began to come into play.
“I literally had big 750-millimeter jars with notes and ingredients laid out. I would write the day I infused it, how it tasted after x amount of hours, how it tasted after 24 hours. Just kind of experimenting with every kind of flavor,” she said of the concocting process.
The finished products of cocktail infusions created by Savannah-based Fête.
Every Fête bottle is handcrafted with natural herbs and spices obtained from local purveyors such as True Earth. The idea is to give customers the craft cocktail experience without going out to the bar and ordering a sugary, artificial-flavor-filled drink.
Currently, there are three varieties available − Figgy Old Fashioned, Tumeric Ginger Tonic, and Raspberry Cosmopolitan.
I lean towards whiskey, so the Figgy Old Fashioned was the first fusion I purchased. You take your favorite spirit bottle, pour it in, and let it infuse into the dried figs, oranges, and cinnamon for at least 48 hours. The longer you let it sit, the denser the flavor becomes.
After longingly waiting the full 48 hours, you get a smooth, full-bodied Old Fashioned that tastes as though it was poured at your favorite bar. The Figgy Old Fashioned is slightly sweet, with just enough uniqueness from the addition of figs.
Gin is the essential liquor addition for the Tumeric Ginger Tonic. You almost feel healthy drinking the tonic, as Tumeric is said to have anti-inflammatory properties. The Tumeric Ginger Tonic is one that you could easily get carried away with. The final libation is light and balanced, flavored with pineapple and spicy ginger.
Each full bottle creates 16 cocktails. The best part is that consumers are not limited to one use per bottle. Every Fête bottle can be infused with a full bottle of liquor up to three times.
Finally, for the vodka drinkers, Fête has the Raspberry Cosmopolitan. The Cosmo is refreshing, ideal for those sticky Savannah summer nights. You can make any of the cocktails even lighter by topping them off with a bit of sparkling water.
Seckman is nowhere close to ending her creative streak, and plans on launching Fête cocktail mixers sometime soon. For springtime, customers can expect some brand-new seasonally inspired cocktail fusions to make their way to Superbloom.
Fête cocktail infusions are available at Superbloom: 2418 De Soto Ave., Savannah. See drinkfete.com
for more details about Fête, and visit epicuropedia.com
to read more by Lindy Moody.