Blessed be the fruit: Drink enthusiasts create superfood cocktail mixer with health in mind

by Sophia Lee
Left, Eric Wentworth, Right, JD Mitchell Copyright Jessica Ebelhar 2020 ©

Most of us have days filled with nothing but pure and utter stress. Overwhelmed, beaten down, and totally drained from your day, you can’t help but crave some sweet delicacy to help you meet your zen. Whether that vice be sugar, alcohol, drugs, sex, is up to you. But for those of us that like to relax and unwind with a good cocktail at the end of the day, it is almost impossible to find something that doesn’t make you feel like you’re gaining ten pounds and going to shit yourself all throughout work the following morning. Most cocktail mixes, as we all have experienced, are so heavily packed with sugar and other additives that you wake up feeling like you’ve snorted six lines of coke the night before. But you totally don’t remember doing that!

Enter Modica.

We all deserve to indulge as much as we want, but for those of us that don’t want to take it too far, sometimes you just need a little taste of something delicious. Eric Wentworth and JD Mitchell of Modica definitely seem to think so. Modicum means a small quantity of a particular thing, especially something considered to be desirable or valuable. Like a cocktail! Modica superfood cocktail mixes have managed to find a way to create a healthy balance between healthy and fun. A mix that I never thought could be obtained, yet, somehow these precious angels have done it.

When coming up with the idea for their business model, the pair didn’t want their cocktails to be completely guilt-free, but wanted to find a steady balance of good for you and fun for you. And the superfoods that they chose to start with have super fun flavors, including cucumber aloe, tart cherry, and turmeric ginger. So, how did these two queers infiltrate the conservative business world here in Louisville? Well, just like our other beloved, minority-owned businesses in the community, lots of hard work and a little razzle dazzle. 

Mitchell and Wentworth met in graduate school in 2016 where both were working on MBAs at the University of Louisville. The two of them had enrolled in the evening program since they both worked all day long. Due to the stress of workloads and life, they would always want a cocktail after their accounting class. However, it is exhausting to even think about cooking, let alone making a cocktail for yourself after you’ve had a full day of work, classes, and social interactions. I mean… that’s what takeout and bars are for, right? When the two went to some stores to find a good cocktail mix, they were less than thrilled with what they were able to find: mixers filled with tons of sugar and things they couldn’t even begin to pronounce. 

This is where their business idea really took off. Coming from completely unrelated backgrounds, they both relied on their business classes, and the knowledge they had obtained from them, to help lift this thing off the ground. And it really worked. Mitchell, coming from an English and creative writing background, was able to provide a much different way of thinking about the business going into it than Wentworth, who came from a more science and biology oriented background originally.

The company finally started in September of 2020. Not great timing you would think, but not necessarily. The company has taken off in Kentucky during the year and a half that it has been operating. The three cocktail mixes they sell are currently available in 45 stores and can be shipped almost anywhere. The mixes are also available at several bars and restaurants around town like The Hub, Cultured, Naive, and Bar Vetti

So, what about the product itself? Surely such a small startup doesn’t have a factory to make all these yummy drinks quite yet! You would be right. Truth be told, the co-founders do a lot of work themselves. They source a lot of the food products themselves and have been able to develop the flavors and ratios on their own. Sourcing all the products themselves has allowed them to stay away from gross additives and other unnecessary ingredients that can lead to headaches, nausea, and fatigue. 

One of the takeaways that they would also love for people to get from their business model is that drinking doesn’t need to be strictly for getting drunk. They made all the mixers so that they could be used as mocktails as well for people who don’t drink or don’t want to drink. For our queer and sober crowd, know that this could be a great option for you too and all of their mixes go great with club soda and other alternatives. Modica superfood mixes are for healthy, guilt-free deliciousness, whether that be alcoholic or not is totally up to you.

Currently, the two are working on three new flavors that they think will make a killing. They’re also looking into expanding their company to Lexington, Cincinnati, Nashville and Indianapolis. Their main goals are to focus on growth and building something that they are proud to own. They also would like for this brand vision to fully integrate within the LGBTQ+ world and help create jobs within the community.

But for now, the company must focus on fundraising and finding investors to help support these dreams. If you’re looking for a great, minority-owned, queer business to support or get invested in, here’s your chance! These two co-founders would like to encourage all of their supporters and followers to always think hard about the money they’re spending. Who it’s going to? Who are they supporting when they do make purchases and investments? Why support something potentially sketch when you could support the queers instead? Modica is still a startup company and could use all the media they can get so go spread the word as much as you can via social media and support local, queer businesses in Kentucky, always!

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