We’re bartenders at the core
In 2017, our owners transitioned from working in a craft cocktail bar to a manufacturing plant. We traded in our shaking tins for jacketed tanks, our muddlers for a high shear mixer, and our ice for a glycol chiller and liquid nitrogen doser. We held onto our fresh, high quality ingredients and even saved up for a small still where we can custom distill a spirit for a specific cocktail. We swapped our late nights for more family-friendly evenings, which means we are usually well into production by 7 am and are always home in time for cocktail hour.
We source and process each ingredient with care
Just as we did behind the bar, we use clarified citrus juices to provide a vibrant punch and palate cleansing acidity. Arabic syrup sweetens the cocktails and provides textural dimension and complexity. Whenever possible, we employ unique culinary techniques to manipulate real ingredients, introducing additional flavor and complexity.
We distill small batches of spirit uniquely for each cocktail
Custom distilling a spirit for a specific cocktail was something we never thought possible as bartenders. Using a small copper kettle still, we carefully distill small batches of spirit uniquely for each cocktail. This gives us 100% control over all ingredients in the final cocktail, starting with the spirit.
We craft pre-prohibition cocktails with modern equipment
To perfect and mix our cocktails, we employ modern manufacturing equipment to execute classic techniques. If you’re wondering what this looks like in our manufacturing plant – we extract juices and botanicals with a cider press, create gum arabic emulsions with a high shear mixer, and we mix under pressure with carbon dioxide, to name a few techniques. We finish cocktails with a blast of Co2 for a bubbly fizz or infuse each can with small amounts of liquid nitrogen to recreate the airy texture of cocktails typically shaken behind the bar. Thanks to our custom production and canning line, we can do what we love - pushing the limits to create exciting new cocktails and have fun taking advantage of seasonal ingredients or experimental flavors. Stay tuned… we’re not finished creating new flavor combinations.
Sarah Katherine Gottshalk
My love of cocktails started as a post graduate fellow at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. My graduation project was to implement a cocktail program in a fancy French restaurant. From there, I worked in restaurants while studying for my Diploma in Wine and Spirits with the WSET.
After a couple of years of saving money and with the help of a family friend, my grandfather and a bank loan that we received through embellishing the truth, we were able to open our first business, a cocktail bar. My first bartending job was the night my wife, MariElena, and I opened our bar The Gin Joint in Charleston, SC.
Three years later, we had 2 small children and the late nights of bar life were getting old. One night at the bar a guest asked me for a recipe, they said that they were having friends over that weekend and wanted to make their favorite cocktail. The next week when I checked in to see how the cocktail was received they said, not good. It just wasn’t as good. This immediately gave me the idea for our next venture. We need to make cocktail mixers that make normal people look like superstar bartenders when they make drinks for their friends. We do all the work and they get all the glory! Bittermilk was born and became a great success.
With our full production facility in Charleston, SC humming with Bittermilk, we decided to launch a line of cocktail syrups used for on-premise cocktail making called Tippleman’s. We launched Barcoop Bevy, a line of large format and easy to use mixers in 2017. Now our business consists of several product lines of our own as well as private labeling for companies like St. Augustine Distillery and Pappy & Co.
A line of ready to drink cocktails was always part of the vision for our future. After years of dreaming and development, including lots of distilling, we launched Drinkmanship in 2022.
I was born into food and beverage with my dad, chef and owner of a fine dining restaurant in Charleston, SC. Attending his alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America and meeting Joe while I was there was just the beginning. Having grown up in the restaurant industry and working at several restaurants like Blackberry Farm in Tennessee and The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL, Joe and I landed back in my hometown of Charleston, SC in 2005.
We took over Robert’s of Charleston restaurant and while cheffing at night and teaching culinary classes at The Art Institute of Charleston during the day, we saved for our own restaurant. We opened The Gin Joint in 2010 being the first craft cocktail bar in Charleston. After having kids and realizing we need to get out of the late night bar business, we started Bittermilk in 2013. We wanted to stay close to cocktails as we loved what we did, just not the hours. We ended up selling the bar in 2017 and now we are able to fully focus on our production and manufacturing the cocktails we love. Oh, and we now have 4 kids!
Sarah Katherine Gottshalk
I grew up in North Carolina, and after attending the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!), I put my public relations degree to use in tourism marketing. I moved to Charleston, SC in 2013 to join my husband, a Charleston native. A year later, I dove head first into the cocktail industry, joining a small team of amazing folks who had recently started making some amazing cocktail mixers (Bittermilk). My background was in destination marketing, and at the time, my knowledge of cocktails was pretty limited, to say the least.
Since then, I’ve tended quite a few event bars working with Bittermilk cocktail mixers, and worked to launch Tippleman’s syrups, Barcoop Bevy mixers, and of course, Drinkmanship. You’ll typically find me behind the scenes managing the day-to-day operations, working closely with our production, warehouse and front office teams to manage anything from product development to sales and marketing, and more.
Fast forward to today, my husband and I have added three tiny humans to our cohort, and that has only given me a much keener appreciation for great cocktails that require little effort and time. My favorite spirits are bourbon and tequila, so you can trust I’ll always appreciate a good old fashioned or margarita after those 8:00pm bedtimes.
I grew up learning to cook and enjoy good food, and that began to shape my career choices. With quite a diverse resume in food production – running operations at Ben & Jerry’s, product development at a maple flavor company, and even owning and operating Vermont Hummus Company – beverage manufacturing intrigued me.
Flying south from Vermont to South Carolina with my wife and teenage son, I landed at Bittermilk in early 2022. It has been quite a ride. I am enjoying running production at the Drinkmanship facility, especially creating new products. There is something surprisingly challenging about the precision required in beverage manufacturing that is much different than other food manufacturing. As we create drinks, you’ll find me testing pH, brix levels, measuring to the gram to perfect that end product.
I am excited for the growth of Drinkmanship. I’m eager to get this product out into more hands for people to enjoy. When I’m home, I’m typically playing around in the kitchen, brewing experimental root beer and likely drinking a Thai Basil Swizzle. I think it pairs best with food and this hot, humid Southern climate.
My deep love for food and cooking led me from my hometown of Charlotte, NC, to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. There, I studied Culinary Arts and met my wife, who was studying baking and pastry arts. After graduating from CIA, my wife and I cooked and traveled around the globe – from Guam to Belgium – learning different cultures and their native foods and style of cooking.
In 2010, I landed in Charleston, SC, and joined fellow CIA grads to help open and run the city’s first classic cocktail bar of its kind – The Gin Joint. I fell in love with Charleston, its food and people. My knowledge for cocktails grew along with a passion for connecting people with flavors through cocktails.
Now on board with the Drinkmanship team, I love developing relationships with our retailers and connecting consumers to our cocktails that are so easy to enjoy… one can at a time.