Whether you prefer it neat or on the rocks, Whiskey lovers will find a new favorite in SIA. Miami native Carin Luna-Ostases has brought SIA to the 305; a palatable blended Scotch Whiskey designed for the modern Scotch drinker. SIA drinkers can expect a contemporary taste infused with traditional flavors that seasoned drinkers know and love.
Being a Whiskey fan, I had to know more about the award winning Scotch that was conceived in sunny South Florida; an exciting addition to Miami’s spirits market. Carin shared all the details about her brain-child SIA; how it’s made, where to find it and how to drink it. So here’s your first taste of SIA…grab an old fashioned and sip slow.
1. Tell us how SIA all started for you…How did a Miami local go and start her own Scotch?
A very unique journey indeed! I grew up in Miami and lived there until I graduated from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Then I moved to New York City, which is where my love of Scotch Whisky began. A friend introduced me to this incredible spirit, and I was hooked. For years afterward, I tried to share my love of Scotch with friends, but more often than not, faced the same reaction… “My Grandfather drinks that, or “Scotch is too expensive,” or “It’s too strong.” It was only in the last five years that I decided to challenge these stereotypes by creating a brand of Scotch Whisky that today’s consumer could call their own. It began with blending Single Malts from my own collection in my kitchen – and eventually finding the right elements to create a blend that I knew was a winner!
2. I read that you were funded through Kickstarter, was there a lot of local support in funding the brand? Tell me a little about that experience.
Kickstarter was a fabulous experience. At first I was very nervous about crowd-funding my whisky brand, wondering how it would be received. I’m also a little camera shy, so I have to admit, I had a little liquid courage (in the form of my own product of course) before filming the video, which made it a lot easier. In all seriousness, the response was incredible. Friends, family and even strangers from all over the world were asking, how and where to buy SIA, all before a single bottle ever hit the US. It was very encouraging to know that consumers were ready for a new brand; they were ready for SIA.
3. Being that a lot of our readers are Miami natives, where are you from in the 305? and what are your five must-do eats/drinks in Miami?
I was born in Daytona Beach, and my family (Cuban immigrants) moved to Miami when I was three days old, so I’ve always felt that I was born in Miami. My home was primarily Kendall and Coral Gables, and college was Fort Lauderdale, so South Florida is a big part of my life. My mom and cousins still live here, and I visit at least once a year. I love sharing parts of my upbringing and culture with my husband, who grew up on a hippie commune in Northern California. He’s fascinated by South Florida and loves to visit with me. It is really fun to see our vibrant city through his eyes. The warmth, culture and joy of Miami is a beautiful thing.
Favorite places for a cocktail? Cocktail Ball and Chain, Regent Cocktail Club, BTW and Taurus Whisky Bar and because every trip to Miami for me involves croquetas de Jamon, La Caretta!
4. Have you always been a whiskey drinker, and what were you drinking before SIA?
The gift of Scotch Whisky came to me a little later in life. I joke that before my eyes were opened, I was a total cliché living in New York City, dressing in all black, hanging out in hotel bars, drinking gin martinis. These days, I love all types of whiskies and I really enjoy Scotch cocktails when I don’t sip it neat of course.
5. When can we expect SIA to be in our favorite bars, and on the shelves? Also, where can we currently find some of SIA’s deliciousness? (tried it, loved it!)
Thanks! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. The response to SIA in South Florida has bee great and a full list of bars, restaurants and stores carrying SIA can be found here: http://www.siascotch.com/buy. It can also be ordered online to be shipped. Some fun bars to taste SIA in Miami would be The Regent Cocktail Club, Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, and Ball and Chain. Stores include Aficionados on Brickell, Crown/Top Hat on Bird Road and Fine Spirits. More accounts are coming every day – but if you don’t see it – ask for it!
6. What unique features can we anticipate with SIA? anything untraditional that stands out with the brand or its distillation process?
My goal was to make a delicious, accessible blend for everyone to enjoy. I love how many people remark about how smooth SIA is, with flavors of vanilla, caramel, citrus and just a hint of smoke. SIA is finished in sherry casks for six months so you also get a nice fruity spiciness to it.
7. Is there a signature cocktail in the works for SIA fans?
SIA is so versatile, it’s great in a variety of cocktails! I always tell people to try SIA neat first, and then add a few drops of water or an ice cube. With regard to cocktails, I like to use SIA in a Manhattan and Old Fashioned; the flavors are so much more complex with SIA and create a whole new dimension. In warm weather, I like to drink SIA on the rocks with ginger beer and a squeeze of lime- it’s delicious!!
8. Lastly, what drink best describes you, and why?
One of the reasons I love Scotch, is that it’s a slow-down, sipping drink to enjoy with a friend over a celebratory moment, or in quiet conversation. It’s not a “party” drink, and you don’t drink it like a shot. It’s a spirit that took years and traditions to make and there is beauty and romance in it. For all of these reasons, Scotch is my drink, both in the description, and as my spirit of choice.
Thanks to Carin for sharing her product with Tropicult, make sure to order SIA at the bar next time.