Two locals have teamed up to bring South Walton its first bottled signature cocktail — No. 850.
No. 850 is the first drink to be bottled by Ricky Fannin and Bess Grasswick's newly-formed company, Chaste.
Fannin designed the drink in his home kitchen several years ago after he began working as a bartender at WaterColor in 2007 and served it to friends. One day while he was working at the Tiki bar, a woman said she wanted something different and refreshing. Fannin served her the drink he had concocted in his kitchen and she loved it. She asked what the name of it was. When told it did not have a name, she said she would call it The Ricky.
After that day, Fannin got many requests for The Ricky.
When Fannin's childhood friend, Grasswick, came by to see him at the bar one day, he made the drink for her and she loved it also. She watched as others asked for it.
When Fannin asked Grasswick if she wanted to go in with him to bottle The Ricky, she said sure, as long as they didn't do it halfway.
A few days later they incorporated. That was the end of September 2011.
"We didn't know the first thing about doing this," said Grasswick. "It has been a whirlwind and a long path of educating ourselves."
Prior to beginning the journey, Grasswick was living in Atlanta and working for her alma mater, Agnes Scott College, and applying to grad school. Fannin was also looking at returning to school to take pre-med classes.
Grasswick quit her job and moved back to South Walton to work full time for their new company they named Chaste.
"Deciding on a brand name was the toughest part," said Fannin. "A friend suggested Chaste on the Beach. We looked up the meaning of chaste and liked it. And our tagline is 'proper made easy.' It's a proper cocktail."
Chaste is the company brand and The Ricky cocktail is now No. 850, the first cocktail bottled by Chaste.
As for the name, Fannin says "850 is unique to our area and this is where it all began and we wanted the drink's name to reflect that," he said.
Fannin describes the 850 as a unique combination of different rums, pineapple and coconut, ending on a sour note that tends to make you want to keep drinking it. Grasswick says it is really refreshing — not super sweet or sour with subtle tropical notes.
"It's a cocktail without the burn, very smooth," she said. "You can drink it on the rocks, as a Chaste fizz, with green tea, or as a base for making a pina colada. It's good all year 'round.”
Standing alone, the drink is gluten free and has less than 200 calories, said Grasswick.
No. 850 is still at the manufacturer and won't be at the distributor until September, but the hype has already begun.
"I would say there is a lot of anticipation about No. 850 coming out," said Fannin. "WaterColor wants to carry it, and our Facebook page was launched just last week and it already has more than 500 likes."
No. 850 will be distributed by Republic National, and Fannin and Grasswick hope to see it distributed throughout Florida.
Grasswick said it helps if there is a demand.
But before No. 850 even hits the shelves, plans are in the works for other cocktails, but they are keeping the details close to the vest.
"We haven't decided if we want to use another area code," said Fannin.
Fannin graduated from Freeport High School in 2002 and FSU in 2007 with a degree in social science with a concentration in economics and history. Presently, he is still tending bar at WaterColor, at least until Chaste makes it big. Even though he has not used his degree, he says all education is relevant in whatever you do.
"Not in a million years did I ever think I would be doing this," he said. "But I like to say some day we'll be on the cover of 'Forbes’ and on 'Oprah.’"
Grasswick, who was also born and raised in Walton County, said, "Life takes you in all sorts of directions. I haven't closed the door on going back to school. During the economic downturn it made you look at different options and opportunities and how to take skills you learned and keep going. This is an incredible opportunity to accomplish something different. It's something we're passionate about."
Visit Chaste online at http://www.chaste.co.