It sounds like the premise of a blockbuster film.
A pair of identical twin brothers (one of which is more evil than the other) travel to the ends of the Earth in search of the rarest and most highly sought-after spirits ever made.
While it sounds like a great watch, it’s actually the real-life backstory behind how twin brothers Rob and James Jessup created 8/8 Cocktails – a booze brand dedicated to taking you on a journey of discovery, one premium and playful ready-to-serve cocktail at a time.
Penthouse sat down for a drink (or three) with the brothers to find out more about their offerings, where their passion for cocktails comes from and how far they’ve travelled to source their rarest spirits.
How did you come to create the 8/8 Cocktails brand?
Over the past 10 years we travelled extensively across the globe for work and play. Inevitably, we found ourselves in the top cocktail bars of the world. It became a cocktail journey of discovery. We started with the Classics, and as our cocktail palettes evolved, we wanted more. We moved from the Classic cocktails to ‘Classics with a twist’ and Signature cocktails. This developed into a finer appreciation of ‘off menu’ cocktail creations - using special and rare spirits. One thing that stuck with us, was that a great cocktail experience wasn’t about just the cocktail itself. The garnish, the music, the element of the ‘unexpected’ and the thrill of finding that hidden speakeasy bar were all critical to making an unforgettable experience.
We wanted to recreate these experiences - anywhere, anytime – with the convenience of ready-to-serve cocktails. 8/8 Cocktails provides a cocktail journey for ‘beginners’, right through to the cocktail connoisseur. We use the world’s finest spirits and add an element of fun and playfulness. You will see this in our cocktail names, cheeky descriptions, and playful garnishes. ‘The Vault’ is our virtual equivalent of a hidden speakeasy bar where you can experience the world’s rarest cocktails containing ultra-rare (and expensive) spirits - some over 50 years old.
1953 Envy Sazerac by 8/8 Cocktails
Where did the name 8/8 Cocktails originate?
Great question! ‘8 8’ has a special meaning for all 3 founders of 8/8 Cocktails. Firstly, two of the founders were born on 8th August (8/8!) - and yes, they are twins - with one being more evil than the other. Our third founder, an avid adventurer, was the youngest person to climb Mt. Everest, which is incidentally 8.8 km high.
Where has your passion for crafting cocktails come from?
The passion for cocktails came from visiting the world’s top cocktail bars and experiencing the world’s best cocktails. This developed into recreating these cocktails at home and learning the craft of making world class cocktails. It was a super awesome journey of discovery!
Tell us about 8/8 Cocktails offerings.
We provide premium, ready-to-serve bottled cocktails, using only the finest spirits. We have 3 core cocktail ranges - the ‘Classic’ range (a great place to start if you are new to cocktails), the ‘Signature’ range (for those that want to step outside their cocktail comfort zone) and the ‘Connoisseur’ range (for the more adventurous and those looking for something different).
We also have ‘The Vault’ which requires a secret code to enter - it may or may not be 46831. It’s our virtual equivalent of a hidden speakeasy bar. Once in The Vault, we have the Ultra-Rare Room which contains the world’s rarest cocktails, the Barrel-Aged Room, and the ‘Play Room’ where you will discover your ultimate cocktail fantasy. We will let you find out more on this one yourself!
How do your Cocktail atomisers work?
We also proudly stock the full range of the Cocktail Elements atomisers - which is the easiest way to take your cocktail to the next level, all with just one spray. It will garnish your cocktail with the freshest, just-cut fragrance of orange, lemon, lime, coffee, yuzu, and even citrus pepper. No need to worry if you have fresh oranges anymore. These Atomisers were developed by 3 ‘mad’ scientists from the UK who essentially cracked the code on how the get the best bits out of citrus fruit and coffee and onto your cocktail. Rumour has it that one of the world’s largest spirit companies tried to replicate the atomiser secret process (and also buy them out) - but they failed on both fronts!
Let’s face it, who doesn’t like it long and strong??!!
Are premixed cocktails the way of the future?
We certainly hope so! Whilst we love going to a cool cocktail bar and the theatre of making a cocktail, there are times when you just want to have a cocktail without all the fuss. So, we believe ready-to-serve cocktails are here to stay - especially in the crazy world that demands quality, convenience and ‘I want it now’ culture in just about everything.
How do you create your premixed cocktails?
We’d love to tell you but then we’d have to kill you! Having said that, each cocktail has been painstakingly crafted by using only the finest and most premium of spirits. Secondly, we have the right proportions of spirits to ensure a perfectly balanced cocktail. Thirdly, and arguably the best bit of the process, was the extensive taste testing. All this, so our customers have the best cocktails they have ever had, every time they have an 8/8 cocktail. Finally, we continue to search high and low, across the globe, to find the rarest spirits available so we can create the most unique and special cocktails.
And your cocktails are stronger than the average premixed cocktail?
We don’t skimp on ABV strength. Our cocktails are not only stronger, but last longer. Most 8/8 cocktails are at least 30% stronger than other bottled cocktails. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like it long and strong??!!
How are your cocktails best enjoyed?
Haha! We recommend either ‘The Quickie’ or the ‘Long and Strong’ method - depending on your mood and time availability of course. Importantly, like our customers, cocktails are best chilled, and kept cool with plenty of ice. If you want to spruce up your cocktail and impress your partner or hot date (or both), we recommend spraying once with one of our cocktail Atomisers and garnishing with an 8/8 Playful Garnish.
Pimped Up Rusty Pimp by 8/8 Cocktails
Tell us more about The Vault.
We’re very proud of the Vault. It’s our virtual equivalent of the hidden speakeasy bar. It requires a secret code to enter, which is 46831. Once in the vault, we have the ‘Ultra-Rare Room’ which contains the world’s rarest cocktails - including the 1953 Envy Sazerac. Each cocktail is so rare that each series is limited to just 8 bottles worldwide.
The Vault also has the ‘Barrel-Aged Room’ which contains cocktails that have been barrel-aged for more than 100 days in oak barrels. Each series is limited to about 45 bottles. We also have the ‘Play Room’ where you will discover your ultimate cocktail fantasy!
What are some of the spirits you house in The Vault and how far have you gone to source them?
The ‘1953 Envy Sazerac’ is the world’s rarest ready-to-serve cocktail and is limited to just 8 (88ml) bottles. It contains an ultra-rare 1953 Cognac, not to mention an extremely rare and sort after Rye Whisky and Absinthe. These special spirits are seldom on the market and when they are, aren’t around for long. Luckily the 8/8 team are ‘on it’ - so you don’t have to be.
The ‘Pimped-Up Rusty Pimp’ contains the most prized rum casks from Compagnie des Indies, containing a rare vintage 46-year dark rum (distilled in 1973, bottled in 2019). 8/8 Cocktails was able to purchase the last known bottle in Australia and possibly across the globe. It also contains a very special and rare 30-year Pedro Ximenez Sherry. Interestingly, one of the hardest spirits to source for this cocktail was the Ancho Reyes Chile liqueur. It had been sold out across Australia for close to a year, so the 8/8 sourcing team scoured many countries to find any remaining bottles and eventually secured bottles from Scotland, Italy, Hong Kong and the United States.
To you guys, what’s the key to a great cocktail?
Surprisingly it’s not just about having premium ingredients. A great cocktail is also about the garnish, the ice (more is more) and most importantly, having a special playmate to enjoy it with.
What’s it like being twins and working together?
It’s awesome - even if one is much more evil! Although we are identical twins, we are actually quite different. This has enabled us to tap into our different yet complementary skill sets to make 8/8 Cocktails a fun and well-run business.
What’s your personal go-to cocktail?
The evil twin is a sucker for a stiff, spirit-forward cocktail, so the go-to cocktail is the ‘Feather Boa Sazerac’. For the other twin, it’s the very addictive ’Pick Me Up Negroni’.
Experience the world of 8/8 Cocktails here.