Get in on the New Botanical Drink Mixers by Muddle & Wilde
And meet the friendly founders.
When Moira Gilbert was planning a girls’ birthday celebration for her friend Laura Menz a few years ago, she put out wine for guests. But the soiree took a sharp right turn when the guest of honor arrived with a mason jar of homemade infused syrup. “I’ve always loved cooking and playing with flavors, so this was a chance to create my own cocktail mixer. I pulled citrus from the garden, paired it with various herbs, and the result was a delicious mixer that, with a little vodka added, made for a super fun night with the ladies,” says Laura.
Turns out no one touched the wine. “We realized at the end of the evening there were 14 unopened wine bottles on the table. That was a clear sign we had something special going on,” shares Moira.
The women, who both live in Topanga Canyon and met through their kids, started working on a business idea the very next day—although neither had experience in the food and beverage industry. Moira had worked in fashion for decades. “I wanted to switch gears and do something where I would have more hands-on control over the brand-building process.” Laura was a professional photographer.
The duo ultimately came up with a product line of botanical-infused drink elixirs made with fresh organic citrus and infused with organic herbs, spices and flowers. Calling it Muddle & Wilde, they started selling it at farmers markets.
“Having no experience in food and beverage in some ways has been an advantage, as we did not follow any trends and instead created something honest and fresh,” Moira explains.
It took them over a year to find a manufacturer willing to work with fresh and natural ingredients—and it turned out to be a women-owned factory. While the product started out as a cocktail mixer, Moira and Laura soon discovered that Muddle & Wilde was equally enjoyed by their customers without alcohol—simply as a low-sugar, botanical-infused soda. So the marketing approach became two-pronged.
As with most partnerships, there is a clear delineation of responsibilities. Laura handles flavor creation, label design, photography and Instagram, and Moira handles sales and marketing.
Muddle & Wilde elixirs are currently available in 14 flavors. Each 8-ounce bottle has 16 servings. The mixers are highly concentrated, so only a half an ounce is needed to make a drink.
In addition to online, Muddle & Wilde is now sold at Bristol Farms and Whole Foods (Malibu only) as well as at Williams Sonoma in Beverly Hills.
Laura says the rewards from Muddle & Wilde have been more than financial. “Reinventing myself midlife has opened so much for me. New talents and curiosities, new people, new ways of thinking—all of which just made my life so much bigger and more exciting. To other women considering taking on something brand new, I absolutely support the idea of exploring what fascinates you. In the very least you’ll feed your spirit, which is infinitely valuable.”
For more go to muddleandwilde.com
Though the term “Mom & Pop” operation may conjure images of a bygone era, Ventura Boulevard still bustles with a smattering of businesses bolstered by strong family ties. Four business owners get candid about managing flourishing, long-time enterprises, and sharing—and in some cases passing down—the joy of the trade en famile.
There’s something to be said for a good old fashioned breakfast with eggs, some sort of breakfast meat, fluffy pancakes, real shredded hash browns or home fries and an unfussy cup of "joe" in a white mug — all being consumed in a comfy booth, of course. Take a break from trendy and imagine you’re […]