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You already know about Cynthia Bailey's wine-tasting venue, and Jax Taylor's cocktail mixers — but there's another Bravolebrity getting into the drinks business too. Any guesses? Hint: the secret ingredient is Southern charm...
Here it is: Southern Charm Savannah pal Hagood Coxe is getting into the sake business! Indeed, she's come up with a brilliant way to put a new twist on her family's legacy of growing and selling Carolina Gold Rice — by using the long grain to create sake, the Japanese spirit. The Feast caught up with the to learn about her new company Southern Belle Beverage and when you can get a sip!
"Our headline product Carolina Gold Sake will be released by late summer or fall," she told us over email, describing "some important attributes" that contribute to the taste of her "unique sake."
She explained, "We are partnering with Chiyomusubi sake brewery in Japan to make our first batches until we have enough recourses to build a brewery here in the U.S. Together we are making a full bodied sake that can come in the form of both a traditional filtered or unfiltered Nigori Sake. We hope to keep aromatic qualities of the Carolina Gold Rice as well as smoothness and drinkability," she said. "We are even considering a lesser alcoholic 10 percent carbonated version!"
The sake business wasn't always in the cards for Hagood. "Since I went to school for Illustration, sake wasn’t always the plan," she told The Feast. "But after I graduated I began to think more and more, what can I do with this heirloom rice and this unique culture? How can I do something new that will bring this grain into the now and still celebrate its Southern roots? Not to mention I already loved Japanese culture and science, so a little chemistry seemed fun! I decided let's go for it! So I began — in my own little kitchen."
She explained, "My father has been growing Carolina Gold Rice for almost 20 years now. Like his father before him, he made the most of the land that was handed down to him, but this was in a very new way. When My dad started Carolina Gold had not been grown commercially in South Carolina since after the Civil War. He has really done wonders with the business and has always kept true to our family centered values, southern culture and still had an openminded attitude."
And of course Carolina Gold Rice isn't just good for sake! It's good for — in her words — "oh my goodness, so many things! Carolina Gold is a great supporter for gumbos and gravies. Of course there is always Carolina Gold Pilau with Shrimp. My personal favorite is bacon-wrapped dove breast from the grill on top of Carolina plantation cow peas and Carolina Gold Rice."
So far, the reaction to the new business has been mixed — but people are catching on fast. "As most people might imagine, they were confused; what business did I have making sake?" she said. "But soon I taught them... that there was much more to this ancient drink that we in America had previously appreciated. I think when I really made my first few batches and they tasted it and realized, dang I was pretty good at this. That's when they started really getting behind me."
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