Based in Chester, UK
Mike & Maureen (Mo) Robinson, started with a book for Christmas..
It described how you made gin, which was a good start, talked about how gin had become successful around the world, described the flavours of lots of gins, tonics you could buy, tonic syrups you could buy, cocktails. And finally, a couple of home-made tonic syrup recipes.
Tonic syrups, it informed us, were very popular in the US, but haven't really been made available in the UK. One or two people had tried them out, but not to any great extent.
Mike, being Mike, immediately sourced Cinchona bark and tried them out. Initial versions were really not great. They were also cloudy, which is typical of a tonic made from the actual Cinchona bark. But eventually we established recipes that family and friends really liked. At that stage, there was no plan at all to start a business.
Some weeks went by, and then, at 5 o'clock one morning, a light bulb came on. 'Would people actually buy this, if we could do it well enough?' We thought we'd give it a go. Alto sax and the garden would have to wait.
In truth, Mike’s background in manufacturing with Heinz and our spending some long time in the Far East, no doubt informed some of our ingredients, and Mo’s background in cooking has helped our appreciation of flavour and recipe development. Developing Jeffrey's recipes, and then making them properly clear, took a lot of time and effort. We did not quite understand the vortex we would be drawn into, but the smiles on faces when they taste Jeffrey's for the first time does make it worthwhile!
We come from and live in Chester and currently make Jeffrey’s Tonic Syrups in the NoWFood Centre at The University of Chester. We hope you love them as much as we do!