We’ve all heard the expression, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” But Deborah Aiza, whose Sweet ’Tauk juices hit the scene this month, took that saying literally.
“I’m fascinated with the locavore movement,” said Ms. Aiza, who concocts juice combinations like watermelon-basil, peach-ginger, and raspberry-hibiscus. She uses local, organic ingredients as much as possible, and seasonal ones at that, added to a base of lemons (organic, but not local) and a dash of agave syrup.
Ms. Aiza has worn many hats, all of them somehow involved in the arts, in addition to owning an aromatherapy shop in Miami’s South Beach.
“I really wanted to sell my oils in hand-blown glass bottles,” she said, which led to a phone call with the Patron tequila plant in Guadalajara, Mexico. The conversation did not produce the desired results.
“So I figured I would just do it myself,” she said, and enrolled in a glass-blowing program at the Penland School of Crafts in Bakersville, N.C. She continued on and became an expert in glass-blowing, taking further education at the University of Miami.
After closing her shop in South Beach, she moved to Manhattan, where the work was good, but Ms. Aiza felt after a while that her artistic energy was being stifled. “I was willing to live anywhere,” she said, and she followed a job to East Hampton, where she lived and worked for 12 years before a move to Montauk.
It was a stint at Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee in Amagansett last year that led to her own company, Sweet ’Tauk. Ms. Aiza said that the owner, Jack Mazzola, taught her how to use the juice press, and encouraged her to try out different fruity fusions.
As she had in her aromatherapy shop, Ms. Aiza began experimenting again, specializing in “organic chemistry” — organic produce, herbs, and fruits — blended together. Over the July 4 weekend, Sweet ’Tauk made its debut at Ruschmeyer’s, a restaurant and inn on Second House Road in Montauk.
Ms. Aiza believes in following “the natural growing season” and gets much of her produce from the Quail Hill organic farm and Balsam Farms in Amagansett, as well as other local growers. The juices, which also include cantaloupe-verbena, blueberry-lavender, and strawberry-mint, come in recyclable plastic bottles.
They are 100 percent vegan, and about 90 percent organic, although, said Ms. Aiza, if given the choice between organic and local, she’ll choose local every time. The juice is also unpasteurized to provide the biggest health punch, she said.
As of now, Sweet ’Tauk lemonade is available at East Hampton Gourmet Foods, Balsam Farms, and Hampton Market. Ms. Aiza will be selling her wares at the Thursday Montauk farmers market, and other South Fork farmers markets.
Sweet ’Tauk is being served at Banzai Burger on the Napeague stretch and at Sen in Sag Harbor, where it is offered as a health alternative for kids. But at the Hamptons for Haiti benefit at the Ross School on July 17, Ms. Aiza was serving up her ginger-lemonade mix with rum and a blueberry stir stick.
“It does make a great mixer,” she said, adding that the strawberry-mint goes great with tequila.
More information about the products’ availability can be found on Ms. Aiza’s Web site, sweet-tauk.com. More flavors are on the way with the change of seasonal produce.
Ms. Aiza admitted to being concerned about her future prior to this entrepreneurial turn. But beginning a new company “has started my creative juices flowing again,” she said, and then laughed when she realized the pun.