At-home drinks

Let’s Stay Home Cocktail Kits creates unique cocktail concoctions for a fun night in.
Let's Stay Home Cocktail Kits plans to expand its flavor offerings in 2021. Courtesy Taylor Ballek

Eric MacAulay and Taylor Ballek, a local husband-and-wife duo, are creating delicious cocktail mixtures to inspire customers to stay home during this COVID-crazy time.

The beginning

MacAulay, an experimental, creative bartender, and Ballek, a photojournalist for Spectrum Health and a professional taste tester of her husband’s concoctions, were inspired during the beginning of the pandemic to launch their business.

“Eric has been a bartender for several years, and when the pandemic hit, he was out of work just like many other people from the service industry,” Ballek said, adding that the predicament created just the push the pair needed to venture into business.

“He has always been very personable and creative when it comes to crafting cocktails. During quarantine, I was working long days documenting COVID-19 at Spectrum Health Hospital and Eric would make us cocktails at home. They were so tasty and fresh because he was infusing them with fruit and herbs. I told him he should consider selling them and in a matter of a day we had a business name and sample products for our friends to try.”

From there, Let’s Stay Home Cocktail Kits was born.

Eric MacAulay and Taylor Ballek Courtesy Taylor Ballek

Inspirational ingredients

A drink out on the town with friends and family sounds great, but in our current reality, there also is risk involved. Let’s Stay Home Cocktail Kits’ goal is to give you that delicious, flavorful cocktail in the safety and comfort of your own home. Don’t worry about expensive mixers or having fancy-schmancy barware — Let’s Stay Home Cocktail Kits makes it easy and tasty.

MacAulay, the concoction scientist, was excited to begin experimenting with flavor mixtures in the kitchen. “When I’m considering flavor profiles for a mix, I want to pick ingredients that will stand on their own, but also complement the flavors they’re paired with. It’s all about the balance,” he said. “I want anyone enjoying our mixes to be able to taste what goes into them.”

Currently, the business offers four core mixes: strawberry mint, ginger basil, blueberry lavender and peach rosemary ($15 per bottle). MacAulay and Ballek use Michigan-grown fruit and herbs in every mix to keep it local and authentic — and flavorful. They plan to introduce a new flavor every season.

Keep it simple and safe with Let’s Stay Home Cocktail Kits and its twist on at-home cocktails!

This story can be found in the February 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox each month, subscribe here

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