Our journey to launching Kally started back in 2018. We found ourselves with a last minute reservation at Maaemo in Oslo and decided to order both the wine pairing and the non-alcoholic pairing (look, it was lunchtime and we were trying to drink less alcohol). The wine pairing was world-class, but we were fighting over every sip of the non-alcoholic pairing. The team at Maaemo took us on a culinary adventure of a lifetime. They crafted drinks the same way that chefs make food: with fruit, teas, botanicals, and a lot of creativity. We were hooked.
When we got back to California, we went straight to our kitchen and got to work. Our friends who tasted the earliest versions of Kally, told us that we were on to something but we still felt like there was a piece missing. That’s when we heard about verjus.
Scott Baird, a bartender at Trick Dog in San Francisco first clued us in on this magical ingredient. “Trust me,” he said. “Verjus is your answer!” This conversation changed everything.
There are multiple approaches to non-alcoholic drinks out there. Perhaps the most popular is to target a favorite spirit or wine or cocktail and work to recreate it in an alcohol-free format. Maybe you dealcoholize it or maybe you craft it from scratch, aiming for all the sensations of that alcohol drink experience.
With Kally, we aren’t trying to imitate chardonnay or Scotch. We aren’t trying to give a favorite cocktail some non-alcoholic superpowers. We don’t start with alcohol and work backwards, we start in our kitchen and move forwards. And verjus gives us a head start.
We make our verjus from just one ingredient: tart, California grapes that are picked before they reach maturity and are pressed into a golden liquid. Verjus gives a drink structure and helps to balance out the acids, tannins and sugars—just like in a great wine. We consider it our playground. By combining verjus with real food ingredients (think fennel, sage, elderflower, and black tea), we can create a limitless number of delights for the palate.
So what is Kally exactly? We like to think of it as a magical wine (and champagne) alternative. With each vintage, we introduce new, one-of-a-kind profiles. From spicy and smokey to fruity and herbaceous, we’re constantly experimenting, iterating, and innovating. These are drinks to be appreciated and enjoyed, debated and discussed, paired with food or enjoyed on their own.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without our community of chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, and food scientists. At each stage of our journey, we’ve been lucky to benefit from the ideas, experience, and taste buds of others. It’s been an honor to bring these people into our kitchen and now we’re excited to find a place in yours.