The Spirits Of NMCLE
It seems like Watershed Distillery’s Four Peel Gin has always been in my repertoire. It’s a mainstay liquor for this gin aficionado; I quickly latched onto their signature blend of seven aromatic botanicals, infused in a modern and refreshing spirit. The truth is, Watershed Distillery is only five years old but their distinct flavors differentiate them from the rest of the market, a tactic that makes them wiser than their years.
Stationed in Columbus, Watershed Distillery has made a name for themselves throughout Ohio and beyond, based on much more than their quality liquors. The moniker “watershed” literally means “a turning point to an action”. Their brand has become synonymous with inspiring creative thinkers while actively participating in events that foster economic and cultural growth.
“Night Market was appealing to me for a number of reasons,” says brand ambassador Nicki Lawson. “It was a groundbreaking event in an area that often gets overlooked by many Cleveland consumers. As a company, we always try to find events that align with our vision of helping our stakeholders and our community realize their potential.”
Lawson and her crew not only curate all of the mixed drinks at NMCLE, but they work side-by-side with other entrepreneurs, partnering with colleagues to unveil the possibilities of each product as they tumble together to make a new cocktail. The distillery brings people together to accomplish amazing things, and plenty of exceptional moments happen within the span of each final Friday at Rockwell & E21st. “When someone starts with an idea, it can sometimes take an army to execute it,” Lawson emphasizes.
Among their signature concoctions made especially for Night Market is the “Bloody Wok” which incorporates Wok N Roll Food Truck’s homemade kimchi with Pope’s Kitchen handcrafted Bloody Mary Mix and Watershed Vodka. For the “Buddha Mule” Watershed Vodka plays a key role, mixed with Cleveland start-up Old City Soda’s ginger beer and hibiscus-lime syrup. Each ingredient is of the highest quality and combined together the result is an exciting ride through bright and nuanced flavors.
They celebrate the city’s watershed moments in their creations, like the “Wine & Gold” with Four Peel Gin, Pope’s Kitchen Grenadine, Margarita Mix, and Club Soda (an homage to the Cavalier’s NBA championship). The “Superior Sling” is a variation on the classic from Singapore, but with reverence to the historic avenue in the heart of the Asia Town, made with Watershed’s Bourbon Barrel Gin, Pope’s Grenadine, pineapple juice, fresh lime, and Club Soda. Each drink (including Watershed’s signature Old Fashioned) is available at NMCLE for $8 each.
“When we realized that our potential reach was to tens of thousands of people at a time, it certainly made me take a pause and reaffirmed why I fought so hard to be sure that we were the ones to partner with this organization,” Lawson says of working with Night Market Cleveland since the beginning in 2015. “[It’s] an incredibly special event, in that it brings together people of all cultures, incomes, and professions to enjoy a Friday night in Asia Town.”
“Watershed is a very small company,” Lawson elaborates. “We have to spend our limited time and resources in the most effective way possible. When we were in initial conversations about our partnership, a few things became clear. NMCLE represents supporting small business, movers and shakers, and people who are truly focused on bolstering the community around them. […] With all of these commonalities, similar goals, and some scrappy can-do attitudes, Watershed and Night Market Cleveland have been able to bring people together in a way that truly showcases Cleveland’s diversity.”
NMCLE and Watershed Distillery are truly the perfect pairing, because besides a delicious drink, we all need a partner that encourages us to be our best while having a lot of fun.