broVo Lemon Balm (or "+LB") liqueur is based upon organically grown lemons and, in keeping with "authentically local," note that the lemon balm comes from "Brian and Nick" who are described as local farmers in Tonasket. We should note that lemon balm is not lemon (the citrus fruit) but rather an herb from the mint family. It is thought to be calming influence and to reduce stress and the label notes its popularity in aromatherapy (see the notes at the University of Maryland Medical Center). They suggest a Cat cocktail: one part both vodka and broVo lemon balm, 6 mint leaves, 3 parts pear juice, and topped with soda.
Here at Proof66, we had an opportunity to personally taste this liqueur and said: "The broVo Lemon Balm liqueur is a great addition for the expert mixologist. It’s an unusual, interesting, and impossible-to-recreate flavor that can add special character to otherwise simple drinks. Particularly in tea… we can’t say enough about the Hot Levi. Something about tea and warmth really brings out all the best in this liqueur. BroVo is a piccolo in the symphony: it requires courage and imagination to use (and seldom sounds good on its own) but when used properly and well adds greatly to the whole."
Recommended cocktail: The Hot Levi
1 part Sweet tea vodka or liqueur; 1/2 part honey; 1 part broVo Lemon Balm, blend with hot water and serve.
broVo Spirits is a Washington-based company that makes what they call "lady-made liquor." It was founded by Mhari Voelsgen and Erin Brophy, both Seattle natives. They produce a line of handcrafted liqueurs made specifically for designer cocktails after consulting and working with local restaurants. Their spirits are marked by strong aromas, low sugar content, and tend to be lower-proofed, which they believe targets the female market. (hat tip to the Puget Sound Business Journal) They work with local products ("authentically local") and look to make creative, "single note" liqueurs. As of April, 2013 they are producing their own spirits out of Woodinville, Washington. They use a Vendome copper pot still that they have affectionately named "the Dude" despite the fact that they also refer to it as a "she."