From Hotlips to Your Lips
A trip to the Portland Farmers Market was all it took for David Yudkin, co-owner of Hotlips, to realize that retailers use organic ingredients to make pizza, yet still sell soda from other brands with artificial flavoring.
With an extensive background in the food and drink industry, Yudkin applied his experience to creating a soda that was made of natural ingredients. Hotlips Soda is made from real fruit harvested in season from local farmers and farmers markets in the Northwest. This means no chemicals, extracts, preservatives or coloring. “Our soda is all about the craftsmanship of working with real ingredients,” says Yudkin.
While receiving a BFA in drawing and printmaking, Yudkin realized he wanted to turn his passion for food into a career. Yudkin and his wife, Jeana Edelman, joined Hotlips as minority partners in 1988 and four years later they both became full co-owners. Their mission as new owners was to redefine the business by creating a seasonal menu and focusing on sustainability.
After many experiments with a variety of flavors and formulas, Hotlips took twenty draft soda kegs to the annual Bite of Oregon. “People loved the taste,” says Yudkin. “It sold out faster than I ever could have imagined.” Introduced in 2004, the official Hotlips Soda recipe is quite simple. It consists of real fruit that is slightly carbonated and blended with sugar and lemon juice to balance the sweetness.
However, some flavors react differently during the process and may require alternative techniques. “Fruit can be quite complex once it’s liquefied,” says Yudkin. “Some may even create complicating factors like foam or extra pulp.” I have a deep appreciation for real food and always strive to be respectful by keeping the fruit flavors simple. “Unlike other major soda brands, you won’t see any complicated recipes from us,” says Yudkin.
Just like their pizza, Hotlips soda has a mixture of traditional soda flavors and a few seasonal flavors. The traditional flavors include black raspberry, raspberry, Marionberry, pear, lemon and ginger. Yudkin plans on experimenting more with turmeric, honey and possibly even hops.
Hotlips Soda can now be found in grocery stores across the United States of America. “Like a nice bottle of wine, no batch will ever be identical in color, taste or aroma,” says Yudkin. “That just means you’re drinking real food.” Just like its pizza, its sodas are lip-smacking good. We like the trend.