To Give Cake and Cocktails a Kick, Try Woodward Extract Co.

The small vials of flavor are made at Brooklyn FoodWorks.

Photo by Sarah Crowder

Photo by Sarah Crowder

All extracts are not created equal, and Amy Nazer is proving how good they can be with her Woodward Extract Co. At Brooklyn FoodWorks, she tinkers with her blends that work for baking, cocktails and any other application that needs a dose of potent flavor. From Bourbon Vanilla to Bird’s Eye Chili to the new, forthcoming Lavender and Cardamom extracts, Nazer is breathing new life into baked goods and cocktails around the city.

What inspired you to start your business?
I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember, with my mother when I was a child and on my own as I got older. After college, I started taking on bigger and bigger projects, like made-to-order holiday cookies for coworkers, wedding cakes, and custom cocktail syrups for friends.

I started making my own extracts because I wasn’t satisfied with the ones I found in stores. So many of them are made with artificial ingredients and lack depth of flavor. My Bourbon + Vanilla extract is made with fair trade vanilla and real Kentucky bourbon for a warm, round flavor. My second flavor, Bird’s Eye Chili, is made with organic fair trade Thai chilies and adds a complex flavor and just enough heat to baked goods, savory dishes, and drinks.

Why is Brooklyn still a great place for small business owners?
Space is always tight here in Brooklyn, but that can lead to creative thinking and collaboration with other makers. There are also so many resources available to Brooklyn makers from local government, business organizations, and informal networks. Brooklyn FoodWorks in particular has been critical to my business’ launch and growth. Without access to their kitchens, storage space, programming, and support services, it would have been nearly impossible for me to start my business on the same time frame and budget.

Where do you want to see your business in the next three years?
Solvent, ideally. Beyond that, I hope to have a larger product line and be well established with local retailers, restaurants, and bar programs. Developing new flavors has been one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of my work to date. I’m hoping to add Lavender and Cardamom extracts to my offerings in the next few months and to launch a series of extracts made from fresh, local herbs this summer.

Who are the other local makers you admire?
I met so many amazing makers as I prepared for my launch. I particularly admire the work of Chitra Agrawal and Ben Garthus of Brooklyn Delhi, Auria Abraham of Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen, Lukas Volger of Made by Lukas, Homa Dashtaki of White Moustache, and my good friend Laura Shafferman of Legally Addictive Foods.

Where can we find your products?
My Bird’s Eye Chili and Bourbon + Vanilla extracts are available online through my website and Farm to People, and I’ll be at Artists & Fleas in Williamsburg every Sunday in August.

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Alicia Kennedy is a Long Island–born, Brooklyn-based food writer and recipe developer.