What - and Who - Is the Old Busker?

Have you tried Old Busker yet - our coffee liqueur? Purge your mind of the syrupy sweet concoctions you may have tried before; Old Busker was designed for a more sophisticated palate - one that knows and appreciates fine coffee and true craft spirits.

On the coffee side of the Busker equation, we have locally roasted, cold brewed coffee (from Arabica beans, of course). Add to that cane sugar, real caramel, and whole vanilla beans, and let it steep to perfection. Then comes the spirit in the form of our wheat vodka, which is made in true slow-crafted fashion from wheat grown right here in Whatcom County.

Take a sip now, and you'll notice coffee complexity. Sweetness, yes, but not of the undisciplined variety. And wait - what's that? Ah, yes: the unmistakable backbone of premium distilled craft spirit.

That is WHAT Old Busker is. But WHO is the Old Busker, and how did it get such an unusual name?

The recipe for Old Busker was conceived by Jack Andrews, father of distillery co-owner, Kelly Andrews. Jack is a renaissance man, and at various times in his life, he has engaged in the following (by no means comprehensive) list of pursuits: magic, ventriloquism, clowning, flamenco guitar, shakuhachi (Japanese flute), rustic furniture construction, stained glass, painting, juggling, beer making, street performing, and coffee roasting.

It was this last pastime of small batch coffee roasting in which Jack was immersed when Chuckanut Bay Distillery was first coming online, and it occurred to Jack that a coffee liqueur might be in order.

Matt and Kelly were intrigued by the idea, and gave Jack the green light to develop a recipe for a coffee liqueur that would better reflect the time and place in which we live - one comprised of delicious coffee, artisan spirits, and an appreciation of the concept of "local."

Over the following weeks, Jack set to work putting together test batches of coffee liqueur, literally dozens of permutations that were sampled, contemplated, and refined until the formula that would ultimately become Old Busker was developed.

With the recipe in hand, we then turned our attention to giving this tasty elixir an identity. Jack's small coffee roasting operation goes by the name "Busker Beans," the logo for which was drawn by none other than iconic Bellingham artist (and Jack's neighbor and friend), Tom Sherwood. The logo consists of a drawing of Jack himself, playing his mandolin and wearing his signature blue hat, while busking.

It was simply too good to not use, so we took his Busker Beans logo and wrapped it into label artwork for "Old Busker Coffee Liqueur." We think it came out pretty well, though Jack has occasionally been heard to comment: "I don't look THAT old, do I...?"

Jack no longer roasts the beans for Old Busker. Our batch size far exceeds the capacity of his little 5 pound roaster. But we do adhere strictly to the recipe that he developed for us, down to the smallest detail. After all, it's perfect.

Here's to you, Old Busker (aka: Dad). Cheers!