Raquette Lake Navigation truly is a family business. Rachel’s brother Jim is the chef, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Her dad is the captain. Her mom is the “major domo”. Her “bookend siblings”, Rebecca and Bill, have worked for years on the boat (Bill also holds his Captain’s License), but chose to pursue other areas of interest. Rachel turned 13 on the maiden voyage, June 29, 1991, and since then has held virtually every position! Currently she is the bartender, beverage manager and special events coordinator. Naturally she had customers who requested Bloody Marys when they cruised, especially during the popular Sunday Brunch. So she came up with her own unique recipe. It was a huge hit. People started requesting the recipe. When Jim suggested she start bottling her mix, she decided to do just that. She contacted Cornell University and applied for a scheduled process which would allow her to start producing her mix in Raquette Lake Navigation’s commercial kitchen. She started off making one case per batch and that took three hours due to the sanitation, heating and filling process. The first year she mixed and bottled eight cases to be sold in the family’s End of the Line Caboose Gift Shop, located where passengers board the boat. Demand increased and she knew she had to kick it up a notch. She started making multiple batches at a time, using every burner on the stove, whenever the kitchen was free! In 2012, she hit the road, passing out samples and acquired sixty new customers.
The following winter, after much consideration, she decided that she just didn’t have the time to make the Elixir to keep up with the demand. She contacted a processing facility in Central New York who would bottle her mix for her, using her exact recipe. That was the key! She was now able to use her time selling, instead of stirring the pot, waiting for the mix to come up to temperature.
Rachel has since formed many relationships with distributors all over New York State to help expand distribution. Hundreds of retail grocery stores, beverage centers, convenience stores, gift shops, drug stores, liquor stores, restaurants and taverns now carry her Elixir Bloody Mary mix.