Kim Kovel and Noelle Hardt were drinking and making jam one night when they decided to add their alcohol to their preserves. It tasted so good that the two continued this practice for a few more weekends until Voodoo Jams was officially created in October 2016.
“We had a couple of great weekends of making boozy jams in her kitchen. Along the way, I called her up at one point and said, ‘Hey, I think we might be on to something here,’” Hardt said.
“We started making jams together and drinking, and when you drink, you get all kinds of great ideas, and now, here we are,” Kovel said.
This jam is different from any other kind on the market.
“It’s not grandma’s jam, no offense to grandmas, we love them, but it definitely is a jam with attitude,” Kovel said.
Kovel and Hardt, who are best friends, wanted a name for their jams that underlined the spirited qualities of their product.
“Our jams were wicked… This is something edgier,” Hardt said.
By January 2017, the friends were making jam in a commercial kitchen as a side gig to their full-time jobs.
A majority of the alcohol used is from local breweries and distilleries including Odd Man Rush Brewing, 49th State Brewing and Anchorage Distillery.
“[Odd Man Rush Brewing is] a great group of guys who are really committed to a quality product. Their vanilla porter felt very comforting for us,” Hardt said.
Kovel and Hardt infuse any berries or stone fruits with the alcohol of choice and cook the jam down to 0.5 percent alcohol content. This is to fall in line with FDA regulations and to ensure that the jam is kid-safe.
Their mascot, which they call Pierre, was designed with help from Design Alaska after a voodoo doll Kovel and Hardt used as a travel companion as they traveled through France.
“She stayed with us on our travels and our adventures along the way. The voodoo doll as our mascot was an easy fit,” Hardt said.
The name Pierre came from a vintner the two met in France. He spoke of how common it is to cook with alcohol in Europe. From there, Kovel and Hardt were inspired.
“That got us thinking: There’s so much work put in by distillers, brewers and vintners into these flavor profiles. How come we’re not doing more in our foodie quests to highlight their flavor profiles?” Hardt said.
Seasonal jams that are currently available at Anchorage Distillery or 49th State Brewery include Merry Krampus, a jam made with cranberries, clove and bourbon; The Golden Fleece, a jam made with peaches and 49th State Brewing’s Golden Dahl Belgian tripel. Many more flavors that can be found on their website.
Their spring menu will be available in the next couple months.
The jams have the potential to be both sweet and savory, which make them versatile in the kitchen.
“Yes, you can always use it on a bagel, you can always use it on bread, but think about mixing it into your yogurt, think about warming it up and putting it on top of ice cream. One of our favorites is always on top of brie,” Hardt said.
Next month, Double Shovel Cider Company is going into the test kitchen, as well as some other local products.
Jams are available for purchase at Anchorage Distillery, 49th State Brewing Company and at seasonal pop-up shops. The jams are even featured on menu items sold at 49th State Brewing Company. For more information and to be updated on future pop-up sales, check out their website and Facebook page.