Ep. 30: Jess Patterson: Frosé King

Jess Patterson, owner of The Co-Op Sullivan Island, discusses making and selling frosé, or frozen rosé, with David and Renee. And he divulges how to make it at home.

An image of Jess Patterson at a Frosé machine for the podcast, Talking With My Mouth Full, Ep. 30: Jess Patterson: Frosé King

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Come late summer, we could all use some sorta respite. Wherever we can find it. So we turned to a former Wall Streeter who gave up finance to turn the simple slushie-like frosé cocktail into contented sighs and lines down the street at his beachside storefront. Not only that, Jess Patterson of The Co-Op on Sullivan Island divulges his secrets to making a frozen rosé cocktail so you can replicate it at home. We’d like to remind you that there are countless more ways to take respite than frozen booze. But it’s not a terrible one to keep stashed in your freezer.

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Transcript

David Leite: Renee, what temperature is it in Phoenix right now?

Renee Schettler: Oh God. It was 117 the other week. I think it’s supposed to be 111 today.

David: Oh my God, that’s like Africa hot. That’s like awful. That’s like savanna hot.

Renee: It’s a little intense…

David: Yeah, and poor Loki, your cat, is inside, I hope.

Renee: Loki is inside, although she is an outdoor cat. So she does get outside for a reprieve to stalk birds.

David: And what’s the temperature there, Adam, up near Albany?

Adam Clairmont: David, I work all day with no windows inside a studio. I haven’t been outside for hours. I wouldn’t even know.

David: We’re hitting about 89 or 90, which is very hot here in Connecticut. And the reason why I ask all of this is because, of course, this is summertime and people like their nice cold drinks and their nice…

Renee: Their blender drinks. Their slushies.

David: All that stuff. So this leads me to a very important scientific question. And it’s a physiological question for both of you.

Renee: Uh oh.

David: Ready?

Adam: Sure.

David: In this hot weather, do you guys get brain freeze?

Illustration: Memo Angeles

Renee: Well, yeah.

Adam: Yeah.

David: You do, right?

Adam: Yeah.

David: You do, Adam?

Adam: Yeah, of course.

David: Okay, where do you get brain freeze? Just where do you get it?

Renee: What do you mean where do you get it? You mean like at Target? Or do you get yours at Whole Foods?

Adam: Aisle number two, right?

David: No. No, I’m a Walmart kind of brain freeze guy. No, where on your body do you get brain freeze?

Renee: Well, David, it’s called brain freeze for a reason.

Adam: Well, yeah, it’s in the advertising.

David: Right, so it’s in your head, right?

Adam: Yeah.

Renee: Yeah.

David: Up here.

Renee: Have you not experienced brain freeze?!

David: No. I have nothing going on up here when I drink something cold.

Renee: Nothing going on, that’s for sure. You are a little thick-headed sometimes.

David: Yeah. Nothing. I feel absolutely nothing when I drink a big frothy, sloppy, Slurpee kind of drink that’s real icy. Nothing. I will occasionally get it in the middle of my chest, like right there in my breastbone. That’s where I feel it. But I’ve never once have had this brain freeze thing. Maybe I need a brain to have brain freeze. I don’t know. But I’ve never had that.

Renee: I probably shouldn’t comment on that since you sign my paychecks.

David: Today’s guest, I think, probably knows an awful lot about brain freeze.

Renee: Well, yeah. And he knows how to give it to other people. The man makes frosés for a living.

Jess Patterson

David: That’s right. Yes, he does. He makes frosé. This is how he makes his living, how he’s built his empire. Jess Patterson is the owner of The Co-Op on Sullivan Island, all the way down there in South Carolina. Hello, South Carolina.

Photo: The Co-Op Sullivan’s Island

Renee: He’s waving, for those of you who can’t see him.

David: I am. I’m waving to my South Carolina friends and fans down there. And Jess is basically The Frosé King down there. He has got some extraordinary flavors and has created an incredible following. Even during this time, lines are all the way down the street for his really wild flavors.

Renee: We’re talking not just unusual. We’re talking incredibly outlandish. Welcome to the show, Jess.

David: Welcome, Jess.

Jess Patterson: Of course, glad to be here.

From finance to frosé

David: So before we dive into frosé, I want a little background and context here. So we heard a rumor that you gave up a 16-year career as a day trader with crappy hours for this glamorous lifestyle and that you’re living the dream. Can you talk about that a little bit? Are you living the dream? Is this the dream? Is this what you’ve always dreamed about?

Jess: Far from living the dream. The story is partially true. I was in finance on Wall Street for 17 years and we had just started a startup company, not necessarily day trading, but it was electronic execution for customers. It was market making, and we ran out of money. And at that point I decided to stop looking for another finance job and go strictly to frosé 24-7.

Photo: The Co-Op Sullivan’s Island

Renee: Nice.

Jess: Yeah.

David: So that’s not exactly a direct line from finance to frosé.

Renee: A little trajectory there.

David: How did that happen, finance to frosé?

Jess: Right. So I’ve owned The Co-Op since 2012. And when we were up in Midtown working, my wife heard of this thing called frosé at Bar Primi. This would have been in 2015 or ’16. And so I went with her. I didn’t want any part of it. I had no idea what it was, but…

Renee: Girly drink.

Jess: Right. It was Saturday date night. We went up to the bar and she was like, “Well, we’d like two of the frosé,” and the first thing the bartender said was, “Well, it’s still freezing. We can’t keep up.” And so we had a glass of rosé and waited for it to freeze up and then about 45 minutes later he gave us a glass of frosé and we just started talking to the bartender and he let me know that on a Saturday they serve 1,200 of them a day.

Photo: Bar Primi

Renee: Wow.

David: 1,200?! A day?!

Jess: So I did the quick math. And I looked at her and I said, “We need to bring this to The Co-Op.” So about a month later we bought our first machine and now we have 12 machines in one shop and we’re going to have 20 machines in the other shop.

Renee: Damn!

David: Wow!

Jess: Yeah. So it fits perfectly for our location. We’re a block from the beach, both shops, and we just keep adding flavors and adding more machines. And at that point, yeah, the way the frosé was going it didn’t make any sense for me to get back into finance.

Renee: Brilliant. Well, you just got into finance in a different way.

Jess: Exactly, yes.

A flavor of frosé for every craving

David: Yeah, you used your finance background to frosé your life up. But here’s the thing, is you don’t have like ordinary bougie flavors, like just plain old frozen rosé. You have sweet tea…cherry Cola…I just saw beer daiquiri…

View this post on Instagram

 

Sweet Tea Frosé available now at The Co Op. Just 2 batches. You better hurry. Offered in our glass bottles only. Not plastic containers. Sweet tea in a glass reminds me of those scenes in movies where the lady of the Estate is outside on the porch with a glass pitcher of iced tea. She’s usually wearing a derby hat and sunglasses. She drinks her iced tea and the camera captures her lips and it just feels naughty. She’s in a swimsuit but wearing a cover up. She looks the lawn boy up and down while he’s sweating and taking his shirt off. They make eye contact. Her husband then comes home and she goes inside but turns around to look the boy up and down again. Sweet Tea in a plastic container just reminds me of Bojangles. PornHub Co Op.

A post shared by The Co-Op Sullivans (@coopsullivans) on

Jess: Sure.

Renee: Wait, did it start with just the plain old classic original?

Jess: Yeah, the original frosé is going to be a strawberry syrup-based frosé. And we started with strawberry, and then the second flavor we had was peach. And now we have watermelon, we have cucumber watermelon, we have the majority of the fruits. And then we started to get a little bit creative with, okay, how far can we push the limits here? And just depending on what was happening in my life that day, if I had an idea of, well, I’m craving a Coke, but my wife won’t let me—the only way I’m allowed to have my sugar is through my alcohol—so we just started playing around and so we did a cherry Coke. We did a cherry vanilla Coke. Yeah, you brought up the beer daiquiri.

David: Beer daiquiri. Yum.

Jess: Yeah, so we work with all the vendors for rosé. We try to get a dry rosé and then the beer daiquiri was just, we happened to be up in Asheville last week with all the breweries. And we went to a brewery that had a lot of sours and we started thinking, okay, well there’s a lot of people out there that don’t necessarily drink rosé or it may not be a guy thing, but beer is.

Renee: Brilliant.

Jess: And so we just used a sour ale, added peach and a little mint, and we just started that yesterday. But I think that’s going to catch on as well.

Renee: And I love that all the other flavors have caught on to the point where they sell out so quickly. On your Instagram feed, which by the way, when I’m having a hard day, I will go to your Instagram feed for like five minutes and instantly be laughing out loud. Thank you for that.

David: Nobody writes Instagram captions like you do.

Jess: Thank you.

David: Talking about your therapist and the bedsheets in the hotel you’re at. I mean, it’s pretty wild.

Jess: Yeah, thanks. We have a 19-month-old little girl, and she’s got her hands full. So all my complaining, she doesn’t want to hear it. So I just sort of vent it out on Instagram.

Renee: Yeah, you do. But it’s brilliant the way you spin it. You get in the fact that you can’t drink the Coke at home by saying, “Hey, limited quantities of our cherry Cola today.” And then it goes into this gripe, but then you bring it back to the cherry Cola. And everybody’s like, “Oh, poor guy. Of course, I’m going to come get some frosé.”

Jess: I do think that the Instagram has definitely helped sales out. So I’ll continue to make a fool of myself if it helps the bottom line, for sure.

David: And as far as the way things are right now, you had online ordering for the frosé and something happened.

Jess: Basically, just depending on the day, we can keep up or we can’t keep up. Especially if I’m an idiot and I put some post, for whatever reason, sometimes I’ll offer two for the price of one. That’s a [bleep] show.

Photo: The Co-Op Sullivan’s Island

Renee: I’m sure your staffers love that.

David: I was referring to one particular customer. She ordered something when she got there. You didn’t have it anymore and she sort of went ballistic and you were throwing money at her.

Jess: Yes. You wouldn’t believe even during COVID people have their heart set on a specific flavor and if they don’t have it…

Photo: The Co-Op Sullivan’s Island

Jess: So yeah, a bad customer can ruin it for everybody sometimes because I’ll lose it. I can’t handle it anymore.

David: She got upset. The flavor wasn’t there. You gave her 50 bucks for a $10 frosé. You gave her 40 extra bucks.

Jess: Yeah.

David: That’s not exactly good business.

Jess: No, but, so we’ve closed off our shop to customers. And so we have all of our windows open that we’ve sort of turned into drive-throughs even though you walk up. So our windows have become the registers.

Photo: The Co-Op Sullivan’s Island

Jess: And so she’s up there complaining. We have the sweetest girl working the register, she is 16 or 17 years old, and this woman just keeps complaining and complaining and the line is getting longer and longer. And it’s really hot inside the shop, all the machines are running, and basically I was going to do whatever I could to just keep the line moving and get her out of the way, because the 16-year-old wasn’t really making it work. So, yeah, I think we gave her, like, I can’t even remember, maybe like nine or 10 frosé and she finally left. But it was just unbelievable.

David: Sometimes these Karens are very insistent.

Jess: Yes, absolutely.

Renee: But I think that goes to show your care for your staff and your customers, which comes through loud and clear. Speaking of customers, what is the flavor that they clamor for the most.

Jess: So the most popular flavor is the original, we call it the OG. So that’s going to be strawberry based. And then our second most popular is peach. So I generally describe our frosés from sweet to less sweet. So a lot of people love the strawberry daiquiris or peach daiquiris or the frozen margaritas. So if you like really sweet things you’re going to go for the peach. If you are like me, and I’m sort of the anti-sweet, I do grapefruit. Grapefruit is by far the least sweet. So some of our new flavors have really taken off. We do like a violet lemonade. We have a prickly pear.

Renee: Very nice.

Jess: Yeah, definitely.

Renee: What would you say is the most outlandish, most “out there” flavor that you’ve come up with?

Jess: Oh my goodness, the most…we always try to play around with some spicy ones and those can cause a lot of problems, especially if they’re too spicy. And so I would say the spicy ones are, we’ve made a few of them that are undrinkable. I just, I can’t even do it. But people will buy it and people will enjoy it. It’s just the spicy ones really get to me a little bit.

Renee: Maybe you need to team up with the local barbecue joint, the one with the wall of hot sauces, right? You need their clientele.

Jess: Right, right.

What is unicorn vomit?!

David: So tell me though, what is unicorn vomit, why is it so popular, and why do I have this very sneaking suspicion I would like to try it?

Photo: Fancy Sprinkles

Jess: Unicorn vomit, it’s like a hard candy, an extremely overpriced hard candy, that we found on Instagram. And so I bought 20 pounds of unicorn vomit and we just put it on top of, it’s most popular with like a blackberry lavender frosé. It’s just hard candy you put on frosé. We’ve sold out of unicorn vomit. We have some on backorder right now and…

Renee: Oh my God. Unicorn vomit on backorder.

Jess: Right. It’s more for like a lot of people like taking selfies with their frosé. And so we will put it in a little plastic salad dressing container. We won’t even put it in the frosé and wait so they can put it on themselves, how they want to, for the perfect picture.

David: And I think you have something that no other frosé place in the entire world has. You have frosé flights.

Renee: Ooooh.

Jess: We do. We’re takeout only now, but yes. So it’s sort of, if you’ve never had frosé before, it’s great, especially if you wanted to try a spicy one or something super sweet or something really out there.

Renee: Nice. Jess, speaking selfishly here, I heard that there’s a second location that you’re opening and I’m hoping you can tell us about that and that you can promise you’ll offer mail-order from there all the way to Phoenix.

Jess: Yeah, sure.

David: And also your truck, too. You have a truck coming out.

Jess: Yes, so we have two things currently in production. We have a second shop that’s going to be on Isle of Palms. So we saw a space, we jumped on it. And it’s great, we were able to build for efficiency and how we need it compared to the original Co-Op, was more of like a market where you could pick up apples and oranges. So we’re excited. We hope to be open in mid-September. And then we also have a trailer. We’re going to put four frosé machines in it and we are going to start doing private parties and weddings.

Photo: The Co-Op Sullivan’s Island

Renee: Magnificent.

David: Excellent.

Jess: Charleston’s a huge spot for weddings. And so we just want to try to be a part of those. And so we are going to start renting the trailer out.

How to make frosé at home

David: So I have a confession to make. We haven’t been entirely honest with you. We invited you on the show to make you talk all about frosé and get our listeners all excited. So now you are obligated to give us a recipe on how we can make frosé at home because not everyone can get down there. So how can our listeners make a really cool frosé at home?

Jess: Sure. It’s fairly simple. There’s not very many ingredients. I think the best one to start with would be original frosé, which is going to be strawberry-based. And so you’re just going to want to try to get a bottle of the driest rosé you can find. It doesn’t have to be expensive. So yeah, Dark Horse is probably maybe a $7 or $9 bottle of rosé. We started with that wine and we loved it.

Jess: So you have your bottle of rosé and then you just need to create a simple syrup. There’s two ways to do that. And so that’s just going to be a third of water, a third of sugar, and a third of strawberries. And to get the strawberries, you just need to boil the strawberries in with the sugar and the water and there’s your simple syrup. And then you’re going to need fresh lemon juice.

Jess: You’re going to have your dry rosé. You’re going to have your strawberry simple syrup. And then you’re going to have your lemon juice. So if you don’t want to squeeze lemons, you can buy lemon juice. It’ll work just fine. And if you don’t want to take all the work to do the simple syrup, you can buy a simple syrup at any of the beer and wine places like a Monin strawberry simple syrup. A lot of people think frosé has water or ice in it and that’s not the case.

Jess: And so you’re going to want to either empty a third or a fourth, depending on the wine, out of the bottle and then put in your lemon juice with your simple syrup. And the best thing to do is to shake that and then put it in the freezer overnight. And that will freeze overnight. And then the next thing to do when you take it out of the freezer, in 5 to 10 minutes, it’ll thaw out enough to move and it’s best just to dump it into a blender, turn the blender on, and then you’re ready to go.

Photo: The Co-Op Sullivan’s Island

Renee: It’s that simple.

David: Excellent.

Jess: Yeah, there’s not a whole lot to it. [EDITOR’S NOTE: When Jess’s wife and business partner, Liza, overheard him sharing his frosé recipe with us, she chided him that he made it sound too complicated. We took notes from both of them, tried it at home, and came up with a made-from-scratch frosé recipe.]  

Renee: I would still rather come and buy it from you, though.

Jess: It’s a lot easier just to buy it from us, yes.

David: Well, Jess, it was great talking to you and we wish you the best of luck with the new store. And we hope everyone, if they can get down there in the middle of this summer to enjoy either one of the stores or if not be able to make a Jess-inspired frosé at home.

Jess: Thanks so much, guys.

Renee: Thanks for being here, Jess.

Jess: Of course.

David: Jess Patterson is the owner of The Co-Op on Sullivan Island, South Carolina and the soon-to-be open location on the Isle of Palm not too far away. And to get a taste, see what I did there, Renee? To get a taste…

Renee: I heard, I heard.

David: …of Jess’s humor and wilder-than-hell frosé flavors, check them out at Instagram @coopsullivans with an S.

Recipes on LC’s specials board this week

Random Person: If I only had a brain freeze.

David: And I have to say, Renee, all that talk about frosé has got me thirsty and hangry.

Renee: You’re often hangry, David.

David: I’m often hangry. What are we serving up on the Special’s Board this week?

Renee: Well, we took a nod from Jess and his kind of innovative spirit. So we decided to rethink some classics. Starting with a BLT. We candied the bacon.

Photo: Ann Elliott Cunning

David: Ah, very nice.

Renee: Maple. Brown sugar. And then we slipped some avocado in there as well.

David: Even nicer.

Renee: Mmm hmm.

David: Am I doing my Schweddy balls voice right now?

Video: NPR: Schweddy Balls
Video courtesy of SNL

Renee: You are so doing the Schweddy balls voice, David. We also roast stone fruit rather than leave them raw. And then we toss them with fresh, fresh, fresh mozzarella. Just the combination of textures, tastes, temperatures, it’s really incredible.

A white oval platter topped with fresh mozzarella with roasted stone fruit and toasted bread pieces.Photo: Sam Folan

David: I wonder if he could make a frosé with peaches and mozzarella.

Renee: Hmm. How about mozzarella garnish?

David: Oh, that’d be nice with mozzarella balls. Cold mozzarella balls. Very…

Renee: Cold mozzarella balls. That’s enough out of you. Alright. That’s it.

David: That’s it? Oh, okay. I stopped you in your tracks with my cold mozzarella balls.

Renee: I’m scared to say anything else.

David: This podcast is produced by Overit Studios and our producer is the intoxicating Adam Clairmont. You can reach Adam at overitstudios@overitstudios.com. And remember to subscribe to Talking With My Mouth Full wherever you download your favorite podcasts. And if you like what you hear and want to support us, consider leaving a review and rating on Apple Podcasts. Chow!

Renee: Chow.

Blooper Time!

Renee: “Wherever you drown in podcasts?” Is that what you said?

David: Is that what I said? Wherever you drown? “Wherever you drown your favorite podcasts.”  That’s interesting.

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