A Gahanna area retailer, offering what is touted as "freshly crafted and surprisingly simple cocktails," is hoping for votes.

Simple Times Mixers, 750 Cross Pointe Road, Columbus, has been nominated in USA Today's top mixer brands of 2020 and was in the top three out of 20 nominees on Sept. 1.

"We are so excited to be recognized and nominated as a top brand in our space," said Mark Tinus, founder of Simple Times Mixers. "We built this concept in our hometown because of the access to such fresh ingredients and the amazing community around us. We always wanted to bring this to a national scale and show everyone else what great things Ohio has to offer."

Votes can be placed at 10best.com/awards/travel/best-craft-mixer/ until noon Monday, Sept. 14.

"We asked a panel of American spirits experts to nominate their favorite craft mixers, and we need your help crowning a winner from our pool of 20 nominees," a statement on the contest link reads. The 10 winning mixers will be announced Oct. 25.

The Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau's Aug. 18 Weekly Happenings virtual newsletter, produced by Madison Ashby, marketing and communications manager, encouraged readers to show their support for Simple Times Mixers as the only nominee from Ohio.

Tinus said the company sells its products all around the state.

He said Simple Times Mixers are made from fresh ingredients that can be combined with a favorite spirit for a fresh cocktail taste.

Options include Blueberry Basil Lemonade, Pineapple Mule, Cranberry Lemonade, Pomegranate Mule, Pear Rosemary Mule, Blueberry Cold-Brewed Tea and Blood Orange Margarita.

The brands in the contest were nominated by a group of experts in the national and international industry, including Ziggy Eschliman and Eric Grossman.

For more than 25 years, Eschliman, known as Ziggy the Wine Gal, has reported trends in wines and spirits and hosted radio shows broadcast throughout wine country.

Grossman is a travel and food writer.

Before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Tinus said, his product was distributed primarily at retailers like Giant Eagle and local liquor stores and at a few farmers markets and direct-sale markets.

"We had opened our new facility in Gahanna for tours and tastings in August of 2019 with an onsite retail store, but we have since stopped the tours, tastings and cocktail classes until we get a better grasp on how we would like to run those responsibly," he said.

Simple Times is focused on online sales through simpletimesmixers.com, on-site retail, available for advance orders or in-store shopping and sales through retailers. The product can be found at local bars/restaurants such as Local Cantina, Land-Grant Brewing Co., BrewDog and Crooked Can Brewing Co.

Tinus said Simple Times employs nine full-time and five part-time team members.

He said he believes people shouldn't have to sacrifice quality for convenience in cocktails.

Coming from a background in the spirits industry, the Simple Times team was sick of high-quality spirits being polluted with artificial, overly sweetened mixers, Tinus said.

By starting from a test kitchen in 2017, Tinus said, the team developed its hands-on process and the high level of quality they were able to create working in small batches.

"As we grew into a production kitchen of our very own in 2019, we were able to instill those same values with a slightly larger family," he said. "To this day, we strive to bring freshly crafted and surprisingly simple cocktails that were built through the collaborative efforts of our community's farmers and partners."

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla