When two friends come together to create a magical place that you can easily chill at for the night, it’s your God-given right to share where and what that place is. Especially when they have drink names like Pink Pussycat and Mr. Peanut’s Old-Fashion Whistle Wetter (try saying that 5-times fast); and so many baked good options that you might go into a food coma. Thankfully, this bar is in a cozy spot in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and it is going to make all your dreams come true.
Butter & Scotch is a retro bakery-bar hybrid created by the lovely ladies, Allison Kave and Keavy Blueher, who are two bakers that decided to join forces after their own business adventures — and thank god they did. With their down-to-earth attitudes and robust culinary vibe, it’s no wonder this bar has become the next go-to place for all your delectable vice needs. Butter & Scotch is equal parts bakery, equal parts bar — it’s the perfect place for a girls’ night out. Who wouldn’t want a Negroni pie with a side order of their Root & Beer Float (basically, an adult version of the kid classic). When you have two of the best things underneath one roof, there really is no reason to leave. Ever. Seriously, you will have to pull us out of there.
We stopped by their lovely Crown Heights bakery bar to get the ins and outs of their friendship, their business, and their baked goods. We introduce to you, Allison Kave and Keavy Blueher.
Allison: North Bellmore, NY
Keavy: Mount Vernon, WA
Allison: Albuquerque, NM
Keavy: Walnut Creek, CA
Stout or an old-fashioned?
Favorite musical decade?
Allison: The ‘50s
Keavy: I’m not sure that I have one. I do know that we’ve been listening to a lot of ’90s in the shop, and it’s pretty magical
Must-have baked good at Butter & Scotch?
Allison: Sticky Toffee Trifle
Keavy: Birthday Cake
A beauty item that will elevate any look?
Allison: Red lipstick
Keavy: Red Lipstick
Best meal you’ve had in 2015?
Allison: The green chile pop-up dinner I cooked at Butter & Scotch with my mom and my brother. Delicious flavors of New Mexico cooked with people I love, it doesn’t get better than that!
Keavy: 2015 has been a very frugal year with the opening of the store so I haven’t had many fancy dinners…BUT one meal that pops into my mind is a late lunch I had with my two sisters at Speedy Romeo about 2 months ago. We had the place to ourselves, we drank about a bottle of wine, we laughed, and everything was delicious. Especially the Dick Dale.
What is your favorite food and drink pairing on your menu?
Allison: Milk & A Cookie – our Salty Chocolate Chip Cookie with a White Russian (it’s so good to dunk the cookie in the cocktail!).
Keavy: The Mary Ellen, which is a hot fudge sundae and martini. It’s a very strange pairing but it’s named after my grandmother who used to order it at restaurants for lunch.
How did the two of you meet and how did you guys come up with the concept for Butter & Scotch?
Allison: We met about 5 years ago through a mutual friend. At the time, we both had businesses with similar models, doing weekend markets, some wholesale, and some catering. We were both ready to go brick and mortar, and didn’t want to take that on solo. We met up over a couple of pitchers of sangria, and started scheming on retail ideas that were a bit off the beaten bakery path, and Butter & Scotch was born!
Keavy: Allison and I met through a mutual friend who was managing the Brooklyn Flea Market. After a few years of exclusively doing wholesale and catering with mini cupcakes, I approached Allison with the thought that I wanted to open a bakery but didn’t want to do it alone – turns out she was at the same place in her career and was eager to jump on board. We both new we didn’t want to open up a classic bakery and over a large pitcher of sangria (and a few margaritas) the idea of Butter & Scotch was born.
You started a Kickstarter campaign to help build Butter & Scotch. What were the beginning stages like and what were some hiccups you guys had to overcome?
Allison: This has been a very long and challenging road for us. Fundraising has by far been the biggest hurdle, and we raised capital through a whole range of channels, from private investors, to an SBA loan, to our Kickstarter campaign. The campaign was pretty much a full-time job, but it was incredibly gratifying to see how much support we got from friends, family, as well as total strangers who believed in our idea and wanted to come enjoy Butter & Scotch!
Keavy: We did a ton of research for our campaign because we knew we wanted to ask for a pretty serious lump sum of money. We got a good chunk right off the bat, but I think the tricky part was keeping people interested after the initial boost. To do that we instagramed every day and started doing silly portraits of people that we would post to instagram every time a new person donated. It came down to the wire, but we made it!
What was it about Crown Heights that makes it feel like the perfect location for Butter & Scotch?
Allison: We looked at a lot of neighborhoods before we landed on Crown Heights, but the fact that so many of our friends live here was a really strong sign that it might be the spot. It’s a vibrant, diverse community, we’re surrounded by great bars and restaurants, and we love being so near the Brooklyn Museum, Botanic Garden, Library, and Prospect Park. It’s also half a block from the train, so it’s easy to get here from almost anywhere!
Keavy: I’ve lived in the area for about 6 years now and absolutely love it. When looking for a location, Allison and I liked the thought of being part of a small but growing community of businesses instead of jumping into an already fully saturated area like Williamsburg. Not only was the rent way more affordable, but because there were no other bars or bakeries on our street we had a huge amount of support from our neighbors.
Keavy, why did you gravitate towards cupcakes to begin your culinary journey?
I was spending a lot of time in my apartment back in 2007 trying to be a painter and baking was my distraction. They were just coming into popularity and people were discovering that you could do really cool flavor combinations with them. I became fascinated with the trend and jumped on board. I liked mini cupcakes because they were less of a commitment eating-wise than big cupcakes, which meant they were great for parties.
You guys are coming out with a cookbook soon! Can you tell us a little about it and what we should expect?
Allison: It’s basically a day in the life at Butter & Scotch! We’ve got lots of recipes for desserts and cocktails, from Bloody Marys at brunch to Jell-Ohh shots for late night, as well as great tips, tricks, and foundational recipes for baking as well as cocktails.
Keavy: It’s sort of a day in the life of Butter & Scotch. It starts with brunch, expect biscuits and Manmosas, and ends with Late Night cocktails and desserts like jell-o shots and S’more bars.
Both of you ladies have previous experience with your own personal businesses (baking pies and cupcakes professionally), how do you feel your past experiences helped you prepare to jointly open up a business together?
Allison: There was so much about opening Butter & Scotch that was brand new for both of us, but I think that having already established successful dessert companies gave us a great network of friends and colleagues to call on for advice, and also gave us a realistic sense of how expensive everything is, and how long it all takes! We also developed a strong sense of what kind of bakers we are, and what flavors and styles appeal to us in pastry. Fortunately, we’re very much on the same wavelength in that area.
Keavy: I completely agree with Allison. Opening a retail location is a whole other ballgame from just having a small wholesale business. Having already created a name for ourselves and gained contacts and friends in the field was such an invaluable tool when opening.
Allison, you used to bartend earlier in your career. Do you ever feel your mixology skills influence your baking skills?
Absolutely, and vice versa! Both baking and bartending, when done right, incorporate a lot of precision. We jigger all of our cocktails at the bar, and weigh our ingredients in the kitchen, and this gives us consistent results every time. I also think good desserts and good cocktails both require a balance of sweet, savory, tart, and bitter, and that’s something we always keep in mind when developing recipes for the bar and for the kitchen.
Your drinks were designed by beverage director Jen Marshall. How do you guys complement Jen’s drinks when creating the baked goods?
Allison: Jen was our opening Beverage Director, but she has since moved on to become the NY Brand Ambassador for Reyka Vodka (which we love, and feature prominently on our menu!). Since her departure a few months ago, I’ve taken over as Beverage Director and along with input and contributions from our staff, have been developing the cocktail menu. The dessert menu has a wide range of flavors, so there is always a drink to complement a dessert, but we don’t believe in being strict about pairings. We really just want to guide our patrons to combinations that will work together.
Keavy: We don’t pair most of our cocktails and baked goods. When creating a recipe it generally stems from an idea that we have (ex. Can we infuse cinnamon toast crunch into rum? Answer, YES!) and we focus in on that one item whether it’s a baked good or drink until we think it’s perfect.
Go-to bar (other than your own) for a nightcap?
Allison: I love Erv’s in Lefferts Gardens, it’s en route to my apartment from Butter & Scotch. They make fun, creative, delicious cocktails in a teeny tiny, totally unpretentious space.
Keavy: I always seem to find myself at The Crown Inn on the way home from work at around 1am. It’s no cocktail bar but it’s a solid beer bar and very convenient. I also love King Thai for it’s adorable space and bartenders.
Butter & Scotch houses some of the coolest Jell-Ohh shots, how did you guys come up with the idea to elevate a classic college favorite?
Allison: Jen Marshall, our opening Beverage Director, had been doing some fun stuff with jello shots way before we opened up shop, and I knew they would be the perfect fit for our silly-yet-quality cocktail program. Mainly, we serve them in citrus rinds, but I recently came up with one that we serve in a hollowed-out peach (I called it “The Teaches of Peaches”). We realized that basically any cocktail can be gelled, and you keep the complex, balanced flavor while adding that awesome texture. There is very little that’s more fun than eating one of our Jell-Ohh shots.
Keavy: Allison and I both love all things excessive, indulgent, and downright ridiculous. Jell-o shots were mentioned in one of the first meetings we ever had about our store and we hung onto it for 3 years while we were raising money and building out the space. Once we opened and started making them, we quickly realized that you can turn pretty much any cocktail into a jell-o shot. It’s been all uphill from there.
Where do you see the future for Butter & Scotch?
Allison: We have really big plans! We definitely see at least one more location on the horizon, as well as more cookbooks, and we’re planning to majorly expand our wholesale operation from year to year. This is just the start of some very big things!
Keavy: We are currently looking to get our cocktail caramel corns into more stores throughout the country and abroad and definitely want to open at least one more location. We also want to keep perfecting our little spot on Franklin Ave!
Butter & Scotch is located at 818 Franklin Ave, Crown Heights. Open from Monday-Friday, 5pm – late; Saturday & Sunday, 10am-late.
It’s an absolute must that you check out Butter & Scotch in Crown Heights. Bring your friends and spend the night there drinking tasty cocktails and eating scrumptious desserts.
Photography by Vanessa Granda