Connecticut College Magazine · Winter 2005

Features:

Carmen Perez Dickson ´78
Principal, Roosevelt School, Bridgeport, Conn.

Scott Lowell ´87
Actor, Showtime´s "Queer As Folk"

Melkon Khosrovian ´91
Philosophy major finds life´s flavor in a new company



Cover:
Finding the Right Fit

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Melkon Khosrovian ´91

Melkon Khosrovian ´91
Melkon Khosrovian ´91 and his wife, Litty Mathew

Philosophy major finds life´s flavor in a new company.

by Amy Rogers Nazarov ´90


Melkon Khosrovian’s new factory stands in a gritty patch of Los Angeles’ industrial center, between a corn-grinding plant and a cement company.

Khosrovian ’91 and his wife, Litty Mathew, secured the space in a bid to expand Modern Spirits, a cottage industry that infuses vodka with exotic flavors like lavender or celery. In addition to procuring “carboys” (glass vessels in which liquor is fermented and stored) and planning a marketing blitz for the beverages, the couple faced a delicious challenge: selecting which infusion to offer first to the restaurants and liquor stores that will form the bulk of Modern Spirits’ clientele. Chocolate-orange won the day; black truffle, candied ginger and others are available by special order.

The genesis of the company sprang from Mathew’s aversion to hard liquor’s burn in the throat. While Khosrovian’s Armenian-immigrant family had long downed vodka shots with meals, she yearned for something with less of a bite.

With years of experience managing corporate public affairs and founding a dot-com, Khosrovian turned his problem-solving skills to devising a way for Mathew to partake in the family tradition.

“I started making these infusions,” he recalled. “We’d have friends over, and we’d dole out some of our vodka. They’d ask to take some home, and after a while we’d have people coming back [for refills].”

Buoyed by the response to their vodka, Khosrovian and Mathew spent months researching the licenses, equipment and techniques they’d need to ramp up production of something they’d only concocted in their kitchen. Modern Spirits was officially launched in November at a party where chocolate truffles and biscotti meant to be dunked in vodka were among the treats created by Mathew, a food writer who trained at the famed Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

A philosophy major, Khosrovian credits his time at CC with helping instill in him the ability to “think originally” and shoulder significant responsibility, qualities that helped establish and sustain Modern Spirits.

“I participated in some student activities and I ran some, like BLATS [a satirical magazine, now defunct] and the philosophy club,” he said. “These things were very important to teach me how to interact with people in power and to be trusted at a young age with things that would affect not only other students but faculty and staff.”

Khosrovian deems Melvin Woody, professor of philosophy, the person who most influenced him at CC. “He shaped me in a lot of ways I am still thankful for. He had a reputation for being very tough, and I needed that to force me to learn the basis of writing and thinking.”

Recently, “Mel” Woody and “Mel” Khosrovian shared lunch while Woody was attending a philosophy seminar at UCLA. Khosrovian, naturally, brought a gift for his former professor: a bottle of blood orange vodka from a batch he and Mathew experimented with in 2003.

For more information, visit www.modernspiritsvodka.com.


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