Perusing the Memphis Farmers Market recently, I saw a new maker that I hadn’t seen before. Their sign read Cane & Herb, and I soon figured out that craft syrup was their specialty. “Hmmm, I could get into this,” I thought to myself.
Jalapeno, Lavender, Rosemary, Autumn Spice, Hibiscus infused…these all piqued my wife and I’s interest .
As we made our decision–Hibiscus won out and made quite the margarita–we met one half of the Cane & Herb team, Rob Williams. Rob made it known that this venture was a more of a hobby he shares with his better half Lauren, and I had to learn a little more about them and their sweet side hustle.
Q1: So you told me you [Rob] were not a native Memphian, but a transplant! Tell us how you got here…
- Rob – I’m originally from Florida. I lived all around the state until early 2016 when I moved from Orlando, FL to NYC. In the fall of 2016, I met my wife, Lauren, on a subway in Brooklyn. She wanted to move back to her hometown of Memphis, TN to be closer to family. We weren’t even engaged at the time, but I knew I wanted us to be together so we moved together.
- Lauren – I actually grew up in Collierville. I moved to NYC to complete a dental residency program and practice in the big city, but I always knew I would come back to Memphis. We moved back in early 2018 and have been loving it ever since.
Q2: Craft syrup is not your primary hustle, but your side hustle. What’s your day job and how did you get into craft syrup??
- Rob – I work remotely as a Data Engineer in the world of digital analytics and big data—working with big brands to help them better understand user behavior on their digital assets like websites, applications, and marketing efforts. I’m pretty much glued to the computer screen most of the day. My wife and I got into the craft syrup business off of a whim. Lauren took some rosemary that she was growing on our kitchen windowsill and made a syrup that she then used it to make a homemade cocktail with some bourbon. The flavor was so unique and tasty I immediately thought ‘we need to sell this!’
- Lauren – I am a practicing Dentist. I’ve always had a creative bend when it comes to things like art and cooking. I translated that into a career in dentistry; but I’ve always had a passion for being a chef. Creating the flavors for our syrups and the artwork of our labels has been so fun, and I love hearing how the people of Memphis are enjoying them.
Q3: Lauren – How many times have you had to eye roll someone who brings up the fact that you as a dentist have a sugary side hustle? How do you heap grace upon them when they say that?!
Lauren – You know, it doesn’t hurt that my side hustle fuels my main gig, lol! But seriously though, I always remind folks it’s ok to eat sweets; just don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth! 😀
Q4: What is the BEST—Don’t give us “They’re all good!”—use of Cane & Herb syrup. Tell us what is the GOAT of all recipes?
- Rob – The best use has to be in homemade specialty drinks (cocktails, mocktail, lattes, lemonades, etc.) I love everything that you can do with our syrups; but a favorite that comes to mind is our Rosemary Lemonade. You literally just replace the sugar you would add to homemade lemonade with your syrup. It’s so easy!
- Lauren – My GOAT recipe has to be our Jalapeno Margarita Recipe. Just take 1-2 tablespoons of our jalapeno simple syrup with a shot of tequila and a couple splashes of lime juice. It’s delicious.
Q5: Aside from the Memphis Farmers Market, where can Memphians find Cane & Herb?
Q6: Do you plan to stick with craft syrup only or would you ever create new products?
- Craft syrups are our bread and butter; but we have two new product concepts in the works that we’re looking to debut in the Fall of 2020. You’ll have to just wait and see!
If you want to meet the makers and snag some craft syrups for your tasty treats, you can catch Lauren and Rob at the Memphis Farmers Market every Saturday from 8AM to 1PM through October 31st. Don’t forget to wear your mask!
Stay up to date on their production by following them on Instagram.