Wine & Spirits

Lazaros Tsaousidis to TNH: Be Bold – Go with Babicka Vodka

Lazaros Tsaousidis is the exclusive importer of the award-winning Babicka Vodka – the original botanical vodka – for the United States, Canada, Greece, Brazil, and several other countries around the world. The National Herald was pleased to speak with him about his life and his vodka.

Lazaros Tsaousidis: I was born in the city of Veria, one of the most beautiful cities in central Macedonia, Greece. I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My parents were in the kitchen cabinet industry, but I pursued my dream of opening a business in the United States. I realized that dream in 1998. With my wife and two children, we ran several companies, including a clothing shop, a restaurant, and, ultimately, Babicka!

TNH: What is the origin of your vodka, and what makes it different?

LT: Born from a 500-year-old recipe, it is the original botanical vodka before anyone even knew what botanical spirits were. It’s the vodka that spirit lovers love. The vodka with a bold flavor that defies convention – mixers are welcome but not required. Reaching its peak when chilled, it prefers to be left out in the cold…the vodka that was born on the rocks… in the mountains of Moldavia in the 1500s, where the village Babickas created this tonic to delight the villagers and heal their ailments. It is the only vodka made out of Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).

TNH: How to enjoy Babicka? Tell us about Sipology.  

LT: Sipology is the adventure of enjoyment without the mask of mixers. Babicka arouses the senses and invites you to enjoy all its botanical nuances from your first Babicka to your next Babicka, sip after sip after sip.

Lazaros Tsaousidis is the exclusive importer of the award-winning Babicka Vodka – the original botanical vodka – for the United States, Canada, Greece, Brazil, and several other countries around the world. Photo: Courtesy of Lazaros Tsaousidis

TNH: How old is it? Is this the original vodka?

LT: The recipe is over 500 years old, and yes, it is the original old-world recipe.

TNH: Where can we get it?

LT: In finer retail outlets in New Jersey and New York, and as a special liquor-order item in Pennsylvania.

TNH: What is the history behind the vodka?

LT: Babicka is a totally unique, Wormwood-distilled vodka replicating a 500-year-old Czech witch’s recipe that promises a vodka experience like no other. Babicka is the Czech term for an extraordinary band of 16th-century peasant grandmothers with a mysterious reputation for witchcraft.

The Babickas’ notoriety as dabblers in the black arts probably stemmed from the highly creative, mildly hallucinatory properties of the infamous Wormwood plant, which the Babickas featured in so many of their potions. To supplement their meager income, they gathered Wormwood and other herbs from the wilds of the Czech lands to create charms and tonics, including one of the earliest vodka formulas ever made – the Babicka recipe.

Wormwood has long had a reputation for producing an inscrutable sense of well-being, inspiring creative capabilities, and eliciting aphrodisiac qualities. In folk medicine, the herb possesses a long and diverse history as the main ingredient of love charms that helped the lovelorn meet the man or woman of their dreams.

Not persecuted or burned at the stake by the religiously tolerant Czechs (unlike their European sisters), the Babickas were always revered by their communities for their invaluable and invigorating charms and have since become legendary figures of wisdom and compassion in Czech history and literature.

TNH: What triggered you to get involved in this line of work?

Left to right: Efstathios Tsaousidis, Evangelia Tsaousidis, and Lazaros Tsaousidis at Beverly Hills Middle School in June 2021. Photo: Courtesy of Lazaros Tsaousidis

LT: It is a funny story. A friend for over 19 years in Spain told me about Babicka. Initially, I only intended to distribute in Greece, and I requested a sample. My friend, while delivering the vodka, had inadvertently placed two sample bottles near the heat vent in his car – it was so warm! So, I opened the first bottle, and, I have to say, I was not overwhelmed. So, I made a quick phone call to my friend in Spain and offered my opinion. I was told to put the sample in the freezer and try it again the next day because chilling allows the true botanicals to shine through. So, after an all-day chill, I re-tasted Babicka, and it was love at first sip.

Everything about Babicka sold me – the package, the taste, the history behind the brand, the uniqueness… everything!

TNH: Where do you sell?

LT: Our target market is upscale retailers, restaurants, and trendy bars and taverns. In New Jersey, we’re distributed by Fedway Associates, the top wholesaler in the state. Babicka is now available at Total Wine and more (six NJ locations), Canals Glassboro and Hamilton, Wine Works, Rastelli’s Market, Cork and Bottle (two locations), along with many other top retail accounts. In Pennsylvania, we are a specialty liquor that can be ordered through the state store website. In New York, we are distributed by MHW and hope to have success similar to the success we have enjoyed in New Jersey. Eventually, it is our plan to make Babicka available up and down the East Coast and, ultimately, throughout the entire nation.

TNH: In what ways are you vulnerable?

LT: My kids and my family; they are my life.

TNH: Did you ever think of giving up?

LT: I did at one point. I got too tired of trying and getting nowhere, but my father came to my mind and how he was always working and working and made sure nothing would be missing from our table or from my sister and me. I had taken all that and applied it to my family and kids, and it gave me the power to move on and not give up.

TNH: Nevertheless, anxiety can be such a damaging force in our lives. Should we forget the search for happiness and instead find peace with anxiety? Should we give the journey more attention than the goal?

LT: No, not at all. Happiness is a must in our everyday life, and with joy, but I believe peace can be there too, so with those two combined, you have the best recipe for success and a happy life. 80% of life’s journey must be dedicated to the pursuit happiness – and wiliness to do good deeds, and the rest is…getting enough rest!

TNH: What do you believe is the objective of life?

LT: To be happy with what you have accomplished in life, no matter how big or small the accomplishment is, to live with values, and to pass on those values to your kids. Make decisions with your heart and derive joy from the little things in life and make the most memories you can get with family and kids. Lastly: Do not forget who helped you in life.


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