Madame Mix Me A Merry Drink

Templeton Family Launches Boutique Beverage Business

Douglas Burns

Friends of Templeton resident James Hanken say he mixes a mean Bloody Mary. The University of Northern Iowa graduate and Coon Rapids teacher developed a knack for zesty, self-styled cocktails while tending bar in Cedar Falls. For most people that would be enough. But the entrepreneurial spirit of this southern Carroll County city caught hold. Hanken and his wife, Amy and her father, Gary Schoeppner decided to take James' skills public with the launch of a Templeton-based company - Madame Mary, a Bloody Mary mix operation that is showcasing its product Saturday at Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits in Carroll from 10-2.

"It's been several years in the works," said James Hanken, president of Madame Mary.

A Marshalltown native, Hanken, 27, created the recipe himself. Its signature element: smoothness. "There's no certain flavor that kind of jumps out," Hanken said. "It doesn't have a lot of chunks floating around."

And the name? His mother, Kim, thought it sounded like a brand winner. Madame Mary is available exclusively at Carroll's Hy-Vee at a special price of $6.99 for a 32 ounce bottle. The day-to-day price is scheduled for $7.49. Hanken also plans to release a spicier version Saturday, a mix with extra kick and distinguishing red labeling.

Hanken took the recipe - which he refined at places like Beck's on the Hill in Cedar Falls and Volk Haus German Pub in Waterloo - to Original Juan Specialty Foods in Kansas City, KS. That company produces and bottles Madame Mary.

"It's probably a very similar story to people who start companies like this," Hanken said.

The image of the old Main Street on the background of Madame Mary's label comes from a full-wall mural inspired by an actual picture taken of Templeton's Main Street in 1912, Hanken said.

"The photo can be found in the Templeton Centennial History Book and the enormous beautifully detailed mural can be found at the Templeton residence of Dave and Rhonda Schwaller and specifically, in the jam secession room of local rock band Aged Spirits," Hanken said. "Templeton Karen Prebeck and Dave and Rhonda Schwaller are responsible for the mural."

For his part, Hanken plans to market Madame Mary at festivals around the Midwest, with an eye toward increasing production and moving from a home-based operation to a Templeton-based production facility.

The mix isn't just for the traditional Bloody Mary with vodka. Madame Mary blends well with beer and can be used as a meat marinade or recipe flavor enhancer, Hanken said.

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