Think of it as farm-to-table but for your home bar.

Simple Goodness Sisters crafts specialty syrups for cocktails and mocktails using Washington-grown ingredients, including herbs and edible flowers cultivated by Venise (Drllevich) Cunningham (’10 Hum. Dev.). The first-generation farmer and her sister, Belinda Kelly, a mixologist and recipe developer, left the corporate world as new moms, and ditched their long commutes from rural Pierce County to the Seattle area.

Venise Cunningham and Belinda Kelly gather herbs in a field.
Venise (Drllevich) Cunningham, first-generation farmer, and her sister Belinda Kelly (Courtesy Simple Goodness Sisters/Facebook)

A recruiter for Microsoft, Kelly founded the Happy Camper Cocktail Company, serving drinks from her vintage trailer. Cunningham, a project manager for Redfin, got into residential real estate and garlic farming. Inspired by their new endeavors, the sisters came together in 2017 to create their small-batch syrup company. The first 1,500 bottles sold out in six months.

Washington State University tested samples and formulated processing instructions to get the products ready for retail. WSU “has been instrumental in the success of our business,” says Cunningham, who completed the university’s Food Systems Program’s Cultivating Success course at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center. Both sisters also finished the WSU Better Process Control School Training.

With a boost from a $50,000 USDA Value-Added Producer Grant, they recently started a café and subscription service. The Simple Goodness Soda Shop opened last October in the historical coal mining town of Wilkeson. The inaugural Cocktail Farm Club box mailed out in March with recipe cards, mixers, and more. Membership doubled between the first and second shipments.

Top-selling flavors are rhubarb vanilla bean, blueberry lavender, and berry sage. Other offerings are lemon herb, marionberry mint, and huckleberry spruce tip. The November subscription box features rhubarb vanilla bean and fig cardamom shrub.

The sisters also sell a floral sugar glass rimmer, floral salt glass rimmer, recipe cards, and three ebooks: Garden to Glass: Grow Your Own Cocktail GardenThe Drinks That Built Us, and The ClassicsGarden to Glass is also available in hard copy.

Since launching their business nearly five years ago, the sisters have shipped their multinote syrups to “almost every single state” and have been spotlighted in Sunset magazine, King 5 TV’s Evening program, and RFD-TV’s FarmHer.

They’ve also hired their first two employees. Summer interns Meggie Dakan and Emily Dakan are Cougs⁠—and sisters, too.


Web extra

Apple pie, oh my: an apple drink recipe with seasonal syrup highlights from Simple Goodness Sisters