Is there anything better than freshly baked cookies? Yes, according to Jaime Shannon, creator of Hep Cat Cookies. The answer is booze. She developed a line of alcohol-infused cookies and made a bourbon-flavored splash at local events around New York City starting in 2020. Turns out the best way to jazz up a local community during a pandemic is to infuse it with booze.
Like so many during the early days of Covid-19, Shannon found herself furloughed from her job and stuck at home. One fateful day, her boyfriend brought home a bag of chocolate chips and she decided to spike a batch of cookies with bourbon. “It was pretty delicious, but I could tell it could be better,” she recalled. So she kept tinkering and, as she notes, “it kind of ignited a spark in me.” Soon creations like the Shim Sham, a cookie made of peanut butter, chocolate and bourbon, began to fill her oven.
What started as a hobby quickly turned into a business when she decided to sell her creations at small local events. The Charleston, a double dark chocolate cookie with bourbon, quickly became a fan favorite and requests started pouring in. She set up a Facebook page and branched out with other pandemic popups like Unregular Pizza to spread the word.
Sensing a theme with the names? That’s because Shannon is part of the vintage jazz scene in New York. She’s a professional dancer and choreographer specializing in early forms of jazz dance, and Hep Cat is an ode to the boozy cocktail culture of a bygone era. You don’t have to be a part of the scene to enjoy the cookies, of course. She delivers all over Manhattan for a small fee.
As life gets back to normal, Shannon faces the inevitable decision of what to do with Hep Cat. Live performances for her Kilowatt Dance Theater are booked, so she needs to balance her time between passion projects while “just imagining what could be next.” Dare we say: We’re jazzed to find out.
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