While visiting his father last year, James Mauk was struck with inspiration for a business of his own. Son of the man who founded popular New Canaan restaurant Tequila Mockingbird, Mauk noticed a sign behind the kitchen sink at his dad’s Pound Ridge, N.Y. home that said ‘The Golden Rule’—a reference to the age-old maxim that you should do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Mauk, who graduated from New Canaan High School in 2006—playing lacrosse for the Rams all four years—and then Colorado College, had been feeling disillusioned with the food and beverage industry after working in it for several years in Colorado and California. On seeing the sign, Mauk recalled, he began to wonder what it would mean “if all industries approached business in this way—you did something that you really believed in and thought was the right way to do something.”
From that idea, Mauk’s new venture, Golden Rule Spirits, was born. That was 18 months ago. Since then, Mauk and his business partner—cousin and New Canaan native Hunter Sprole—developed their first product, a canned margarita cocktail based on a recipe developed by his father, Paul Mauk, for Tequila Mockingbird.
“I didn’t understand why there weren’t options for true cocktails in a can,” Mauk said.