Made From: Cognac & Vodka Base
Origin: France
Proof: 34
Age: 0
Importer: WINGARD, INC.
Location: Great Neck, N.J.

Hpnotiq was created by Raphael Yakoby in 2001, a young entrepreneur and college dropout living with his parents on Long Island, New York, who, after seeing a blue perfume at Bloomingdale’s, decided to create a blue liqueur.

Nick Storm, a Yonkers, N.Y., native who had spent six years in the music industry and met Yakoby through a mutual friend, partnered with him to promote it. Yakoby and Storm failed to sell the concept to major drinks manufacturers and running out of money, the two took the drink to the streets by pestering the city’s clubs and bars to sell it through a series of promotional events and parties which utilized Storm’s music industry contacts. The big break came when hip hop impresario Sean “Diddy” Combs agreed to sell the drink in his restaurant chain Justin’s in New York. Within a year, it was a popular drink in New York night clubs.

Urban and hip-hop groups began to promote the brand in music videos, on stage and in rap lyrics like R. Kelly, Ludacris, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim, Fabulous and Diddy. One person that was instrumental in the drink’s growth is the hip-hopper Fabolous, mentioning it in at least four songs on his album, “Street Dreams.” On his 2002 hit single “This Is My Party”, Fabolous started his first verse with the following words “Ain’t no tellin’ what this Hpno’ will do to me”. The legendary green cocktail named “Incredible Hulk” for its color being reminiscent of the famous comic book hero eventually came about at a Hpnotiq launch party at one of Combs’ Justin’s restaurants.

The brand was originally distributed by Wingard Inc. of Great Neck, New York; in January 2003, Yakoby’s trademark and the distribution rights were acquired by Heaven Hill Distilleries. The brand earned Yakoby a reported $50 million. Hpnotiq is bottled in France’s Cognac region and the vodka is premium, French and distilled three times. It is the fourth best-selling imported liqueur in the United States, according to Adams Beverage Media.

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