The Untold Truth Of MF Libations

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"The Walking Dead" actor Jeffrey Morgan prefers smoky rye whiskey, and his celebrity wife Hilarie Burton, gin. We know that because they launched their own alcoholic beverage line, MF Libations (no, MF is not a swear word), with two introductory offerings — MF Bonfire Rye Whiskey and MF Blackberry Gin — based on each of their personal tastes (via Instagram). With the launch of their alcohol company, the two, who usually prefer to keep their lives private (so private that, through their first 10 years of relationship, no one knew whether they were married or not) not only revealed their poison choices but also gave away tidbits about their life on a farm. Now we know that Burton likes to grow blackberries and Morgan likes to chop wood. While there are a ton of celebrity-backed drinks out there, MF Libations' offerings stand apart and are unique to the couple because of the heavy inspiration they take from the couple's life on a Hudson Valley farm.

Morgan and Burton, who have been together for over a decade, are equally pumped about their new venture. Morgan said, "It's cool that you can have a partner that, you know, again, is on the same page and shares the same passion." The duo, which juggles its time between Hollywood projects, farming, parenting, and operating businesses including a production company, has now magically made time for some mischief with MF Libations. Here's all you need to know about this star-studded beverage.

The founders are Hollywood celebrities

If your night of drunken revelry is fueled by Casamigos tequila, you can blame George Clooney. More and more celebrities are starting their own alcohol brands. There is Ryan Reynolds' Aviation Gin, Channing Tatum's Born and Bred vodka, and of course, Clooney's Casamigos (it was gobbled up by the alcohol behemoth Diageo in 2017 for a billion dollars, per Today). Adding to this star-studded industry is now the celebrity power couple Jeffrey Morgan and Hilarie Burton's MF Libations. Per Bevnet, the duo was an intrinsic part of the alcohol's journey from start to finish. 

The business owners are also actors. Morgan and Burton have decades of showbiz experience. Morgan's resume includes films like "PS I Love You," "Accidental Husband," and "Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice" (via IMDb). Morgan has also been part of several television series including "The Good Wife," "Grey's Anatomy," and "The Walking Dead" (which is set to conclude in 2022, per AMC). His wife, Burton, who played the action-packed role of a DEA agent in "Lethal Weapon" and has appeared in a ton of other films, was also part of "Grey's Anatomy" (however, not at the same time as Morgan) and "The Walking Dead," where the real-life husband and wife got to be a couple in the post-apocalyptic horror show (via IMDb). 

They are both business and life partners

Can a husband and wife be good business partners? It turns out the answer is yes if we take Hilarie Burton and Jeffrey Morgan's example. The couple seems to have borrowed the age-old war strategy of divide and conquer to run their business. Burton told Forbes that her husband makes all the creative choices for the brand, including taste-making and graphic design. "I do the minutia, like legal documents and things like that," she said. Morgan added, "She's [Burton] the brains of the operation, obviously. She's very detail-oriented, where I'm more big-picture guy." This neat system, apparently, applies to their day-to-day life as well. "She's [Burton] on top of everything at all times, so I can't do better than this as a partner," said Morgan.

The couple had hit it off the first time they met at a bar in Los Angeles, back in 2009. Burton told People that she had found Morgan's confidence alluring — enough for her to miss her flight the next morning (via Instagram). Although, in hindsight, she didn't miss it for no reason. Today, the duo live a storybook life on a farm with their children, Gus and George, born in 2010 and 2018 respectively. "I have pinch me moments every day ... My son was a gift, my daughter was a surprise and Jeffrey was a whirlwind. Watching all of them engage feels surreal. I have so much gratitude," Burton told People.

There is some mischief in the name

The MF in MF Libations stands for Mischief Farm, the 100-acre farm in Upstate New York that Hilarie Burton and Jeffrey Morgan call home. When moving into the farm, Morgan said they had happened to see headstones with the word Mischief. The couple really took to it — Morgan told Bevnet, "we knew that mischief was going to be the mission statement of all that we did — whether it be films, television, and now spirits." Clearly, he was referring to MF aka Mischief Farm Libations. The couple transitioned from the buzz of Los Angeles to the quiet of Hudson Valley soon after they had their first child in 2010, per People. What brought them there was a movie project that Morgan was working on (via Instagram). 

The very first time they drove through Rhinebeck, a town in Hudson Valley, Burton wrote in her book "The Rural Diaries," she felt truly at home. The couple moved into a farmhouse there, complete with chickens, ducks, an emu, donkeys, cows, and an alpaca (via People). For Burton, "Moving here was a let go." Sure, living on a farm will get you those Instagram-worthy sunrise shots, but as Burton confirms, it's also a lot of work. Feeding animals, mopping plank wood floors, and planting fresh zucchini, beans and tomatoes might sound exhausting, but Burton told Architectural Digest, "I've never felt more valued." 

The bottles have actor Jeffrey Morgan's handwriting on the label

A select number of MF Libations' bottles were signed by both Jeffrey Morgan and Hilarie Burton as part of a limited edition pre-release (via The Wolf). Missed out? No worries, you can still see how Morgan writes on every MF Libations bottle. When you buy a bottle of the brand's gin or whiskey, what you see on the label is actor Jeffrey Morgan's penmanship. Turns out, before catching the acting bug, Morgan wanted to be a basketball player. But when an injury turned that into an impossibility, he diverted his attention to his other interests, which, according to JD, included "painting and writing". 

Well, that explains the neat lettering. But why take the pains to brainstorm typography ideas by hand, when you could let technology handle it? As Burton said in the product's promotional video, the couple wanted to make the product personal. "We wanted people to feel that they were getting something directly from us," she said (via Instagram). "So, it was important that we didn't do some big fancy goofy label. This is a note from us to you guys at home," she added.

The official launch coincided with Jeffrey Morgan's birthday

While for some of us, the highlight of a birthday celebration is biting into the biggest slice of cake; for Jeffrey Morgan and Hilarie Burton, it's launching a new line of alcoholic beverages. On April 22, 2022, Burton posted a video accompanied by a long message wishing her husband a happy 56th birthday while also announcing the official launch of their new alcohol brand (via Instagram). "That way our brand and our boy [Morgan, obviously] will always have the same birthday and we'll always have a way to celebrate together!" she wrote.

While informing the fans that they could order their bottles from Reserve Bar, an online delivery platform for alcoholic beverages, Burton also took the opportunity to share about the mischievous times she and her husband have had traveling across the world "From the town square in Santa Fe to trick or treating in the Garden District of New Orleans, to the beaches of Miami, and the cobblestone streets of Spain," she wrote, "you have made life a massive adventure. And home is where ever we are all together. But the farm, and the sanctuary you've built there ... that's the thing I'm proudest of. So happy to be bottling that feeling with you and sharing it," she added.  

The reason MF Libations was born has something to do with hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer and MF Libations have more in common than being alcohol-based. To know the how and why of it, let's revisit the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides hoarding toilet paper and Vita Coco, people were also striving to give back to the community. Hilarie Burton, for example, took to sewing masks for first responders; and Jeffrey Morgan distributed them in hospitals (via Forbes). They also, like most of us, checked in with their friends through video calls. Of course, their friends included celebrities like actors Paul Rudd, Kelly Ripa, and stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, among others. Their check-ins were made into an AMC show called "Friday Night In With The Morgans."

A sustainable small-batch estate distillery in their neighborhood, The Vale Fox Distillery, was also trying to do its bit for the society. The company had turned its distillery into a facility that made hand sanitizer, Morgan told Forbes. Vale Fox reached out to Burton to help distribute the sanitizer because she was already giving away masks. "We loved that there was another local business that was trying to take care of our community," said Burton (via Instagram). And that is how the Mischief Farm couple met The Vale Fox distillers. They didn't just collaborate to give away hand sanitizer — they also worked together for six months to launch MF Libations (via Bevnet).

Their gin uses blackberries grown by Hilarie herself

One of the offerings from Hilarie Burton and Jeffrey Morgan's nascent company is MF Blackberry Gin. The Blackberries used in this bottle of gin are grown by Burton herself, right at the farm. In fact, the little berries are her favorite things to grow, she said in a promo video posted on Instagram. She added that mixing blackberries with the award-winning gin from The Vale Fox Distillery results in a liquor that, per Burton, makes for a great addition to any mixed drink. "And it's also so pretty that it makes every mixed drink better," she said. 

According to Bevnet, MF Blackberry Gin uses The Vale Fox Distillery's Tod & Vixen's Dry Gin 1651 — a gin which, per its website, was designed to be a good addition to cocktails. It was made by British master distiller Gary (Gaz) Regan, who has authored several books, including "The Bartender's Gin Compendium" which explores the history of gin. Morgan and Burton's MF Blackberry Gin starts with this gin, which is already flavored with a mix of herbs including juniper, angelic root, rooibos tea, orris root, coriander, fresh navel orange peel, bitter orange peel, and makrut lime leaves, and infuses it with blackberries. The list might seem straight out of the botany chapter that you hated in high school, but all those hard-to remember herb names are what give the gin its unique taste.

The rye whiskey is inspired by Jeffrey's love for bonfires

What would a whiskey inspired by bonfires taste like? Smoky, of course.  The farmhouse where Jeffrey Morgan and Hilarie Burton live has 20 fire pits outside the house, besides a few fireplaces inside, as Morgan told Forbes. He added, "I've always got a fire going." Burton attested to Morgan's love for starting fires in a promo video shared on Instagram, saying her husband spends close to six hours every day chopping wood. MF Libations Smoky Rye captures the essence of a bonfire.

The best way to drink it, as Morgan says in his deep-throated voice, is "on its own", with "maybe an ice cube, and a fire of some sort" (via Instagram). The whiskey is made with The Vale Fox Distillery's two-year-old rye whiskey that has been steeped with smoke Lapsang Souchong tea for 30 minutes (the tea, according to MF Libations' website, was the first black tea in the world). Each sip includes a hint of honey and spice, per Bevnet.

MF Libations is made in the Hudson Valley

Hilarie Burton and Jeffrey Morgan's alcohol brand MF Libations, in a sense, is an ode to Hudson Valley — the place that allowed them their perfect lifestyle. "We both really like the idea that we could live somewhere where we weren't under a microscope, and we have all this room to play," said Burton. Play can include anything from building a cabin in the woods to walking around naked at 2 a.m. or starting a booze brand, the couple explained.

With their alcohol offerings, they want to give people "a taste of what our home is," as Burton told Forbes. As local business owners, they have been eager to collaborate with other local business owners to bring out their product. For example, The Vale Fox Distillery, which makes their whiskey and gin, is based out of Hudson Valley. The Lapsang Souchong tea that MF Bonfire Rye Whiskey uses comes from another local Hudson Valley business, Harney & Sons (founded in 1983). The couple also made sure that all the promotional photos and videos were taken by local videographers; the official launch video of MF Libations is credited to Good Time Film Company, a video production company based in Hudson Valley.  

The founders of MF Libations also own a sweet shop

In addition to hawking alcohol, the owners of MF Libations also co-own a candy store. The decision to buy the store was purely made to save a local business from sinking. Jeffrey Morgan told Stephen Colbert in an interview that when he and Hilarie Burton first moved to Hudson Valley in 2010, the first person they met was Ira Gutner, the founder of Samuel's Sweet Shop. Gutner passed away four years later from a heart attack and his passing threatened to shutter the candy store. However, a group of people stepped in to save the business, including Morgan, Burton, actor Paul Rudd, his wife, Julie, and one other family (via Simple Most). 

Morgan told Colbert that he and Rudd, fellow residents of the area, had been friends for a while, and decided to chip in to save the store. The store, according to Morgan, is one of the "coolest things" that the couple has done together (via Samuel's Sweet Shop). They get to curate their own candy gift samplers, each of which comes with a marshmallow crispy cake with their photo printed on it.