When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at five years old, little did I know that my life would change completely. Upon returning to school, I saw my friends snacking away—while I was wondering why I couldn’t do the same. Even at five there was a sense of loneliness and isolation.

As I grew older and my friends started eating out at restaurants, those differences were far more readily apparent. While they didn’t have to think twice about what they were consuming or face health setbacks, I was forced to carry around a bag full of medical apparatus that, to me, screamed: “I don't fit in.”

Despite these every-day adversities, I have always realized how fortunate I have been. Thanks to profound advancements in diabetes management, exceptional medical care and with the support of my family, I’ve been able to persevere through physical challenges and learn not only how to cope with my differences, but conquer them.

From carefully managing every carb and gram of sugar I ingested, to competing in high school at the highest levels of three sports, I refused to let my diabetes limit my potential.

After entering college, I joined the rugby team and became a leader on campus. It was a fresh start; nobody knew me as the “diabetic kid” and for the first time, I felt “normal.” Yet, every weekend, as my friends partied without a care, I was once again reminded of how I remained set apart. It was almost as though I was five-year-old Nate at snack time again—isolated and different.

That's when, serendipitously, I met my college best friend Zeke Bronfman and we began to put our heads together to look for alternatives. We were motivated to find a drink that I could enjoy in off-hours without constantly worrying about my blood sugars. Zeke also was driven to find a convenient and affordable cocktail that lived up to the sips of whiskey and gin that he had grown up sharing with his grandfathers. However, nothing on the market quite worked for either of us: everything on the market forced us to make a tradeoff between the full, authentic flavor we sought and the nutrition my diabetes demanded. Toward that end, we went back to our dorm room/lab to seek out our own unique solution and began the exhaustive process of mixing and refining. From that, we created the perfect-tasting Gin and Tonic—with zero sugar and a third of the calories that exist in traditional cocktails!

Today, we are enormously proud to bring SESH to market. At long last, SESH is a better-tasting AND better-for-you alternative to beer and cocktails that I can enjoy at will without a shred of guilt or distress. We concocted SESH so that diabetics, celiacs, athletes and anyone who spends a little extra time looking at nutrition labels can indulge in a full-bodied adult beverage that spirits connoisseurs can recommend, without anyone having to make compromises or feel excluded.