January 2016 - Mixers & Ready-to-Drink Cocktails

This month's Spirits feature is Mixers, Ready-to-Drink Cocktails, Bar Syrups, Bar Sodas & Flavored Malt Beverages
Mixers & Ready-to-Drink Cocktails Reviews
213683
Zing Zang
Bloody Mary Mix
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Opaque garnet brick color. Bright, attractive, vegetal aromas and flavors of tomato vinaigrette, tomato-pepper jelly, spice-herb medley, and roasted lemon with a lively, bone-dry medium-full body and a tingling, complex, long roasted nut, spicy garlic tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mixed peppercorns finish. A lively and flavorful bloody Mary with great balance and drinkability.
95 points $4.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213820
Stirrings
Simple Bloody Mary
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Opaque ruby brick color. Spicy, savory aromas and flavors of roasted tomatoes,peppers and carrots, curry spices, grilled lemon, and celery salt on green beans with a velvety, crisp, dry-yet-fruity full body and a tingling, intricate, medium-long pepper, garlic, honeyed tomato, and blood orange finish. An interesting Asian twist on a blood Mary with nice zesty citrus and curry notes.
92 points $6.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213558
Fat & Juicy
Bloody Mary Mix
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Opaque cloudy reddish mahogany color. Bright aromas of deviled eggs with hot paprika, garlic salt, roasted peppers, and Worcestershire sauce with an oily, body and a tingling, delightful, medium-long pureed vegetables, spicy tomato juice, and mixed peppers finish. A nicely balanced, delicately spicy, rather elegant and pure bloody Mary.
91 points $5.49 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213819
Stirrings
Simple Margarita
Tasted as a Margarita cocktail. Hazy cloudy straw yellow color. Delicate, inviting, citrusy aromas and flavors of honeyed limes, dates, and caramelized sweet potato with an even, racy, off-dry light body and an effortless, instant prickly pear, melon ice, and minerals finish. Tasted as a margarita: great purity and balance of this mixer lets the agave shine through and makes and great cocktail.
91 points $6.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213564
Sallie’s Greatest
Blackberry Spice & Sage Simple Syrup
Cloudy ruby color. Rich, inviting, spicy herbal aromas and flavors of lemongrass, juniper, cardamom, and baked berries with a soft, bright, off-dry medium-to-full body and a peppery, odd, long boysenberry chutney, hibiscus tea, vibrant spices and herbs, and pink peppercorns finish. Tasted as a cocktail: a rich and layered fruit and herb syrup and makes an fantastic gin-based bramble cocktail.
91 points $12.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213659
Coppa
Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail
Minutely hazy gold color. Baked aromas and flavors of spiced yams and oranges, cola, and sarsaparilla with an even, vibrant, moderately sweet medium-full body and a sleek, intricate, medium-length rich brown spices, gingerbread, lemon tea, and mincemeat finish. A solid cola cocktail.
91 points $13.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213544
Powell & Mahoney
"Skinny" Margarita Mix
Tasted as a Margarita cocktail. Hazy straw color. Bright, citrusy aromas and flavors of baked lime, honey, and candied yams with an even, tangy, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, medium-length finish. Tasted as a margarita: an attractive and pure margarita mix that lets the tequila’s agave shine through.
90 points $7.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213547
Powell & Mahoney
Old Ballycastle Ginger
Brilliant clear golden amber color. Bright, inviting aromas and flavors of fresh ginger root, caramelized fruits and nuts, and honeyed cucumber with a satiny, crisp, petillant, off-dry medium body and a warming, delightful, medium-length hot peppery spices, chili power, and Mexican chocolate finish. Tasted as a Moscow mule. a wonderfully spicy, vibrant and pure ginger mix that really cuts through and delivers gingery intensity.
90 points $7.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
211747
Vintage Vine
Bloody Mary Mix
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Opaque ruby color. Bright, peppery, savory aromas and flavors of spicy tomato sauce, garlic and celery salts, and Worcestershire sauce with a tangy, dry medium-to-full body and a hot, compelling, long cracked pepper, horseradish, and roasted peppers finish. Tasted as a bloody Mary: a very spicy and peppery bloody Mary mix for fans of heat.
90 points $8.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213568
Irish Dog
Bloody Mary Mix
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Cloudy opaque light ruby color. Spicy, herbal aromas and flavors of spicy tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce with an bright, medium body and a peppery, interesting, medium-long celery salt, mixed peppers, horseradish, and oyster sauce finish. A nice, peppery and salty blood Mary with a frisky finish.
89 points $4.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213498
Crafted Cocktails
Shrub's Asian Pear Cocktail Enhancer
Brilliant straw yellow color. Curious aromas and flavors of marinated artichoke hearts, pear vinaigrette and candy, and apple candy with a velvety, lively, petillant, off-dry medium-to-full body and a tingling, intricate, medium-long lemon ice, pear drop and gastrique, and pepper finish. A fun, tangy apple-pear cocktail that will be a great aperitif.
89 points $12.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213472
Regatta
Ginger Beer
Brilliant nearly opaque slivery straw color. Bright, spicy aromas of fresh ginger and white pepper with a supple, crisp, spritzy, fruity medium body and a tingling, stimulating, breezy creamed honey, peppery spice, and rhubarb finish. A bright and zesty ginger beer with nice balance that works ok in a Moscow mule.
88 points $5.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213660
Coppa
Mojito Cocktail
Pale light golden green color. Rich, minty, citrusy aromas and flavors of mint leaf, key lime pie, and caraway rye bread with a silky, crisp, sweet medium body and a smooth, intriguing, medium-length mint gum and lemon curd finish. A tasty and well balanced mojito; garnish with mint.
88 points $13.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213565
SoulBoxer
Brandy Old Fashioned
Brilliant amber color. Delicate, spicy aromas and flavors of warm brown spices, sarsaparilla, egg nog, and dried cherries with a silky, crisp, moderately sweet medium body and a tingling, delightful, buoyant caramelized orange, vanilla, and delicate herbs and barks finish. A rock solid ready-to-drink brandy old fashioned.
88 points $21.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213726
Tremols Easy Cocktails
Piña Colada
Creamy white with floating bits color. Lively, sweet, tropical exotic creamy aromas and flavors of fresh cream, coconut flakes, dried pineapple, and banana cream pie with a chunky, soft, moderately sweet fat body and a tingling, delightful, medium-length coconut cream, pineapple candy, whole milk, and vanilla and coconut wax finish. Nice piña colada flavor however the chunky bits of coconut flakes are tough to swallow; blend in a blender with ice.
87 points $12 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213661
Coppa
Margarita Cocktail
Cloudy hazy straw color. Bright, citrusy aromas and flavors of lime curd and limeade with a silky, bright, moderately sweet medium body and a smooth, relaxed lemon custard and sorbet and hint of vanilla finish. A solid ready to drink margarita.
87 points $13.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213845
VitaFrute™ Cocktails by VEEV®
Ginger Pear Mule
Hazy slivery straw color. Waxy, herbal fruity aromas of Asian scented candle, herbal tea, and dried pear with a satiny, vibrant, petillant, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, stimulating, medium-length creamy vanilla, white toffee, crystallized ginger, and candied lemon finish. A fun, Asian inspired ready to drink cocktail.
87 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213976
Bodega de San Antonio
Sangria Tradicional
Bright medium garnet color. Lively, fruity, spicy aromas and flavors of cranberry-orange chutney, lemon-lime soda, peppery spices, and potpourri with an even, vibrant, off-dry medium body and a tingling, intriguing, breezy cherry pits and honeycomb finish. A pleasant, fruity and floral red sangria.
86 points $8 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213496
Crafted Cocktails
Mule Cocktail Mix
Minutely hazy light gold color. Bright, herbal aromas and flavors of ginger and honeyed herbal tea with a velvety, crisp, off-dry medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long pepper, lime pith, green apple, and dilute lemon tea finish. A nicely balanced and easy drinking Moscow mule.
86 points $10.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213727
Tremols Easy Cocktails
Caipirinha
Hazy slivery straw color. Bright, earthy aromas of cane stalk, flower patch, citrus pith, and diesel-like minerality with a supple, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, brisk lime zest, sugar cane, wax, and gravel finish.
86 points $12 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213734
Tremols Easy Cocktails
Long Island Iced Tea
Bright medium mahogany color. Lively, toasty, grassy aromas of dusty spices and herbs, smoked peppercorns, cola, and cedar with an even, tangy, off-dry medium-to-full body and a peppery, delightful, relaxed candied citrus and sweet lemon tea finish. A sweet, candied, toasty cola cocktail.
86 points $12 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213475
Rogue Ales & Spirits
Honey Orange Soda
Bright slivery straw color. Aromas and flavors of chamomile tea, jasmine honey, and roasted papaya and sweet potato with a supple, crisp, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, engaging, cheery cucumber skin finish. A light flower scented soda for delicate rum cocktails.
85 points $4.50 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213569
Cicero Beverage Company
Bacon Bloody Mary Mix
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Opaque reddish brown color. Bright, savory, meaty aromas and flavors of tomato and split pea soups and bbq potato chip with an soft, dry medium-to-full body and a peppery, stimulating, medium-length cracked pepper, smoked ham, and Worcestershire sauce finish. A meaty, savory blood Mary for brunches.
85 points $5.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213542
Powell & Mahoney
"Spiced Grapefruit" Tonic
Brilliant clear color. Delicate, citrusy, minerally aromas and flavors of mineral and delicate herb with a supple, crisp, petillant, dry-yet-fruity light body and a polished, brisk honeyed dried fruits and barks finish. Tasted as a vodka tonic: a clean, solid tonic water with balanced, understated quinine and chichona notes.
85 points $7.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213546
Powell & Mahoney
Lemon Sour Mix
Hazy slivery straw color. Delicate, citrusy, roasted aromas and flavors of roasted sweet potato and lime soufflé with a satiny, crisp, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a seamless, swift lemon zest finish. Tasted as a tequila sour: the limey sour mix is understated and pure, making a mellow cocktail.
85 points $7.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213176
Boris Cool
Lychee & Green Apple Malt Liquor
Bright clear color. Faint, unusual, floral fruity aromas of artichoke, candied orange and mango, and lychee with a supple, crisp, effervescent, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a graceful, compelling, brisk apple soda, fruit cocktail, rose water, and elderflower finish. A pleasant floral fruity drink.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213179
Pepito Sangria
Sangria Original
Garnet color. Bright, spicy, fruity aromas and flavors of brown spices, cherry and raspberry jams, and candied oranges with a supple, crisp, petillant, off-dry body and a smooth, breezy mixed berry powder and candy finish. A pleasant lightly spicy sangria.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213473
Rogue Ales & Spirits
Root Beer
Dark brown black color. Spicy aromas of root beer, chocolate, and hint of honeyed hops with a supple, lively, finely carbonated, sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length sweet spices finish. A clean, sweet root beer with nice balance; try in an alcoholic float.
84 points $4.50 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
214073
Maven Cocktails
Chardonnay Vodka Cocktail
Bright light straw color. Delicate, interesting aromas and flavors of smoked and caramelized nuts and baked apple with a satiny, tangy, dry medium body and a warming, rapid lemon pith, white cranberry, and white chocolate finish. A very tart and tangy ready to drink cocktail.
84 points $6.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213821
Stirrings
Simple Cosmopolitan
Hazy pink color. Delicate, confected, artificial aromas and flavors of fruit punch powder drink and lime concentrate with a glycerous, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, swift punch popsicle, diet cranberry soda, and raspberry lozenge finish. An easy drinking cosmo.
84 points $6.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213308
Walter
All Natural Well-Spiced Caesar Mix
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Cloudy opaque ruby color. Lively, vegetal aromas and flavors of roasted tomato marinara, roasted peppers, peppercorns, and soy with an even, soft, dry light body and a smooth, swift celery, roasted squash, and delicate herbs finish.
84 points $7.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213085
Owl’s Brew
White and Vine
Hazy golden amber color. Delicate, baked, fruity aromas and flavors of baked peaches, candied yams, and lemon ice tea powder with an even, bright, fruity sweet medium body and a polished, captivating, medium-long Arnold Palmer finish. A pleasant spiked Arnold Palmer cocktail with hint of peach.
84 points $13.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213474
Rogue Ales & Spirits
Citrus Cucumber Soda
Clear color. Bright, waxy, earthy aromas of cucumber skin, celery root, ivory soap, and candle wax with a supple, crisp, effervescent, fruity light body and a graceful, brisk honeyed cucumber and flat ginger ale finish. A very waxy and earthy cucumber soda that plays nicely in a gin cocktail.
83 points $4.50 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
214074
Maven Cocktails
Pinot Noir Vodka Cocktail
Bright medium garnet color. Bright, funky aromas and flavors of dark berry relish and gastrique and baking chocolate with an even, tangy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, compelling, brisk nutshells, grape skins, cocoa, and earth finish. A lean and tart rtd with firm woody tannins.
83 points $6.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213492
Lost Vineyards
Classic Sangria
Dark garnet color. Mild, baked aromas of roasted red berries and nougat with a silky, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, brisk spiced apple and citrus finish. A mellow sangria sipper.
83 points $7.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213494
Lost Vineyards
Berry Sangria
Bright medium dark garnet color. Delicate, fruity aromas and flavors of berry powder drink, cocoa, pixie sticks candy, and children’s aspirin with an even, crisp, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, quick cherry candy wrapper and nutshell finish.
83 points $7.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213497
Crafted Cocktails
Moonlight Cocktail Mix
Minutely hazy gold pink color. Rich, interesting aromas and flavors of prickly pear, roasted jalapeño, white chocolate mint, and cucumber carrot relish with a satiny, shy, petillant, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, medium-long vanilla-butterscotch pudding and pepper jelly on a cream puff finish. An unusual creamy, peppery, and minty cocktail that tastes pretty good.
83 points $10.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213731
Tremols Easy Cocktails
Sex on the Beach
Cloudy light ruby color. Bright, fruity, confected aromas and flavors of melon and raspberries sorbets with a supple, tart, fruity sweet light body and a graceful, brisk berry aspirin and melon rind finish. A pleasant fruit cocktail.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213733
Tremols Easy Cocktails
Mai Tai
Neon red color. Delicate, earthy, herbal aromas and flavors of peppercorns, berry gelatin powder, and cotton cloth with a silky, tangy, sweet light-to-medium body and a silky, brisk cranberry and strawberry sorbet and fruit punch finish. A nice tangy cocktail.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213585
Lolea
No. 1 Red Sangria Frizzante
Bright medium steely purple color. Delicate, unusual, waxy aromas and flavors of crayon, schmaltz, and cherry scented candle with an even, vibrant, petillant, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, crisp raspberry sorbet, orange soda, delicate spice, and wax paper finish. A fruity, berry soda like sangria.
83 points $14.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
211813
Whispering Oaks Winery
"Blueberry Sassy Sangria"
Bright medium garnet color. Bright, fruity aromas of cranberry relish and mild brown spices with an even, vibrant, fruity medium body and a warming, brisk tomato jelly, sour cherry, nuts, and earth finish. A tart, cranberry like sangria.
83 points $14.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213180
Poppers
"Hard Ice" Malt Liquor
Cloudy clear color. Bright, baked, citrusy aromas of baked lime and lemon lozenge with a supple, tart, spritzy, dry-yet-fruity light body and a tingling, short lemon powder drink, lemon-lime soda, and children’s aspirin finish. A crisp, citrus hard lemonade.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212991
Taste of Florida
Sour Mix
Hazy gold color. Bright aromas of caramel, lemon drop, and grain with a soft, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, brief nutshells, lemon powder, and brown paper finish. Tasted as a Whisky Sour: at 2 oz. whisky to 1 oz. sour mix, the sour mix doesn’t add much to the cocktail, needs more mix.
82 points $4.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213177
Boris Cool
Raspberry & Hibiscus Malt Liquor
Clear color. Delicate, fruity aromas of raspberry nonpareil and custard, candied yams, hibiscus and jasmine tea, and floral soap with a supple, crisp, finely carbonated, sweet medium body and an effortless, snappy bubblegum, fruit punch, and pear soda finish. A bubblegum like rtd.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212993
Taste of Florida
Peach Cocktail Mixer
Pale orange salmon pink color. Bright, fruity aromas of peaches and strawberries in sour cream, melon sorbet, and Pez candy with a silky, bright, moderately sweet medium body and a warming, long melon lozenge, berry cough syrup, bitter herbs, and aspartame finish.
81 points $5.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213728
Tremols Easy Cocktails
Caipiroska
Cloudy clear with light particles color. Delicate aromas of lemon-lime soda, lemon concentrate, and flat watery ginger ale with an body and a smooth, instant diet tonic water, seltzer water, Alka seltzer, and old can buttercream frosting finish.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213730
Tremols Easy Cocktails
Real Mint Mojito Gold
Hazy amber with lots of color. Bright, minty aromas and flavors of mint gum, lime water, and chamomile tea with a supple, tart, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, cheery lime ice, chalk, and soda water finish. A decent tasting mojito with distracting floaties.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213586
Lolea
No. 2 White Sangria Frizzante
Bright pale white gold slivery straw color. Rich, fruity aromas and flavors of peach sherbet and candy and nougat with a glycerous, bright, off-dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, fast white grapes and diet peach soda finish. A very fruity and candied sangria.
81 points $14.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213559
Fat & Juicy
Margarita Mix
Tasted as a Margarita cocktail. Pale slivery straw color. Mild, earthy aromas and flavors of horse blanket, hay stack, dried citrus powder, and nut brittle with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity thin body and a smooth, short powdered lemon and chalk finish.
80 points $5.49
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213493
Lost Vineyards
Citrus White Sangria
Bright light slivery straw color. Bright, rubbery aromas and flavors of peppery spices and pear soda with an even, bright, petillant, off-dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, rapid apple sauce and lemon-lime soda finish. A mellow, candied sangria.
80 points $7.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213495
TreeHugger
Sangria
Steely purple color. Mild, confected, citrusy aromas and flavors of powdered citrus drink and Pez candy with a soft, tart, fruity sweet thin body and a graceful, short-lived berry powder, children’s vitamin, and fruit pith finish. Serve with a lot of ice.
80 points $7.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213588
ShotPak
Strawberry Daiquiri
Neon fuchsia color. Lively, fruity, medicinal aromas and flavors of cherry cough syrup and cranberry relish with a supple, vibrant, sweet light-to-medium body and an effortless, carefree strawberry lemonade and berry candy finish. A sweet berry cocktail.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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