June 2016 - Mixers & RTD Cocktails & The Bitter Battle®

This month's Spirits feature is Mixers & RTD Cocktails & Bitters
Mixers & RTD Cocktails & The Bitter Battle® Reviews
215412
Sallie’s Greatest
Strawberry + Basil Simple Syrup
Brilliant dark bronze amber color. Delicate, fresh aromas and flavors of strawberry compote, dried strawberries and herbs, and a hint of balsamic with a supple, crisp, fruity sweet medium body and a tingling, charming, medium-length honeyed strawberries and touch of caramel finish. A very pure, superbly flavorful strawberry syrup that makes a great cocktail.
93 points $12.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215449
On-Time Mixers
Bloody Mary Mix
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Opaque dark ruby color. Spicy, peppery aromas of sweet bbq rubbed tomatoes, turmeric and cumin, and exotic cracked pepper with a bright, fat body and a searing, appealing, medium-long horseradish and wasabi, chili pepper, and toasty gingerbread and zucchini bread finish. A very thick, very different, very very hot bloody Mary.
92 points $7.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
214676
Top Shelf Mixers
Jalapeno Bloody Mary
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Opaque sedimentary ruby color. Fresh, vegetal aromas of pizza sauce, roasted garlic, honeyed sundried tomatoes, and herbs with a medium-full body and a refreshing, medium-long celery and cucumber, root vegetables and green peppers, and white pepper finish. A fun, very green and garlicky, spicy bloody Mary.
92 points $8.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215664
Riemerschmid
Angobitters Bitter
Tasted as an Old Fashioned cocktail. Opaque sedimentary mahogany color. Lively, woody aromas and flavors of spice barks, sandalwood, exotic peppercorns, and rhubarb and green tomato with a supple, bright, dry body and an interesting, medium-length dried citrus and earth finish. This a vivacious and well-balanced bitters that adds a lot of warm, woody spice tones to cocktails, in particular whisky-based cocktails like the old fashioned.
92 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215359
Basement Bitters
Bitter Frost
Tasted as a Pisco Sour cocktail. Brilliant golden amber color. Spicy aromas of fresh gingerbread and oatmeal, fruitcake, brown spices, and malted cocoa with a supple, lively, spritzy, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a seamless, captivating, medium-length anise seed, clove, cardamom, and saffron finish. A very attractive and confectionary-like spice bitters that will add a wonderful pie-like quality to cocktails; in the case of the pisco sour it made it like a liquid key lime pie.
92 points $20 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215332
Crawley’s
Spiced Honey Apple Syrup
Opaque sedimentary amber color. Lively, nutty, fruity aromas of gingerbread, zucchini-apple bread, and delicate brown spices with a supple, soft, fruity sweet medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-long pure clover honey and cinnamon finish. A great spiced apple syrup that really cranks up the volume and midrange of a whisky-based cocktail like a whisky smash.
92 points $20 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215337
Bungalow 23
Blueberry Lemon Drop
Opaque dark purple color. Bright, fruity aromas and flavors of fruit leather, prickly pear, berry compote, and lemon ice with an oily, vibrant, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and an effortless, interesting, short black raspberry sorbet and blueberry tart finish. A very pure, very tasty blueberry lemon drop cocktail that is sure to please.
90 points $13.15 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215665
Riemerschmid
Riemerol Bitter
Neon golden orange color. Bright, fruity, herbal aromas of dried peach, delicate spices and herbs, and honeyed citrus and cucumber with a silky, bright, bittersweet medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length medicinal barks and roots and chamomile tea finish. A nicely balanced and vibrant bitter nonalcoholic ’liqueur’ that works well with soda.
90 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215447
On-Time Mixers
Sweet and Sour Mix
Pale hazy straw color. Bright, citrusy aromas and flavors of baked lemon and lime tart and dried citrus with a silky, lively, fruity medium body and a seamless, easy honeyed lime and salted lemon finish. A clean, well made sour mix that adds a nice savory twist to cocktails and really shines in sour cocktail like a gin sour.
89 points $7.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
214677
Top Shelf Mixers
Lemon Drop Martini
Hazy slivery straw color. Delicate, citrusy aromas and flavors of lemon tart, lemonade, and corn pops with a silky, bright, off-dry light-to-medium body and a seamless, interesting, relaxed finish. A pure flavored, very balanced lemon drop cocktail.
89 points $8.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215331
Crawley’s
Burnt Orange & Vanilla Syrup
Opaque sedimentary golden amber color. Mild, fruity aromas and flavors of baked orange, dark caramel drizzled mango, and vanilla pudding with a soft, vibrant, moderately sweet medium-full body and a tingling, captivating, buoyant finish. A flavorful, well made syrup that brings a delicious, confectionary orange character to plot of a clever cocktail.
89 points $20 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
214675
Top Shelf Mixers
Margarita
Tasted as a Margarita cocktail. Opaque straw color. Delicate, fruity aromas and flavors of key lime pie crust, hint of banana custard, melon rind, and talc with an even, vibrant, medium body and a silky, lime and melon sorbet, clover honey, and candied yams finish. A nice creamy margarita that is a pleasure to drink.
88 points $8.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215365
ERA
Jamaica Bitters
Tasted as a Pisco Sour cocktail. Clear bronze color. Lively, meaty, spicy fruity aromas of chocolate covered espresso bean, smoked pepper, toasted brown spices, and cedar and frankincense incense with a silky, soft, dryish medium body and an intricate, medium-length sassafras, chocolate nuts, and nougat pistachio finish. This is a nice mocha-sassafrass-like bitters that brings a baked, brown roundness to cocktails; in the pisco sour it combined with the creaminess of the egg to create an interesting chocolate soufflé note.
88 points $10 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215552
Tequiponch
Margarita Cocktail
Slivery green straw color. Aromas of dried lime, peppercorn, and yam with an tangy, fruity sweet body and a stimulating, medium-length honeyed limes, hint of herbs and ginseng, and minerals finish. A solid margarita that is sure to please.
88 points $13.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215222
Cuesta Mesa
Margarita
Pale light hazy slivery straw color. Waxy aromas of honey baked citrus, scented candle, and citrus gelatin with a silky, tangy, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a sleek, charming, lime taffy, orange drink, and pineapple finish. A tasty, lightly tropical margarita.
88 points $15.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215330
Crawley’s
Bartender Orgeat Syrup
Cloudy slivery straw color. Mild, oily aromas and flavors of almond oil, crushed whole nuts, cherry pit, and suede with a soft, fruity sweet medium-full body and a smooth, easy honey, horchata, and wax finish. A purely, mellow, nicely balanced almond syrup that pops nicely in cocktails.
88 points $20 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215364
ERA
Origins Bitters
Tasted as an Old Fashioned cocktail. Opaque bronze color. Bright, spicy, fruity aromas and flavors of licorice and clove, chocolate nuts, fig-date bread, and pencil shavings with a supple, bright, dry medium body and a seamless, interesting, breezy peppercorns and cologne-like spices finish. A subtle, anise-led cocktail bitters that adds a pleasant licorice high note to cocktails.
87 points $10 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215316
Taste of Florida
Medium Bloody Mary
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Reddish mahogany brown color. Delicate, vegetal aromas of celery root, herbal pickle, tomato paste, and cedar and a hint of asphalt with a chunky, soft, medium body and a peppery, crisp smoked peppercorns, garlic chip, and Worcestershire sauce finish. A pleasant, easy drinking blood Mary.
86 points $4.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215663
Riemerschmid
Bitterlyne Orange Bitter
Tasted as a Gin Martini cocktail. Light gold color. Mild, herbal, spicy aromas of chamomile, grilled citrus, toasted herbs and bark, and dried flowers with a supple, crisp, petillant, dryish light body and a tingling, delightful, medium-length citrus pith, bark, fennel, and wax finish. A very pungent cocktail bitters that brings a lot of earthiness to the table; in the gin and tonic the citrus character was subdued and supportive.
86 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215409
Austin Cocktails
Fred's Ruby Red Cocktail
Cloudy light golden orange color. Citrusy, umami aromas of fresh sliced grapefruit, farm yard mint, and Meyer lemon seeds and cucumber skin with a lightly tannic, bright, off-dry light-to-medium body and a compelling, easy lime, nougat, wheatgrass, and chalk finish. A nice, easy drinking grapefruit cocktail.
86 points $15.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215361
Owl’s Brew
Wicked Green
Cloudy golden amber color. Delicate, citrusy aromas and flavors of baked orange and lemon, chili peppers, and green tea leaf with a velvety, tangy, off-dry light-to-medium body and a warming, delightful, medium-long pepper jelly finish. A peppery citrus syrup for spicy cocktails.
85 points $13.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215408
Austin Cocktails
Bergamot Orange Margarita
Pale hazy straw color. Mild aromas of prickly pear, spiced melon, and baked peach with a silky, shy, off-dry light body and an interesting, brisk lime Italian ice, pear nectar, hint of lady grey tea, and grass finish. A delicate, lightly herbal margarita.
85 points $15.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215551
Tequiponch
Orange Margarita Cocktail
Brilliant neon golden yellow color. Delicate, curious, fruity waxy aromas of baked citrus, mint gelatin, scented candle, and rice cake with a bright, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a smooth, quick orange drink and mango-lime relish finish. A nice citrusy, tangy margarita.
84 points $13.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215225
Jose Diego
Golden Margarita
Pale hazy slivery straw color. Delicate, citrusy, creamy herbal aromas of key lime custard, epazote and curry leaf, toasted marshmallow, and rice with a silky, bright, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, crisp fruit salad and vanilla-banana pudding finish. Interesting creamy, tropical twist on a margarita.
84 points $16.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215550
Tequiponch
Low Calorie Margarita Cocktail
Hazy light golden green color. Delicate, citrusy, herbal aromas of lemon-ginseng-menthol cough drop, warm rose’s lime concentrate, baked yams, and cedar with a lightly tannic, crisp, fruity sweet light body and a seamless, breezy lime spritzed melon rind, lime sucker, and grass finish. A decent diet margarita.
83 points $13.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215666
Riemerschmid
Bitter Bar Syrup
Neon red color. Bright, savory, peppery aromas and flavors of smoked peppercorns, toasty cedar, grilled and pickled beets, and saffron with a soft, bright, petillant, dryish light body and a silky, brisk double mint gum, birch bark, crystallized ginger, and almond oil finish. An easy drinking non-alcohol bitter syrup for mild cocktail creations.
83 points $14.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215223
Drego Azul
Margarita Light
Brilliant pale chartreuse color. Delicate, curious aromas of dark roasted nuts and limes and pond rind with a tannic, crisp, moderately sweet light body and a graceful, brisk lime pixie sticks and popsicle, baby aspirin, diet sprite, and chalk eraser finish.
81 points $6.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215226
Tropic Isle Palms
Southern Hurricane
Light pink color. Bright, candied, fruity aromas of black cherry soda, watermelon jelly bean, and hint of marzipan cookie with a supple, tangy, moderately sweet body and a silky, short Hawaiian punch and orange baby aspirin finish. A candied fruit punch cocktail.
81 points $14.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215224
Isla de Rico
Long Island Iced Tea
Light golden amber color. Delicate aromas of flat RC cola, lime, and cinnamon coffee cake with a soft, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a smooth, swift citrus pudding and sherbet finish.
80 points $16.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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