If there’s one thing I’ve increasingly realized in the past few years while tasting a whole host of RTD (ready-to-drink) cocktail brands, it’s that one has to essentially separate “cocktails” and “mixed drinks” into two mental categories for this segment of the alcohol market. .
RTD “cocktails” are usually higher strength offerings available in smaller formats, such as the 100ml, single cans of a company like Post Meridiem. They usually repeat classic cocktails such as old fashioned or Manhattan, which is a somewhat more complicated task, which includes a combination of additional spirits, liqueurs, bitters, juices, etc. RTD market in terms of price to the consumer.
RTD “mixed drinks” are more modest and easy for anyone to get around. I’m talking here about simple “Mixer Spirit Plus” drinks like canned and tonic gin, rum and cola, or ginger whiskey, etc. It’s arguably an easier sale, since you can package them in a larger format, and more familiar packages like a 12-ounce can of soda , which is less expensive. I think these types of RTD drinks may hold more promise in this segment, as it seems that they should be easier to get well, and because the consumer probably has lower expectations for a gin and canned moisturizer than they do for him. Canned martini or Manhattan.
However, the flip side is that the canned Spirit Plus Mixer category is still basically the premium side of the “canned mixed drinks” spectrum, because the really cheaper offerings available on the market are all Seltzers disguised as spirits. Whether those brands are the kind that go out of their way to suggest they contain spirits when they really don’t – a pervasive practice that has damaged the idea of farm water before it even had a chance to gain fame – these cheap examples from seltzer- as-cocktails are able to reduce the prices of more authentic brands. It leaves the makers of these original mixed drinks in a difficult position, as they compete with companies that make cheap and counterfeit drinks.
For that reason, I tend to like a company like SouthNorte, a San Diego brewer of Mexican-inspired beer, and maker of canned tequila-based cocktails. They’ve created an uncomplicated and uncomplicated range of tequila-containing canned mixed drinks, packaged in 12-ounce cans. It is an idea that has a lot of merit, although its implementation is not entirely consistent in its taste.
With that, let’s sample some mixed tequila drinks.
Paloma SouthNorte is perhaps the most traditional of the three offerings, all of which are canned at a slightly elevated 7% ABV, right in the IPA-esque region. It’s also the best of the three in my opinion, thanks to the classic interaction between grapefruit and tequila. It’s not clear exactly what form the grapefruit takes here—the company simply refers to it as a blend of “refreshing red grapefruit and lime soda.” Notably, descriptions on the SouthNorte website sometimes seem to conflict with what is written on the can, which simply refers to tequila, grapefruit, and “fresh lime” rather than lime-lime soda.
The highlight of this drink is the earthy/mild herbal tequila that sparkles through pops of grapefruit juice and grapefruit fudge. It tastes salty and savory on the palate, and feels like it could possibly be punchy a little more in terms of acid or brightness, but overall it’s pretty solid. This is also especially easy because it softens a little on the icing, and it’s also not overly sweet. The company suggests garnishing with salt, but to my taste it already reads quite salty. I appreciate that tequila in particular comes out more powerful in these palomas, while falling back into the background more on other drinks.
The Mule can really be substituted for any base spirit at this point, right? I feel like I’ve seen a basic mule difference of every conceivable kind on the restaurant’s menu at this point, so why not tequila, too? Notably, the can again deviates from the description on the SouthNorte website – the latter says the drink contains “tequila and ginger ale with lemon, mint and a little jalapeño”, while the can itself makes no mention of mint. or Jalapenos. curious.
On the nose this reads at first as a little weird, with expected ginger and citrus-lemon, but it’s also something synthetic or solvent-like. Fortunately, this character does not really appear in the palate, which features a slightly medicinal ginger ale and candied lemon, with a moderate sweetness. There is a little more spice, though it’s easier to attribute to ginger than to jalapeño, and a little more herbal and resinous qualities that hint at tequila. However, I wouldn’t mind the soul presenting itself more assertively.
The SouthNorte Matador is a highball that combines “soft tequila with natural pineapple, lemon, and soda,” which I can’t help but mean is actual pineapple juice. Regardless, looks like something that could potentially be particularly good hot/summer weather.
In implementation, though, this goes a bit off the rails. Sure, the nose is full of the scent of pineapple, but it also veers in other unexpected fruity and sweet directions, which evokes watermelon and especially chewing gum. The palate is also very sweet and very fruity, yet muddled at the same time, with a life-saver of pineapple and cotton candy. These notes are strong enough that they effectively taint any tequila character that should be here – the target demographic seems to be people who don’t want to taste the soul at all. Unfortunately, that’s not me.
Thus, it’s a mixed bag with these canned mixed drinks, although I appreciate their commitment to using authentic spirits rather than diluting the portion more with another cocktail-style brand. If you’re looking for a particularly simple and easy Paloma, it’s a decent choice.
Jim Vorel is a Paste writer and resident beer and liquor geek. Could you Follow him on Twitter More food and drink writing.
Source : www.pastemagazine.com