Category Archives: Mixers

Sangria Special: New Offerings from Senor Sangria and Eppa Reviewed

Summer is in full swing, and that means sangria season is here. We’ve looked at Senor Sangria’s original red sangria in the past, now the company’s back with a white sangria. Also on tap: Red sangria from Eppa with a health-conscious spin. Here’s how these offerings from Senor Sangria (made in Washingtonville, New York) and Eppa (made in Hopland, California) stack up.

Senor Sangria Classic White – A blend of fruit juices with white wine, this is heavy on orange and lemon, and in fact it could almost pass for a flat mimosa. A bit of tropical fruit — pineapple and mango, perhaps guava — adds a little more excitement. Very mild and party friendly. 8.5% alcohol. A- / $8   senorsangria.com

Senor Sangria Classic Red - Deep red, with a big wine character to it. Fruit comes along second, deep berry-inflected notes along with some apple, orange, and maybe even some lime and grapefruit in there. Spices seem evident as well, giving this sangria the feel of a chilled, mulled wine — emphasis on the wine. I’m a touch less enamored with it now than I was when I first sampled it three years ago (as it comes across now as a little on the boozy side), but it’s still a very good sangria provided you want something a little more substantial, less sweet, in your glass. 8% alcohol. B+ / $8

Eppa SupraFruta Sangria – Organic wine blended with organic “superior fruit,” this is a milder red sangria than Senor Sangria’s red, and it’s evident the company started with a fruitier wine as its base and more of a focus on strong fruit flavors. The company says that pomegranate, blueberry, blood orange, and acai juices are used in the mix, along with various citrus juices. The pomegranate is quite prominent, with blueberry close behind. The ultimate effect is a significantly different drink, something closer to a juice blend you’d have at breakfast than with your jerk chicken. Not significantly better or worse, just different. 8% alcohol. B+ / $12   eppasangria.com


Review: The Perfect Puree New Flavors – Chipotle Sour, Thyme & Citrus, Thai Basil & Black Pepper

The Perfect Puree is back with more high-end blended mixers, this time fruit bases blended with spices to create a combination of sweet and savory components in one cocktail. Want to recreate higher-end mixological tricks without a lot of effort? Check out one of these ready-made mixers.

Chipotle Sour – a hodgepodge of lime, orange, lemon, apple, pear, pineapple, and tangerine juice, plus chipotle flavors – very peppery on the nose and spicy as hell on the tongue, cut very light by lemon/lime/orange juice character; very much in the vein of a pre-mixed sangrita, you could use this as an avant garde Bloody Mary base. B+

Thai Basil & Black Pepper – a base of pineapple, lime, lemon, and orange, with (obviously) Thai basil and pepper atop – pineapple and basil are the most evident notes, and they work well together here, almost like a sweet and sour sauce or a very mild curry; the pepper is understated and mellow; probably my favorite of this batch. A-

Thyme & Citrus – looks like the same ingredients (lime, orange, lemon, etc.) plus thyme flavors in lieu of chipotle – very herbal on the nose, though it’s hard to pick out what herb it is exactly until you taste it; there the thyme comes through loud and clear, with lots of citrus behind it; tastes like something you’d get at a newfangled bar — I had good luck mixing it with passion fruit vodka. B+

each $25 per quart (32 oz.) / perfectpuree.com

perfect puree new flavors Review: The Perfect Puree New Flavors   Chipotle Sour, Thyme & Citrus, Thai Basil & Black Pepper

Review: Mionetto ‘IL’ SPR!Z

I’ve written about the Aperol Spritz — often just the Spritz — before. It’s a refreshing and tasty cocktail that’s incredibly easy to make. Along with the Bellini, it’s pretty much the official cocktail of Venice, and many Italian restaurants here and abroad have adopted the Spritz in their own menus.

In Italy, you can buy premade, bottled Spritzes galore in markets. Now they’re coming to the U.S. The first is from Mionetto, a major Prosecco brand, which is launching the complex-monikered ‘IL’ SPR!Z in the U.S. We got a chance to sample it.

‘IL’ is not exactly a traditional Aperol-based Spritz but rather “premium frizzante sparkling wine, natural colors and aromas, and flavors of fresh orange and select herbs.” The effect is quite authentic, orange-heavy on the nose, lightly bitter on the finish, with touches green olive and dried herbs. It may not be quite as good as a Spritz made with genuine Aperol, but it’s definitely palatable, refreshing, and reminiscent of hot days by the Grand Canal.

Note that this is bottled with a crown-cap closure and, once opened, partial bottles can’t readily be saved. 8% alcohol by volume. Available in 750ml, 375ml, and (soon) 187ml versions.

B+ / $14 per 750ml bottle / mionettousa.com

mionetto il spriz Review: Mionetto IL SPR!Z

Review: Rhum Clement Premiere Canne and Sirop de Canne

Today we take a fresh look at Rhum Clement, a Martinique-based producer of rhum agricole, which is rum made not from molasses (the norm) but of free-run sugar cane juice.  This year Clement celebrates its 125th anniversary, and it’s redesigning its packaging and adding a new product, Sirop de Canne (a bottled sugar syrup). We consider them both below.

Rhum Clement Premiere Canne - I last encountered this rum in 2008, and I find my feelings about it haven’t much changed. It’s very much like a better cachaca, fueled by gasoline character but tempered with loads of lemon, orange peel, and cut grass character. The sweetness is surprisingly mild for rum, a side effect of using sugar cane to distill the rum instead of molasses. Most rum drinkers will get knocked off the swing with this one, but enthusiasts will find real charm here. 80 proof. B+ / $35

Rhum Clement Sirop de Canne – A nonalcoholic sugar syrup the color of honey, and about the consistency of it, too. A lovely syrup, with the distinct flavor of gingerbread. Nutmeg and cloves on the back — and strong on the nose, too. Ingredients include “pure sugarcane, water, and natural aromas,” however that last bit works. Certainly not for straight consumption, but the holiday character here could really spice up a cocktail or punch. I’m into it. A- / $12

rhumclement.net

Review: VnC Pre-Mixed Cocktails

Pre-mixed cocktails continue to grow in popularity. VnC, which is based in New Zealand, takes it to the ultimate conclusion: The cocktails not only have the alcohol already in them (in addition to natural juices), they’re packaged both in party size bottlings and in single serve versions, which we reviewed.

Each 200ml cocktail comes in at 14% alcohol and includes a built-in cup so you look more sophisticated than drinking out of the bottle. Woo hoo! We tasted four of the six available varieties. All are 150 calories or less per serving. Thoughts follow.

VnC Pomegranate Cosmo – Vodka, triple sec, natural flavors, pomegranate, cranberry, and lime juices. Distinctly vodka-inflected, which lends this Cosmo a bit of a cough syrup character and makes it taste boozier than it really is. A decent amount of fruit helps salvage the mix, and you can actually taste the lime juice, a nice touch. (For what it’s worth, the lady thought this was far and away her favorite.) B

VnC Margarita – Tequila, triple sec, “natural margarita flavors,” lemon, and lime juices. Tastes authentic, and unlike the Cosmo it’s very easygoing on the booziness. Sweet, with a bit of tequila kick to it, a light and credible version of a classic margie. B+

VnC Vodka Mojito – Vodka with “natural mojito flavor” and lime juice. Why would you not use rum in a mojito? White rum is one of the cheapest spirits available. Not, perhaps, cheaper than vodka, I guess. Smells better than it tastes, full of minty promise on the nose… but chalky and a bit artificial on the tongue. Leaves a lingering aftertaste. C+

VnC Pacific Breeze – Vodka with “natural MaiTai flavor,” coconut, pineapple, and lime juices. This would be far better blended with ice than a simple liquid, but as it stands it’s got that tropical flavor that you really only want when you’re sitting on the beach. Again, this would be a much better drink with rum in it, but it’s credible enough for poolside consumption in a pinch. B

each $4 per 200ml bottle / vnccocktails.com

vnc cocktails Review: VnC Pre Mixed Cocktails

Review: Refine Zero Calorie Mixers

Refine says it aims to “refine” the skinny cocktail with these zero-calorie mixers. Flavored with stevia, they’re available in 32 oz. bottles in three flavors.

Refine Margarita Mix – Bright yellow, looks supernatural. Tastes very tart, with lots of intense lemon/lime soda character, but with a chalkiness that recalls Crystal Light granules (thanks, I’m sure, to all the citric acid in the mix). Could be worse. B-

Refine Mojito Mix – Unthrilling, this mostly clear mixer doesn’t really recall fresh lime or mint, just a vague sweetness that could be mistaken for a flat 7-Up. Could be better. C-

Refine Cosmopolitan Mix – The bright pink color is misleading, but this mixer has surprisingly more lime character than the mojito does. After that, a touch of strawberry or raspberry, more Jolly Rancher than fresh fruit. Not unpalatable, but the chemical aftertaste is rough on this one. C

each $9 per 32 oz. bottle / refinemixers.com

refine mixers Review: Refine Zero Calorie Mixers

Review: Liber & Co. Spiced Tonic Syrup

Austin-based Liber & Company trucks in a pretty narrow world: Artisinal, spiced tonic syrup.

Liber & Co. sent us samples of their new product and it’s certainly nothing like your bottle of Schweppes. A ruddy orange, and indeed a tonic syrup, not a tonic “water.” Made with crushed herbs, spices, and cinchona bark, it is filtered down to 25 microns, “the lower threshold that the human tongue can detect,” per the company, to remove particulates. Agave nectar is used for sweetening.

The results are impressive if overwhelming. Tasted alone the syrup is a gut-puncher, full of orange peel and clove character, sweet at first, then fading to bitter in the way you might expect tonic to taste. There’s a vague quinine aftertaste that reminds you what it is you’re drinking.

Naturally this is not meant to be drank solo, and I tried it in the Save the Countess cocktail recipe (below), with great results. Here the tonic syrup works well with its fellow spirits, creating a fun and balanced — if quite flavorful — cocktail. (Do not omit the grapefruit juice and shake it long and hard if you make one. A little melted ice is essential to get this down to the right booze level.)

Overall, this is a fun mixer that will make you think wildly differently about  what G&T night can be.

Currently available in Austin, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

A- / $10 for 8 oz. bottle / liberandcompany.com

Save the Countess
3/4 oz. Spiced Tonic Syrup
1 1/4 oz. gin
1 1/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
splash grapefruit juice
2 dashes Peychaud bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

liber and company spiced tonic syrup Review: Liber & Co. Spiced Tonic Syrup

Cool Item of the Day: The Bitter Truth Cocktail Bitters Traveler’s Set

The line between a good cocktail and a great one can often be drawn with a sprinkling of bitters, staples of any serious watering hole and surely a part of any high-end home bar, too.

Traveling, however, poses a particular challenge. It’s one thing to throw a bottle of rye in the car for the trip to Tahoe. It’s another to deal with all the little things — garnishes, mixers, bitters — as well.

The Bitter Truth is at least making one of those easier with this fun “Traveler’s Set” of five miniature (20ml) bottles packed into a tin travel kit. You get Celery, Orange, Creole, Old Time Aromatic, and Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters in the mix. Not sure the Celery Bitters are essential, but the other four (sub Creole for Peychaud’s and either the Aromatic or the Jerry Thomas bitters for Angostura) cover the bitters bases of 90% of the cocktail recipes out there.

Fun stuff.

$18 / the-bitter-truth.com

bitter truth travelers set Cool Item of the Day: The Bitter Truth Cocktail Bitters Travelers Set

Review: Twist Essence Water

Is bottled water less heinous if it’s flavored? Twist is lightly sweetened with agave nectar and stevia, and flavored with natural extracts, yet still claims just 0 calories. We tasted two varieties.

Twist Pomegranate Blueberry is vague in its berry allegiance, almost strawberry-like in the way it comes across. Blueberries are a bit in the distance. It’s sweeter than you’d think, but neither cloying nor gummy, the way agave-infused stuff can be. B

Twist West Indies Lime sounds awfully exotic, but the flavor is more reminiscent of Rose’s Lime Juice, a bit saccharine and lightly bitter and herbal on the finish. The lime aroma is nice, but the flavor here doesn’t come across as fully authentic, the way a margarita mix can often be. Harmless enough. C+

about $1.25 per 19 oz. bottle / drinktwist.com

 

Review: Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary Makers

As you prepare for New Year’s Eve festivities, forget not the aftermath: Tomorrow morning may hurt, and the solution may very well be found in a nice Bloody Mary.

The curiously named Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary Maker (B+), from the great state of Indiana, of course, is the latest ready-to-go Bloody to cross through our doors. It doesn’t take long to see this isn’t V8 and Worcestershire: Moderately chunky, with pulp bits, and laden with little flecks of spices. Despite the flecks, the standard version isn’t all that spicy. In fact, it has more sweetness than other Bloody mixes, a bit citrus on the finish, and very lightly spicy with a touch of horseradish.

Hoosier Momma Spicy Bloody Mary Maker (B-) kicks things up with a Tabasco-like rush. Sadly, I think this works against the mixer, coming across with raw heat and dulling the fun of this mix. The sweetness is still quite strong, but after the sugar and spice, I don’t get much more than simple tomato juice flavor.

My only other issue with this mixer is with the packaging. These mixes come not in bottles but in jars — like fat mayonnaise jars. It’s certainly unique packaging, but it does make it hard to pour the stuff inside, particularly if you’re working with a single serving or narrow glass. I get that it helps showcase Hoosier Mama’s chunkiness, but a) it’s not really that thick, and b) a wider-mouth bottle would have been more practical.

each $8 per 32 oz. jar / hoosiermomma.com

hoosier momma bloody mary mixer Review: Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary Makers

Excuse Me, Do You Have Pussy in a Can?

Discovered this oddball energy drink at the train station in Munich. Turns out you can get away with a lot more here (of course) than you can in the U.S. I bought a can and frankly it’s not that bad. Flavored (strongly) with lychee, the exotic fruit drowns out the (all natural) active ingredients, including guarana, caffeine, ginseng, gingko, and some other stuff I can’t really read because it’s in German. Further analysis and commentary is left as an exercise for the reader. Additional reading: pussydrinks.ch

pussy Excuse Me, Do You Have Pussy in a Can?

Review: Powell & Mahoney Bloody Mary and Bellini Mixes

Complex cocktails in ready-made form won’t ever lose their popularity, and bottled Bloody Mary and Margarita mixes will probably forever be at the top of that heap.

Powell & Mahoney makes more than 10 such mixes, including a Bloody, Margarita, Mojito, and even a Hot Toddy. We sampled two of them — the Bloody Mary and the Peach Bellini. Thoughts follow.

Powell & Mahoney Bloody Mary Mix – This mix makes a very straightforward and fresh-tasting Bloody, vodka or no. Thick but not too much so, it offers lots of fresh tomato flavor, clear Worcestershire kick, and very very mild spices. The heat-seeker will want to kick this up with a healthy dose of hot sauce or Tabasco, but if you’re looking for pure tomato character with a smattering of basic spices, this mix is arguably better than doing it yourself. A-

Powell & Mahoney Peach Bellini Mix - Just add Prosecco and you’ve got this Venice-originated classic. Essentially just water, sugar,and peach puree, this makes for a fresh and really fruity cocktail (don’t skimp on the Prosecco, by the way). The nose of the mixer, sans wine, is more apricot than peach, but when mixed 2 (Prosecco) to 1 (mixer), the peachiness comes alive. It’s not at all thick, so don’t expect any puree chunks in your glass, for better or for worse. A-

about $6 each (750ml) / powellandmahoney.com

Review: Icelandic Glacial Spring Water

We’ve resisted reviewing bottled water on this blog, but finally we’re caving in.

Water from Iceland doesn’t sound entirely eco-conscious, but Icelandic says it is a carbon neutral product — in fact, it says it this the first CarbonNeutral (a private certification) bottled water in the world.

Sourced from Iceland’s Ölfus Spring System, this protected zone has no farming, animals, or buildings allowed within the 128,000-acre area. 0.1% of the annual spring flow is harvested from surface water; the remainder (reportedly double the world’s bottled water consumption) returns to the ocean. The bottling plant is hydroelectric-powered, packaging is made from 75% recycled materials, and carbon offsets are used to bring the water back up to carbon neutrality. As “green” products go, it’s hard to find any real fault with Icelandic.

On to the water. Total dissolved solids are 62 mg/l, and the pH is 8.4. The taste is very neutral, with a good mouthfeel and body. It doesn’t have that plastic taste that so many bottled waters succumb to, nor does it taste metallic like heavier mineral waters. There could be the slightest touch of citrus here, but otherwise it tastes like water should: Like nothing.

A / $7 for 6-pack of 500ml bottles / icelandicglacial.com

 Review: Icelandic Glacial Spring Water

Review: Lights Out Relaxation Products

Relaxation mania continues with Lights Out, a whole series of products designed to help you sleep more evenly, fight stress, anxiety, jet lag, and all that other bad stuff.

Lights Out contains chamomile, skullcap, rose hips, valerian root, L-theanine, and GABA, but it’s probably the 5mg of melatonin that really does the trick.

The 2-oz. shot comes in two sucralose-sweetened flavors — tropical and, oddly, cloud berry — and both tastes are fair enough. The cloud berry version is largely innocuous and vaguely citrus and apple in character. The tropical is stronger, primarily redolent of coconut.

Strangely, the product is unique in that it also comes in a solid form: a chocolate brownie and a chocolate chip cookie. Both were exceedingly dry and crumbly, and hardly the delicious dessert confection you might be expecting.

As for the effects, with both the shot and the dessert products, I found myself falling asleep relatively quickly, with vivid and rather intrusive dreams to follow. Both times I woke up around six in the morning and had difficulty getting back to sleep — though the six-hour release time of Lights Out may have something to do with that. Still not sure how effective these are, though I felt fine and productive the following day. That said, I’m not exactly clamoring for another brownie.

C+ / about $4 per product / lightsoutshot.com

lights out Review: Lights Out Relaxation Products

Review: Zenify: The Live Stress Free Drink

How stress-free to you get if you drink Zenify? So stress-free that you stop using capitalization. I swear — outside of the nutrition facts box, there’s not a capital letter to be found on this can of relaxation beverage. It’ll knock the shift right out of you!

Zenify is designed to “get you focused” by countering the effects of caffeine with “increased Alpha Waves,” and increasing the amount of seratonin and dopamine in the body. Zenify says it can even treat everything from anxiety to ADHD via its GABA component. Other ingredients include L-Theanine, Glycine, and vitamins C, Niacin, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Pantothenic Acid, and Magnesium. It comes in a lightly yellow, lightly carbonated format, contained in a 12 oz. can.

As beverages go, this Stevia-sweetened (and 50-calorie) product doesn’t taste bad. It’s promoted (naturally) as a vodka mixer, but solo it is quite drinkable. Lemon/lime is the base, with some pineapple notes thrown in. Very easy to drink, with really light flavoring and a moderate, not cloying body.

Am I feeling relaxed? As always, I hate to make any snap judgments on issues like this, but my Alpha Waves aren’t complaining.

A- / $55 for 24 12-oz. cans / zenifyed.com

zenify Review: Zenify: The Live Stress Free Drink

Four Loko Rises Again as “Poco Loko”

You can’t get rid of Four Loko that easily, folks…

CHICAGO, Sept. 7, 2011 – Responding to popular demand, Phusion Projects, LLC recently announced the introduction of Poco Loko, a new version of the company’s Four Loko product with unique flavors and in a smaller can size with lower alcohol by volume.

Poco Loko is available in 16-ounce cans at 8 percent alcohol by volume, and comes in four unique flavors: Green Apple, Black Cherry, Mango and Lemonade; most of which are not available in 23.5 ounce cans.  The product, which will be available in four packs and in single cans, is being introduced in order to meet consumer demand for additional products and flavors, and to continue diversifying the Phusion Projects line of products.

“We’ve always been a company that listens to what our consumers want,” said Chris Hunter, one of the co-founders of Phusion Projects. “Poco Loko is a great product to bring to market, and we’re excited to re-introduce fan favorite Green Apple, originally from the Four Loko XXX Limited Edition line.”

As with all Phusion Projects products, Poco Loko is a flavored malt beverage that does not contain caffeine, guarana or taurine.

poco loko Four Loko Rises Again as Poco Loko

Review: Baileys Mudslide

Few cocktails in the panopticon of chain restaurant beverages imbue the spirit — the very heart — of panty peeler so thoroughly as the Mudslide. A chocolate, creamy, boozy frozen concoction, this is dessert — and usually drunkenness — in a glass.

Now Baileys brings the Mudslide to ready-made status, or as near as is humanly possible. Just take this 1.75-liter jug of “vodka, chocolate, coffee, and cream liqueurs,” pour into a blender with an equal amount of ice, and pulverize until it’s smooth. You can make it as thick or as thin as you’d like. The more ice you add, the more you cut down the (admittedly weak) 25 proof alcohol level.

When complete (I didn’t even try to taste this unblended and sans ice), it’s a credible beach beverage, but hardly a knockout. The booziness comes off as much harsher than the alcohol level would indicate — more rum-like than vodka-like — and the sweetness is cloying. Chocolate and coffee are almost afterthoughts to the raw sugar notes, and the mass — which separates after about 10 minutes into a creamy tan-and-foam cocktail — is tasty enough in a sorority sister way, but it just doesn’t come together as a composed whole.

Frankly, I think you’d get better results from putting regular Baileys, a squirt of chocolate syrup, and some ice into a blender, and you wouldn’t spend much more, either.

C+ / $16 per 1.75-liter bottle / the-baileys-lounge.baileys.com

Baileys Mudslide Review: Baileys Mudslide

Review: Just Chill Natural Stress Relief Beverage

Will “one sip” of this “relaxation beverage” give you “instant enlightenment?” Perhaps not, but it certainly won’t hurt.

The ingredients of Just Chill should be largely familiar to readers who’ve explored this nascent category: The ubiquitous L-theanine (150mg per 8.4 oz. can), vitamins B and C, magnesium, zinc, Siberian ginseng, ginkgo biloba, and (perhaps the only unusual additive) lemongrass. It’s all delivered in a “tropical chill” flavored can of carbonated water, “crystalline fructose,” natural flavors, fruit juices, and stevia.

The taste is very mild and innocuous: vaguely pineapple and mango character atop a lightly carbonated base. It goes down just fine, a stark contrast to some of the less savory entrants into this category, and it lacks that viscous character that seems to be so common in fructose-flavored beverages.

As always, it’s hard to speak to the promised psychoactive effects — relaxation without drowsiness, in this case — of Just Chill on a limited sampling, but it certainly hasn’t hurt my mood any, and I’m hardly feeling tired. As always, your mileage will likely vary.

50 calories.

B+ / $2 per 8.4 oz. can / drinkjustchill.com [BUY IT HERE]

just chill Review: Just Chill Natural Stress Relief Beverage

Review: Small Hand Foods Gum Syrups

The thing about gomme (awesome word) is that when you’re perusing cocktail recipe books, everything seems to call for it. But when you actually get some gomme, you can’t find a thing to make with the stuff.

I’ve had Small Hand Foods’ line of gommes, or gum syrups, sitting on the counter of Drinkhacker HQ for months, with nothing to do with them. Finally I made, you know, an effort, and cooked up a variety of cocktails with the stuff so I could review them before they, you know, expired. (Recipes follow, courtesy of Small Hand Foods.)

Gum syrup is a lot like it sounds: Syrup that is thickened considerably by the addition of gum arabic. Unlike regular sugar syrup, gum syrup adds viscosity to a drink, and on its own it is noticeably more mouth-filling. The catch: Who has gum arabic handy when you need it?

Small Hand Foods comes to the rescue with pre-bottled gommes: an unflavored version, and the more intriguing pineapple gum syrup and raspberry gum syrup. The company also makes orgeat (almond syrup) and grenadine, neither in “gum” versions (and neither reviewed here).

As for the three gum syrups, all are impressive and work well in the cocktails that call for them. I tried them alone and in recipes. They’re wholly as intended: Thick, viscous, and quite flavorful. The flavors are all more aged than I’d expected: The standard gum syrup has a rich, caramel character to it, and that translates through to your drink, like it or not. Huge, authentic pineapple and raspberry notes are found in the flavored versions, though clearly neither is quite as tasty as fresh fruit macerated in syrup would be. They also bear the same aged sugar character as the standard gum syrup, which is unusual, but adds an interesting spin to a cocktail.

All told these are excellent cocktail ingredients. Shortcuts, to be sure, but when a recipe calls for gomme, who else are ya gonna call?

Refrigerate after opening.

all varieties: A- / $12 per 250ml bottle / smallhandfoods.com

Hotel Nacionale Speciale
Adapted from the Hotel Nacionale, Havana, Cuba

1½ oz rum (white or aged)
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz Pineapple Gum Syrup
½ oz apricot brandy

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lime twist.

Clover Club
Adapted from Harry Craddock, The Savoy Cocktail Book, 1930

1½ oz gin
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz Raspberry Gum Syrup
½ oz dry vermouth
½ oz egg white

Add all ingredients to mixing tin and shake vigorously without adding ice. Then add ice and shake again. Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass.

small hand foods gommes Review: Small Hand Foods Gum Syrups

Review: Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasonings

You know at a glance that Demitri’s is not your everyday Bloody Mary mix. The color and thickness of A1 steak sauce, Demitri’s is not a “just add vodka” mix. You need tomato juice (and lots of it): A mere 2 ounces of the mix will flavor a full quart of tomato juice or V8. The vials these mixes come in are reminiscent of a bottle of soy sauce, and they also come in convenient pouches, perfect for flavoring a pitcher of Bloodies at a time without having to refrigerate the leftover mix.

We tried all four of Demitri’s Bloody seasonings as well as its two “RimShot” rimming powders.

Demitri’s Bloody Mary Classic Recipe – Really rich, a recipe that lets the tomato juice shine. The heat is mild and the flavor is meaty, savory, and classic — a perfect balance of everything you want in a Bloody Mary. Looks good and tastes even better. A

Demitri’s Bloody Mary Chilies and Peppers - The Classic Recipe kicked up a notch, as Emeril might say. Here you still get a good slug of tomato and rich, Worsterchire-like savoriness, then the heat comes on, lingering as you enjoy it. Definitely one for those who like moderate heat — but not an overwhelming amount of spice — in their Bloody. A-

Demitri’s Bloody Mary Chipotle-Habanero - Lots of heat here, and while it fires up the mouth and stomach, it really burns the lips. Habanero will trump the mild chipotle every time, so if you’re looking for heat, you needn’t look further than this blend. It’s right on the edge of how hot I can handle my breakfast — though perhaps I used too much in my sample cocktail — but fireheads will love this one. B+

Demitri’s Bloody Mary Extra Horseradish - The name says it all. This is perhaps the sweetest of the bunch, and the extra horseradish in the recipe doesn’t add much to the experience. There are notably no “chunks” of anything in the mix, and perhaps having the horseradish pulverized into a virtual liquid keeps it from making much of a showing. Stick with the Classic and add your own horseradish if you’re a junkie. B+

Demitri’s Bloody Mary RimShot! – Rimming a drink is always a matter of personal taste for the drinker, but with Bloody Marys they make a lot of sense. After all this is a drink that is often garnished to within an inch of its life, so why not go all the way and spill over the edge of the glass with more stuff? This rimmer is something you can pretty easily do on your own. While Demitri’s claims (of course) a secret recipe, it comes across mainly as coarse salt, celery salt, and ground pepper. The celery component is really clear hear, and then the pepper takes over. Good balance in the blend; I’d buy it just to get it all premixed and in the handy rimming tin. A-

Demitri’s Bloody Mary Bacon RimShot! - Bacon and salt are two of my favorite things, and sure enough they work perfectly with a Bloody. Taste’s authentic and makes you instantly crave a bacon cheeseburger. The effect is much different than the standard RimShot, and, for my money, it’s a more exciting, surprising, and complementary addition to the drink. Bacon always makes for a conversation piece, too. A

mixes: $11 to $13 per 16 oz. bottle; RimShots: $8 per 4 oz. tin / demitris.com

Demitris bloody mary mix Review: Demitris Bloody Mary Seasonings