Milwaukee-based SoulBoxer (aka Soul Boxer) makes a trio of classic recipe, ready-to-drink bottled cocktails. How classic? Two of the three are old fashioneds, one based on brandy (which is apparently a big thing in Wisconsin). The products are available in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota or online.
The company doesn’t distill any of its own spirits and offers no info on sourcing on its website, so we reached out for the details, which you’ll find in the writeups below. It’s clearly a class act, with a strong focus on quality.
We tasted the full trio of offerings. Thoughts follow.
SoulBoxer Bourbon Old Fashioned – “Sourced bourbon, with a healthy dose of Angostura bitters. We then add a touch of sugar, Door County cherries and orange peel to round out the cocktail.” There’s lots of cherry in the mix here, plus aromatic overtones of brown sugar and cloves. The cherry pops immediately on the palate, as does ample sweetness, with a slight honey character emerging amidst the baking spice. It finishes clean with a lingering cherry note, a slight bit medicinal at times, and a punch of peanuts-and-popcorn, nodding toward the use of a fairly young bourbon in the mix here. 68 proof. B+ / $20
SoulBoxer Brandy Old Fashioned – “Starts with aged brandy from O’Neill Vintners and Distillers in Parlier, CA. We then add Montmorency tart cherries from Door County, WI and orange peel to give it a hand-muddled flavor profile. We finish with Angostura bitters and cane sugar.” Similar on the nose to the Bourbon Old Fashioned, with lots of cherries and a clear sweetness to come. The palate is a bit sugary than the bourbon version — brandy being inherently much sweeter — but the fruity blend works well. The orange peel of an old fashioned pops a bit more brightly here as does some chocolate on the finish, without the corny character of young bourbon to overpower it. It’s easy to see why Wisconsinites like this so much. 62 proof. A- / $29
SoulBoxer Manhattan – “Sourced American rye whiskey and a full-bodied Spanish sweet vermouth in a classic ratio, with a whisper of Angostura.” This nails the balance on the vermouth — most bottled Manhattans overdo it — letting the whiskey, which is positively dripping with fruit, do the heavy lifting. Evergreen and baking spice notes emerge tentatively, but then it’s all fruit: The cherry notes here — as strong as in the Old Fashioned — seem too impossibly strong to be driven by the whiskey or the vermouth. While the spicy-winey vermouth note is significant, there’s more fruit here than expected, at least up to the finish, where a somewhat doughy, herbal note closes things out. 72 proof. B+ / $18