Straightaway Cocktails, from Portland, Oregon, is a newcomer to the ready-to-drink space. While they have been around only since the end of 2018, Straightaway has rapidly expanded with three product lines currently offered. While Accompani amaro and Spritz flavored wine spritzers deserve their own write-ups, today we’ll focus on the core collection of six bottled cocktails.
Straightaway Cocktails Margarita – With the absence of orange liqueur and additions of mango syrup and habanero, I can’t call this a classic margarita. But it tastes so good I don’t care. The habanero is mild, providing a little kick on the finish, and the mango is a gratifying substitute for orange that pairs wonderfully with the pepper. An unconventional call but a damn good one. The structure is a tad on the sweet side but it tastes appropriate given the spice. The flavor is fresh and hard to distinguish from a premium cocktail made to order. 25% abv. A-
Straightaway Cocktails Paper Plane – Beautifully balanced. Strong and bittersweet with amazing complexity. You’ll be treated to gentle spice and vanilla from the rye, herbaceous qualities from the amaro, and a generous portion of orange. It’s not tart, but the cocktail has its share of zippy acidity to lighten the body and keep things far from cloying. A marvelous Paper Plane. 25% abv. A
Straightaway Cocktails Lintik – This is Straightaway’s take on a near-forgotten recipe, however I found it to be the least impressive of the bunch, with a simple nose of gin and lemon. Lintik is too strong and too sweet on its own, but letting it dilute on ice improves things considerably. The bitters are subtle which is the right call considering its strength is its refreshing simplicity. It lacks the cleverness of the Margarita and the intricacy of the Paper Plane, but maintains the brand’s deliciously high quality, fresh taste. Sometimes cleverness and complexity can be tiring when you’re not in the mindset for it, after all. 25% abv. B+
Straightaway Cocktails Cosmos – Like the Margarita, this take on the Cosmopolitan is unconventional, but Straightaway has made all the right choices. The lime’s sharp acidity is skillfully softened by faintly sweet lemon, orange, and cranberry notes. There is a subtle floral quality that I have not picked up on in a Cosmo before, but it brings a layer of flavor that dovetails impeccably with a Cosmo’s traditionally fruity flavors. On the palate the Cosmos is a taut balance of tart, sweet, and strong that I can find no fault in. 25% abv. A-
Straightaway Cocktails Negroni – Bitter, boozy, and herbal as hell like a Negroni should be. No off-putting synthetic aromas or cloying “cough-syrup” quality at all here. It’s very strong and heavy, but Straightaway’s own sweet vermouth saves it from going over the top. The house-made amaro is clearly the star of the show, contributing a liberal dose of bitterness and authentic herbal flavor that a Campari-based Negroni can’t hope to compete with. Top-notch ingredients and expert blending results in one of the very best Negronis I’ve tasted. 36% abv. A
Straightaway Cocktails Oregon Old Fashioned – It’s a rye Old Fashioned, do you really need tasting notes? The rye is of good quality, if a little too young. What makes an Old Fashioned is the ratio of bitters-to-sugar-to-spirit, and I am pleased to say that Straightaway nailed it here. 41.5% abv. B+
Overall, a terrific showing from Straightaway. The two constants I tasted throughout the line were the high-quality of the ingredients used and the care implemented in getting everything just right. I couldn’t think of two more important things for a brand to master.
And the Art Deco labels look pretty snappy too.
each about $45 per 750ml bottle / straightawaycocktails.com