By Daniel Ramirez
There is a known stigma to “ready to drink” cocktails. Among craft cocktail makers and aficionados, they
are routinely mocked. They are typically low-cost, low-alcohol offerings that are relegated to sales shelves
and are purchased out of sheer convenience. Don’t have the tools or ingredients available to make a
decent margarita? Buy the “ready to drink” bottle. Headed to float the river, but can’t stand beer? Grab a
“ready to drink” six pack. Want a cocktail but don’t want to spend the money on premium ingredients?
Here’s a “ready to drink” version of your mudslide, daiquiri or piña colada. Even the calorie-conscious
have grabbed on to the trend. Want to drink conveniently, but without high calorie count? Try this skinny
version of “ready to drink” cocktails.
Too often, these beverages deliver a too-sweet liquid that is nearly indistinguishable from syrup, and they
broadcast all the respectability of a malt beverage, which many of them actually happen to be. As
convenient as these beverages might be, they sacrifice quality in that pursuit. But, since Austinites have
made an art form out of transforming what is convenient into what is exceptional – as they have done for
food trucks and boutique convenience stores – leave it to Austinites to solve the problem of how to make
a high-quality “ready to drink” cocktail. Austin Cocktails, a new liquor brand that calls our city home, has
released four different bottles that not only break new ground for the “ready to drink” market, but also
shatter the stigma.
With cocktails that showcase the summer season, when lighter cocktails are called for to combat the
harsh Texas sun, Austin Cocktails delivers all of the flavor and finesse of a crafted cocktail in a single
bottle. Utilizing nearly flawless filtered vodka as their base spirit, they have even managed to keep the
calorie count under 100 calories per serving, which is 33% less than a single beer. There is no longer a
need to hunt the ingredients down for a mojito, margarita or a fruit and herb cocktail before heading to a
day on the boat or a film at Cinema East. Instead, it’s ready-made and bears no resemblance to the
lower-forms of “ready to drink” bottles.
But the real difference is what’s inside. The Vodkarita is exactly what one would expect of a margarita –
the unofficial cocktail of Texas – refreshing citrus, a hint of agave and a hint of sweetness. Meanwhile, the
Cucumber Vodka Mojito, Austin Food Magazine’s favorite, trades the orange notes for that of fresh herbs
and the clean flavor of cucumber. Chilled and poured into a martini glass, this could very well become the
beverage of choice for the more refined cookout. And with their Tea Twister, a light take on a grown-up
Arnold Palmer, along with their Paradise Found, which brings coconut and citrus together with a deft
touch, Austin Cocktails may have just given “ready to drink” a better public image and a drink that is
worthy of bearing the name, Austin, on its label.”