Note: we received a few samples from Fick’s, but it didn’t influence our decision to write this review, or the contents of the review.
Cocktail mixers get a bad rap, especially in this day and age in which craft cocktail popularity is booming. They’re sort of like the alcoholic equivalent of microwavable TV dinners. But go to any college party and, alongside the cranberry juice, there’s almost always a Jose Cuervo margarita mix – the pale yellow green glow from the sugary syrupy mix that is guaranteed to fuel several terrible next-day hangovers.
But that’s not to say we’re not secretly intrigued by a rash of new mixers coming onto the scene.
Most notably, Rick’s (a San Francisco local company – go SF!) has been pretty well reviewed. Their marketing claims it is the mixer for “active people”, with low calories (around 35 per 3 fluid oz – and with 1.5 oz alcohol equating to around 135 calories total per cocktail) and some additional electrolytes/vitamins added.
To be frank, it seems to be an odd concept: if you’re truly health-conscious, don’t drink alcohol. But there’s definitely a market out there for people who want to have their cake – and eat it too – and preferably not gain as much weight as they would otherwise.
The real test is: how does it all taste? So far, we tried two out of the four we have: the mule and the bloody mary mix, keeping it at the simple recommended ratios of 3 ounce Ficks to 1.5 oz alcohol.
The bloody mary was… actually very good. We ended up putting in St. George green chile vodka for some extra kick, and the resulting spice-filled bloody mary was a happy morning. We also considered making an aquavit-based bloody mary, but this was 2 weeks after – and the bloody mary mix had sadly gone bad and separated by then.
Bloody Mary: Ficks and St. George chili vodka. Liquid breakfast!
The mule mix is a combination of fresh ginger and lime juice – and frankly, good enough to drink on its own (about 1/3rd of the mix was drunk sans alcohol). We also tried it with tequila (excellent), grappa (also good), and scotch (clearly a drunk idea and not a very good one).
Grappa Mule (made with Ficks Moscow Mule mix)
For our two remaining bottles of margarita mix and paloma mix, we want to take the experimentation a bit further and get really creative with them. These experiments will be reported upon as soon as they’re completed.
The verdict thus far: the mixes are delicious. They don’t taste at all like Splenda-filled chemicals, which was what our fear going in was. The downside to them is the bottles are big enough for 10 cocktails but expire only after 5 days. Smaller packaging for the mercurial predilections of cocktail enthusiasts might be more approachable. But until then, we are just going to have to carve out a weekend to pound a lot of paloma and margarita variants.