The Rise of Premixed Cocktails

The Rise of Premixed Cocktails

Premixed cocktails, also known as ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, have exploded in popularity in recent years. Once viewed as low quality and gimmicky, the premix cocktail category has evolved to offer convenient, quality cocktails in a portable package. Cocktail lovers no longer need to lug bottles of spirits and mixers to parties or pay high prices at bars. With the growing variety and quality of premixed cocktails, it’s easier than ever to enjoy delicious cocktails anytime, anywhere.

A Brief History of Premixed Cocktails

The origins of premixed cocktails can be traced back to the 1920s and 1930s when cocktails first rose to prominence in the United States. Brands like Holland House launched premixed gin cocktails in a can, marketed as “blends in bottles.” However, most early premade cocktails used low-quality ingredients and focused more on convenience than taste. They developed a reputation as being chemical-laden and artificial.

Premixed cocktails saw another surge in the 1970s and 1980s with the rise of disco culture and entertainment at home. Brands like Bartles & Jaymes found success marketing wine coolers and other basic premixed cocktails. However, these products should have prioritized quality ingredients or authentic cocktail flavors.

It was in the 2000s that the modern premixed cocktail category really took off. Small micro-distilleries and specialty brands realized there was an opportunity to create quality, authentic cocktails in a convenient format. This new generation of premixed cocktails focused on cocktail culture and used real spirits and natural ingredients. As the category continues to grow, even more major brands and large alcohol corporations have launched their own Premixed cocktail lines, validating the category as more than just a fad.

Why Premixed Cocktails Have Gotten So Popular

Several cultural and economic factors have contributed to the explosive growth of the Premixed Drinks market:

Convenience: The convenience factor must be considered. Premixed cocktails require no prep, ingredients, tools, or cleanup. They are portable and ready whenever and wherever you want to enjoy them. For time-strapped consumers today, convenience is king.

Quality Improvements: Thanks to craft brands entering the market, the quality of premixed cocktails has vastly improved compared to earlier versions. They now use real distilled spirits, natural ingredients, and balanced recipes perfected by mixologists. This elevates them from chemical-laden malt beverages to genuine cocktails.

Low Alcohol by Volume: Many cocktail-premixed drinks have an ABV of around 6 to 8 percent, lower than a typical cocktail. This makes them session-able and appealing for casual drinking in more settings. The lighter alcohol content also attracts health-conscious consumers looking to moderate their drinking.

Unique Flavors: Craft premixed cocktails come in a huge variety of unique flavors that would be difficult to replicate at home. Consumers can enjoy esoteric ingredients and complex recipes without buying and mixing numerous bottles and ingredients.

Premiumization Trend: The rise of craft spirits and cocktail culture has led to more consumers demanding quality ingredients and authentic flavors, even in convenient formats. Premixed cocktails fit into the larger premiumization trend across the alcohol industry.

Enhanced Occasions: Ready-to-drink cocktails enhance a variety of occasions and locations. They liven up backyard barbecues, picnics, beach trips, parties, evenings at home, and more. Their portability and self-contained packaging expand when and where cocktails can be enjoyed.

Marketing & Branding: Successful premixed cocktail brands have invested in strong branding and marketing to change perceptions around the category. This makes the products appeal to sophisticated, discerning drinkers who want a quality cocktail experience.

E-Commerce Access: The growth of online alcohol delivery services like Drizly has made premixed cocktails increasingly available to purchase online. This makes it easy to have them shipped directly to your door.

Popular Premix Cocktail Brands

The premixed drinks space has expanded to include dozens of popular brands and products:

Cutwater Spirits: This craft distillery in San Diego is widely credited with kicking off the first wave of quality premixed cocktails. Their lineup covers classics like margaritas and Moscow mules, focusing on fresh ingredients.

High Noon: Specializing in vodka and sparkling water cocktails, High Noon has a lower alcohol content appealing for daytime drinking. Their flavors, like peach and pineapple, are inspired by soda and seltzer.

Onda: Made with real tequila, Onda has a line of sparkling tequila cocktails like their signature Grapefruit Paloma. Their flavors celebrate authentic Mexican ingredients.

Basil Hayden’s: This premixed drink line comes from the iconic bourbon brand Basil Hayden’s. Offerings include old-fashioned and mint julep flavors that highlight quality bourbon.

Sipsmith: The UK-based Sipsmith distillery uses their award-winning London dry gin in canned Gin, tonics, and cocktails. They focus on modern botanical flavors.

Bacardi: Canning their signature rum cocktails like mojitos and daiquiris, Bacardi’s premixed line aims to be portable versions of the classic bar cocktails they made famous.

Espolòn: Patrón’s tequila brand Espolòn has a line of ready-to-drink palomas made with 100% Blue Weber Agave tequila and real lime juice.

Jack Daniel’s: The iconic Jack Daniel’s whiskey brand has a line of canned cocktails, including honey-spiked lemonade, whiskey lemonade, and whiskey tea.

Cafe Agave: This vegan brand makes premixed drinks, margaritas and cocktails with organic tequila and plant-based ingredients. The flavors are sweetened with agave nectar.

Sauza: Sauza makes canned ranch water, margaritas, and Palomas infused with real lime juice and their 901 Silver Tequila. The cocktails are only 90 calories each.

Crook & Marker: This organic line of spiked and sparkling cocktails is sweetened with monk fruit for low sugar and calories. Flavors include lemon tea, pineapple chili, and strawberry coconut.

How Bartenders Make Premixed Cocktails

So, how do premixed drinks cocktails go from a cocktail concept to portable cans or bottles? Many premixed cocktail brands work directly with professional bartenders and mixologists to perfect the flavor profiles and balances.

The process starts with choosing quality, authentic spirits and ingredients that will shine through in the final product. The same spirits and production methods used for the flagship brand are often utilized for the premixed extension.

From there, bartenders can experiment with combinations, ratios, and ingredients to create the ideal balanced recipe. This may take many rounds of tweaking and tasting. Bitters, citrus, herbs, spices, and other ingredients can be added to refine the flavors.

Once a recipe is finalized, the next step is scaling up production for larger batch sizes. This often happens at the distillery alongside the spirits production. Canned cocktails also require special engineering for the alcohol to emulsify and incorporate fully into the liquid.

The premixed cocktails are filled into cans, bottles, or other portable packaging. The packaging is designed to be stable, durable, and protect the light-sensitive liquid. The cans may also be wrapped with colorful brand labels and design.

Finally, premixed cocktails generally go through consumer testing and focus groups before products hit shelves. This provides feedback to make any final adjustments to ensure the ready-to-drink cocktails meet consumer expectations and taste authentic.

Tips for Enjoying Premixed Cocktails

Here are some tips to get the most enjoyment when partaking in ready-to-drink cocktails:

Check the ABV: Alcohol percentages can range widely, so check the label so you can pace yourself accordingly. Some are on par with a typical cocktail, while others are lower in alcohol.

Chill thoroughly: Make sure premixed cocktails are chilled for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Colder temperatures allow the full flavor to shine.

Try different flavors: The variety of premixed cocktails makes it easy to sample different flavors. Look beyond your usual go-to cocktails.

Sip slowly: Savor each sip. Premixed cocktails use quality ingredients and unique recipes. Enjoying slowly lets you appreciate the nuances.

Pair with food: Consider flavor pairings, like cutting spice with citrus flavors. Think about what you would pair with a similar cocktail.

Watch for deals: Premixed cocktails can be expensive, so look out for deals like various packs. Buying by the caseload can lower per-can costs.

Think seasonally: Lighter, brighter cocktails suit summer occasions, while darker, warming cocktails fit fall and winter. Buy premixed cocktails suited for the season.

Use real glassware: For the best presentation and experience, pour your premixed cocktails into proper glassware like a wine glass or cocktail glass.

The Future is Bright for Premixed Cocktails

Ready-to-drink or premixed cocktails have proven they are more than just a passing trend in the alcohol industry. They are now an entrenched category that has been elevated in quality and diversity while maintaining the convenient, portable format that modern drinkers love.

As cocktails and cocktail culture thrive, consumers can expect even more innovation and new flavors on shelves from craft distilleries and big-name brands. Ready-to-drink cocktails have carved out a permanent place for themselves in how people enjoy spirits today. They offer the perfect blend of taste, quality, and convenience that appeals hugely to current consumers.

So, next time you host a party or want to unwind after work, notice the wide selection of premixed cocktails. With the incredible variety of spirits, flavors, and recipes, you will surely find the perfect ready-to-drink cans and bottles to liven up any occasion. Pop open a premixed cocktail and enjoy the future of convenient cocktail indulgence.

For a huge selection of quality premix drinks, visit Sippify’s extensive range of canned and bottled cocktails featuring all different spirits and flavors. Sippify offers fast shipping Australia-wide.

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