Wednesday, February 28th, 2007
A while back I was contacted by Whit Whitley of Revolution X Mixers, a new brand of bottled mixers. He sent me some samples in the mail, and although I’m usually opposed to pre-made cocktail mixes, I was excited to try some new stuff.
You see, at my bar, we make everything from scratch. Sours, Bloody Marys, mojitos – everything. The only other alternative here in Eugene, Oregon is poorly-made crap full of chemicals, colorings and flavoring “agents”. But after looking at the Patrick Henry’s website, I decided I would give Whit’s products a try.
They came in a huge box last week, and after a lot of unpacking I finally made my way into the bottles. Whit had sent three samples, his Sour Mix, Lime juice (a syrup made in the tradition of Rose’s lime) and a bottle of Bloody Mary mix.
I was looking forward to playing with his ingredients at the bar, but as I didn’t have to be at work until the next night, I took a little sample from each bottle at home.
As far as sour mix is concerned, his Phantastic Sour Mix is fine. It tastes like, well, like sour mix. It’s bright yellow and it tastes like strong artificial lemonade. But to me, there’s no replacement for freshly-squeezed lemon juice and a touch of pure sugar with my whiskey. Call me a snob, but I don’t know why you would choose anything else. So, the Phantastic Sour Mix gets a B, but sour mix in general gets a D+.
Next up was the lime juice. Sweet, bright green and just a little syrupy, it was hard for me to relate this back to the Queen of Sweetened Lime Juice, the venerable Rose’s. The flavor I experienced here was a little brighter and maybe a little more realistic then Rose’s, but I still hold sweetened lime juice at arm’s length: I like it in a gimlet, but I wouldn’t use it anywhere else. The score for Patrick Henry’s: A-. The score for sweetened lime juice in general: C+.
The Bloody Mary mix was another story. A good Bloody Mary is a tough drink to master, because it calls for balance in ways that other cocktails don’t demand. There has to be an element of sour, an element of sweet, and a touch of spice – and neither one can overpower the other or the drink has been ruined. I know that home bartenders don’t want to deal with a bunch of complicated ingredients and preparation, so I recognize the need for good, readily available mixes. Of all the bottled Bloody Mary mixes I’ve tried, this has to be one of the best. The balance of flavors is good, and I had a feeling that mixed with an acidic vodka it would make for a great Mary. Patrick Henry gets an A-. Bloody Mary mix gets a B.
I couldn’t wait to get to work to try these out on some unwitting subjects. I was planning on making a whiskey sour, a kamikaze, and a traditional Bloody Mary. So, the next day I packed the three bottles in a grocery sack with some other ingredients I was planning on trying out at work that night. I parked my car, fed the meter, and pulled my sack of goodies from the passenger side of the car. As I walked across the street to the restaurant, the bottom of the bag fell out and the three glass bottles of Patrick Henry’s cocktail mixers shattered on the pavement.
As I was picking up the sharp, wet slivers of glass and packing them back into the bag, I had a thought: why aren’t these damn things packed in plastic bottles? I’m sad that I never got to give them a fair shake behind the bar. There was even a whole Serrano pepper in the Bloody Mary bottle, which I thought was a nice touch. Too bad it was covered in broken glass.
I don’t know how these heavy, breakable bottles of cocktail mixers would work in a real-life bar situation, but for the home user not willing to squeeze a few lemons or spend a half hour making Bloody Mary mix, these are some pretty high-quality mixes. You can purchase them here.