Ready-To-Drink Cocktails Part 1
 

Ready-to-Drink Cocktails

 

The Fifty Best Ready-to-Drink Cocktail Tasting 2021


The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a "blind" tasting of 77 Ready-to-Drink (RTD) cocktails with fourteen members of our spirits judging panel. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Strict tasting rules were applied. The RTD cocktails were poured into fresh glasses from sealed cans and bottles, and served at well-chilled. Additional ice cubes were made available to the judges, to add at their discretion. Only ice water, unflavored unsalted crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges were informed of the “type of cocktail” they were tasting, and wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the highest. Double-Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. Medals are provided based entirely on merit and only to products judged worthy of such award. The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The ABVs are identified for each brand. Clicking on the brands' names will link to their websites.

DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Treaty Oak - Old Fashioned
(Bourbon whiskey, bitters)  38% ABV

Palate: Bourbon stars here, old oak bourbon, apparent cherry, caramel, maple, vanilla, corn bread, nice orange, citrus, nice bitters, wood, oak, flavorful, nicely balanced, well balanced, well made, well presented, original, classic, authentic, perfection, a perfect Old Fashioned, a really well done Old Fashioned, best Old Fashioned.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Treaty Oak Old Fashioned



Handy & Schiller - Old Fashioned
(Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey & Peychaud’s bitters)  42% ABV

Palate: Quality bourbon, good woody bourbon, maple brown sugar, muddled cherry, vanilla notes, muddled orange, orange peel, bitters, oak, great flavors, just enough sweetness, well balanced, well-made, well done, full on, done right, doesn’t disappoint, appealing, astonishingly authentic, classic Old Fashioned cocktail, a proper Old Fashioned, a perfect Old Fashioned, “Chef’s Kiss”.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Handy & Schiller Old Fashioned



Joia Spirit Sparkling Cosmopolitan
(Vodka, cranberry, pear & lime natural flavors)  7% ABV

Palate: Ripe pear, pear soda, cranberry forward, surprisingly present pear with well-balanced cranberry & lime, lemon/lime, lingering lime, citrus, nicely balanced, just enough sweetness, natural taste, flavorful, tasty, sparkling, very refreshing, delicious, delightful, an easy sipper, well done, a winner.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Joia Spirit Sparkling Cosmopolitan



Cutwater Spirits - Tequila Paloma
(Tequila, grapefruit)  7% ABV

Palate: Fresh grapefruit, grapefruit peel, Jarritos grapefruit soda, delicious fresh citrus, grassy, tequila forward, savory tequila, chocolaty tequila, agave, charred agave, smoky, well balanced, pleasantly balanced, poignant, add salt rim, refreshing, enjoyable, dangerously fun, amazing.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Cutwater Spirits Tequila Paloma



Dante - Americano 2.0
(Amaro, vermouth, bitters, soda water)  9.5% ABV

Palate: Sweet vermouth, red vermouth, sweet cane, cherry, rhubarb, vanilla, complex mix of herbs, wonderful herbs, wormwood, cinchona bark, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cardamom, bitters, great bitterness, back end vermouth sweetness, really nicely balanced, surprisingly complex, very refreshing, nice amaro finish, great after dinner digestif.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Dante Americano 2.0



Daybreaker Vodka Cocktails – Blood Orange
(Vodka, sparkling water, 100% real fruit juice)  7% ABV

Palate: Fresh natural orange juice, natural blood orange, orange peel, orange zest, nice refreshing soda orange, aranciata, aperol spritz, blood orange candy, honey, sweet minerality, sweet with a nice acidity, crisp, pleasantly tart, nicely balanced, approachable, very fresh, sparkling, bubbly, accurate flavor, very nice flavor, flavorful, tasty.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Daybreaker Vodka Cocktails Blood Orange



Handy & Schiller – Manhattan
(Sazerac rye whiskey, vermouth & Peychaud’s bitters)  35% ABV

Palate: Rye forward, cherry, caramel, caramel corn, honey, spice, nice vermouth, bitter wormwood, good bitters, lingering rye, malty sweetness, well balanced, nicely balanced, a very well-crafted cocktail, great, quality, beautiful.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Handy & Schiller Manhattan



The Bloody Buddy
10% ABV

Palate: Tomato, nice tomato puree, celery, cucumber, onion, garlic, tart tamarind, lively horseradish, nice hit of Worcestershire sauce, chipotle forward, cayenne pepper, chili powder, black pepper, peppery, spicy, balanced & lingering spice, fascinating texture, complex, good flavor, well done, pretty good, best Bloody Mary, delicious.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



The Bloody Buddy



Par Tee Half & Half
(Vodka, iced tea, lemonade)  6% ABV

Palate: Fresh brewed tea, natural tea, lemony iced tea, Snapple lemon tea, lovely notes of orange Pekoe tea, hint of black tea, tea leaves, tea with just enough sweetness, correct amount of sugar, lemon candy, faithful rendition of iced tea with vodka, great to add to lemonade, very approachable, refreshing, to sip on your porch on a hot day, a porch pounder.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Par Tee Half & Half



Joia Spirit Sparkling – Greyhound
(Vodka, grapefruit, chamomile)  6% ABV

Palate: Grapefruit, ruby red grapefruit, grapefruit essence, grapefruit peel, grapefruit soda, lime, orange, citrus, vanilla, allspice, cardamom, hint of cinnamon, light spice, very well balanced, more sweet than tart, smooth, natural, different, complex, extra bubbly, sparkling, very refreshing, fun, delicious.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Joia Spirit Sparkling Greyhound



Cape & Islands Distillers - Mashpee Mule
(Cape Cod vodka, natural ginger)  :7% ABV

Palate: Fresh ginger, authentic ginger flavor, real ginger, strong ginger, ginger beer, ginger candy, sugar cane, vanilla, lime tartness, subtle citrus, nicely balanced, good Moscow Mule flavor, very flavorful, fizzy, delicious.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Cape & Islands Distillers Mashpee Mule



The Cocktail Chemist – Mojito
(Caribbean rums, lime juice, cane sugar, natural mint)  10% ABV

Palate: True mint taste, perfect mint flavor, good lime/mint balance, lime juice, lemon/lime, citrus, spearmint, yerba buena, Pekoe tea, peppermint tea, sugarcane, molasses, honey, buttery, rum body, savory rum notes, minty fresh, well balanced, authentic, bubbly, refreshing, invigorating.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



The Cocktail Chemist Mojito



Bushwacker Coconut Rum Cream Cocktail
(Caribbean rum, real dairy cream, natural coconut, coffee
& chocolate flavors)  17% ABV

Palate: Rum, cream, coconut, white chocolate, chocolate, hint of vanilla, cinnamon, Coquito, balanced, well rounded, properly proportional, well done, very well crafted, quite rich, creamy, a great sipper, dessert in a glass, delicious.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Bushwacker Coconut Rum Cream Cocktail



Cutwater Spirits - Tequila Margarita
12.5% ABV

Palate: Tequila silver, nice tequila, lime, lime juice, balanced citrus, grassy notes, agave, triple sec, light salt, saline, spicy, well balanced, easy sipper, classic margarita cocktail, perfect rendition of a margarita, now that’s a margarita, best RTD tequila margarita.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Cutwater Spirits Tequila Margarita



Daybreaker Vodka Cocktails – Meyer Lemon
7% ABV

Palate: Fresh lemon, natural lemon, juicy lemon, tart lemon, lemon zest, fresh citrus, crisp citrus, lemon pith, lemon drop, carbonated lemonade, Lemonhead candy, lemon Pez, tart, a perfect sweetness, pleasantly sweet, zesty, nicely balanced, bright, refreshing, pleasing, well done, delicious.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Daybreaker Vodka Cocktails Meyer Lemon



The Cocktail Chemist – Espresso Martini
(Vodka with cold brew espresso)  10% ABV

Palate: Espresso & cream, espresso ice cream, café au lait, freshly brewed coffee, good coffee flavor, chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, caramel sweetness, creamy espresso lingers, nice balance, well-constructed, nicely done, no addition needed, dessert in a can, perfection.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



The Cocktail Chemist Espresso Martini



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

The Cocktail Chemist - Something Good
(American corn vodka, lemon, cane sugar, natural violet
& elderflower flavors)  10% ABV

Palate: Lemon, lemon/lime, hard lemonade, lemon curd, citrus, nice citrus punch, lemon drop, lemon gummy candy, gummy bears, citrus candy, elderberry, daisies, chamomile, elderflower, lavender, floral, very flowery, balanced, smooth, natural, fragrant, aromatic, bold, zesty, sparkling, different, interesting, tasty, nice on a summer day.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



The Cocktail Chemist Something Good



1220 Spirits Cucumber Hibiscus
(Vodka, cucumber, elderflower & hibiscus)  5.5% ABV

Palate: Plenty of cucumber, freshly grated cucumber, excellent cucumber flavor, lemon, flower notes, hibiscus tartness, not too sweet, well balanced, nicely crafted, very refreshing, delicious, lovely.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



”1220



Zing Zang – Bourbon Whiskey Sour
(Premium Kentucky bourbon, real fruit juices, pure cane sugar)
9% ABV

Palate: Sweet cane, chocolate, caramel notes, banana, lemon juice, lime, strong citrus, citric pop, sweet & sour mix, simple syrup, nice sweetness, nicely tart, balanced acidity, round, smooth, well balanced, classic cocktail, legendary, electrifying.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Zing Zang Bourbon Whiskey Sour



Dante - Summer Spritz
(Gin, elderflower cordial, cucumber, cucumber bitters,
lemon & grape juices)  12.5% ABV

Palate: Authentic cucumber, natural cucumber, fresh cucumber essence, nice cucumber flavor, crisp cucumber complements floral notes, hints of elderflower, floral, lemon-lime, lime peel, citrus, juniper, gin botanicals, gin, beautifully balanced, well made, very flavorful, great flavor combination, unique, serve over ice, sparkling, very refreshing, refreshing summer blend, delicious.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Dante Summer Spritz



RancH2O Vodka Soda
(With a hint of cranberry)  7% ABV

Palate: Cranberry, identifiably cranberry, invigorating cranberry, cranberry juice cocktail, bold cranberry sauce, lime, mineral sweetness, a nice balance of sweet & tart, well balanced, very clean, bold, effervescent, very refreshing, flavorful, fun, enjoyable.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



RancH2O Vodka Soda



Spiritfruit Vodka Soda – Clementine
5% ABV

Palate: Freshly peeled clementine, authentic pulp & zest, orange peel, candied orange peel, orange soda, vanilla-tinged citrus, orange blossom, floral, creamy vodka, nice blend of spirit & fruit, fresh fruit flavor, nice citrus finish, great flavor, very approachable, refreshing, a summer sipper, pleasant, elegant, lovely.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Spiritfruit Vodka Soda Clementine



Bartenders Trading Co. - Espresso Martini
21% ABV

Palate: Fresh brewed espresso, heavy roast black coffee, dark roast, cold brew, iced coffee, café au lait, coffee bean, cacao, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, vanilla, lingering sweetness, nicely balanced, well balanced, well made, rich, creamy, pleasant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Bartenders Trading Co. Espresso Martini



Cutwater Spirits - Vodka Mule
(Vodka, ginger beer, lime)  7% ABV

Palate: Fresh ginger, pleasant ginger, ginger root, nice ginger bite, real ginger beer, ginger ale, ginger candy, light lime, lime pith, nice spice, all ingredients present, great blend of flavors, nicely balanced, well crafted, very nicely done, effervescent, refreshing.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Cutwater Spirits Vodka Mule



Dry Fly Bloody Mary
8% ABV

Palate: Rich tomato, tomato juice, spicy tomato, pleasantly spicy bloody Mary, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, garlic, celery, carrot, cucumber, parsley, beet juice, ginger, lemon, cumin, Montreal Steak Seasoning, pepper, black pepper, chili powder, chili, jalapeño, well spiced, savory spices, delightfully spicy, lingering spice, very well balanced, surprising, authentic, tasty.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Dry Fly Bloody Mary



503 Distilling Huckleberry Lemonade
(Vodka, huckleberries & lemonade) 11% ABV

Palate: Huckleberry, blueberry juice, blueberry jam, grape jelly, lemony, lemonade, Sweet Tarts, grape bubblegum, honey, pleasantly tart, zingy, surprisingly balanced flavors, interesting, tasty, yum.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



”503



BarBox – Cosmopolitan
(Lemon infused vodka, Triple Sec, cranberry juice, lime juice)
24% ABV

Palate: Tart cranberry, pleasant lime, nice citrus, triple sec, just enough cranberry tartness, good backbone, nice balance, well balanced, nicely prepared, good flavor, excellent taste, true to name, on profile, classic Cosmopolitan, a pleasant cocktail.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



BarBox – Cosmopolitan



Cutwater Spirits – Bourbon Whiskey Mule
(Bourbon whiskey, natural ginger, lime, bitters)  7% ABV

Palate: Authentic ginger, ginger bite up front, nice ginger presence, ginger beer, lime dominant, ginger & lime marry well with oak, wood, vanilla, spicy vanilla, caramel, lively pleasant bourbon, all flavors well presented, nice balance of flavors, interesting mix, serve over ice, surprisingly light, effervescent, zingy, crisp, refreshing, invigorating.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Cutwater Spirits Bourbon Whiskey Mule



Bartenders Trading Co. – Paloma
21% ABV

Palate: Ruby Red grapefruit, fresh grapefruit, Paloma grapefruit, grapefruit candy, lime, nicely tangy lime, lime lollipop, citrus, minty, grassy tequila notes, tequila forward, just enough sweetness, tart, nice balance, well crafted, great over ice, refreshing.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Bartenders Trading Co. Paloma



Five Drinks Co – Mojito
(Rum, passion fruit, mint, cane sugar, carbonated water)  9% ABV

Palate: Nicely pleasant & present passion fruit, fresh mint, nice mint, mint tea, lime, nice citrus, orange Pekoe tea, tarragon, white rum, rum sweetness, natural flavors, well balanced, interesting addition of passion fruit, poolside drinkability, refreshing, very nicely done, delicious.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Five Drinks Co Mojito



Joia Spirit Sparkling - Moscow Mule
(Vodka, ginger, apricot, lime)  7% ABV

Palate: Strong lime, lime peel, lemon, nice citrus, hint of ginger, nice ginger kick, ginger beer, clove, lime Skittles, candy apple, vanilla, just enough sweetness, nicely balanced, a well balanced Mule, great Mule, decently presented, pure, original, sparkling, refreshing.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Joia Spirit Sparkling Moscow Mule



BarBox – Negroni
(Gin, bitter liqueur, white wine, cochineal extract)  26% ABV

Palate: Floral gin, juniper berries, botanical, herbs, bark, bitters, appropriately bitter, nicely balanced, well-made, tasty, classic Negroni, Negroni love, a pleasant Negroni.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



BarBox Negroni



Zing Zang - Bloody Mary
9% ABV

Palate: Tomato juice, V-8 vibes, celery, garlic, onion bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, mild spice, pepper, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, fresh acidity, new wood, well balanced, nicely balanced cocktail, pleasantly thick body texture, nice overall flavor, zesty, refreshing, tasty, great for brunch, a great Bloody Mary.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Zing Zang - Bloody Mary



Five Drinks Co – Paloma
(Tequila, grapefruit, lime)  9% ABV

Palate: Fresh grapefruit, strong lime notes, lime peel, nice balance of citrus, nice tequila notes, grassy, earthy, good spice, hints of pepper, great balance of ingredients, natural, flavorful, sparkling, refreshing, Paloma!, well presented, well done, a delicious tequila cocktail.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Five Drinks Co Paloma



Litchfield Distillery – Batcherita
(Agave, natural lime & orange flavors)  7% ABV

Palate: Lime, sweet lime, lemon/lime peel, orange, orange peel, orange essence, citrus peel, citrus, fresh mint, herbed flowers, agave forward, charred agave, sweet agave, triple sec, savory tequila notes, interesting and pleasant flavors, nicely balanced, soft, delicate, bright & refreshing, unique.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Litchfield Distillery Batcherita



Cutwater Spirits - Tiki Rum Mai Tai
(Cutwater Bali Hai rum, Cutwater barrel aged rum, natural flavors)
12.5% ABV

Palate: Pineapple, pineapple Lifesaver candy, orange, passion fruit, cherry, lime, coconut, hazelnut, hints of almond, nutty earthiness, vanilla, rum, dark rum, sweet, nice silky mouthfeel, complex, just right, it’s all there, nicely done.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Cutwater Spirits Tiki Rum Mai Tai



Beagans 1806 Coffee & Cream
15% ABV

Palate: Cream, sweet cream, melted coffee ice cream, hints of coffee, cafe latte, White Russian, chocolate milkshake, mudslide, rich, properly balanced, well crafted, spot on, very delicious.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Beagans 1806 Coffee & Cream

 

 



Best RTD Cocktails Part 2
Best RTD Cocktails- Part 2

 

 

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