If you want a cocktail but don’t have the time, ingredients, or know-how to make it yourself, don’t worry, anything you like to drink is probably available in a can. The recent surge in ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails has taken the country by storm, and D-FW is not immune to its wake.
Hard seltzers aren’t new, and brands like Zima and Mike’s Hard Lemonade dominated the ’90s. Turns out, they were just a little early for the party. Once White Claw and Truly launched in 2016, it was off to the races, and since then dozens of other RTDs have hit the market. (No, it’s not just appear like canned cocktails are everywhere – they really are.)
According to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, the largest volume gains in alcohol consumption in the United States last year were seen in the RTD category, which grew 62.3% in 2020 and shows no sign of of slowing down. Canned and bottled cocktails have already surpassed spirits in total volume, and by the end of 2021 they will account for more volume than wine.
As for Texas-based producers, you can find canned gin and tequila cocktails from Dallas-based RancH2O, hard ranch seltzer water from Texas-based Lone River Beverage Co. West Texas, and more ranch water from Texas-based Epic. Western.
The latest to join the market is a line of canned whiskey-based cocktails from Fort Worth’s TX Whiskey Distillery.
“We wanted to create a versatile product that would allow TX Whiskey fans to enjoy our cocktails without having to mix a drink,” says Steve Gordon, Marketing Director of TX Whiskey.
Seven months after the company’s first experiments, three cocktails have debuted: TX Whiskey & Cola, TX Whiskey & Sweet Tea and TX Whiskey Ranch Water, a whiskey-enhanced version of the popular tequila cocktail. Each is 7% ABV and lightly carbonated. Master Blender Ale Ochoa says the whiskey is the star of the show and “the flavors in the cocktail complement our whiskey on the palate beautifully.”
TX Whiskey & Cola features flavors of baking spices including cinnamon, clove and nutmeg with hints of rich vanilla and caramel. TX Whiskey Ranch Water has notes of tart lime, pear and vanilla, with a lemony finish. And the TX Whiskey & Sweet Tea starts with earthy black tea, lemon and sweet pear before moving into a creamy vanilla finish.
Whiskey Ranch water is the lightest and driest of the bunch. The others are sweet, but not cloying, and pouring them over ice helps tame the sweetness. All three taste like you’d expect, which is a compliment – they’re absent of the artificial chemical notes found in many RTDs.
“The team really looked to develop flavors that appeal to our fellow Texans,” says Gordon. Whiskey and cola are a natural combination, and sweet tea is the go-to liquid for many Southern drinkers. Classic ranch water has had a long time in Texas and elsewhere, and the distillery bar makes an uncanned whiskey ranch water that’s one of its best sellers. They saw an opportunity to strike, especially since there was no whiskey-based version on the market already.
Gordon says TX Whiskey has ambitions to release more flavors down the road, but they want to see how these cocktails perform first.
TX Whiskey canned cocktails are only available in Texas and they can be found at all of your favorite major independent liquor stores across the state. A four-pack carries a suggested price of $12.99 – do a little math, and it’s just $3.25 per drink, which is a lot cheaper than drinking cocktails in bars. And, in this case, your only role as a bartender is to pop the top.