Taste: Make Mine a Blue Lagoon

Ready-to-drink cocktails bring happy hour home

Cocktails were once indulgences reserved for nights out on the town. Continental bartenders whipped up flavorful creations one couldn’t match at home without the hundred-plus spirits, juices and mixers on hand behind the bar. But the


Cocktails were once indulgences reserved for nights out on the town. Continental bartenders whipped up flavorful creations one couldn’t match at home without the hundred-plus spirits, juices and mixers on hand behind the bar. But the current cocktail culture has given birth to “ready to drink” libations, taking up an increasing amount of space on state store shelves. These pre-mixed, packaged cocktails have become the TV dinners of your home happy hour — no muss, no fuss, just chill and serve.

Alizé, a mouth-watering blend of cognac and passion-fruit nectar, was the trailblazer of pre-mixed cocktails. Now Philadelphians are greeted with ready-to-drinks of all stripes. Smirnoff reproduces classic vodka cocktails, like the Cape Codder and the screwdriver. Cuervo’s original ready-to-drink margarita has been so successful that the company launched a premium version, Cuervo Golden Margarita, incorporating Grand Marnier and aged tequila for complexity. Even chain restaurants like T.G.I. Friday’s and Chi-Chi’s have bottled up their most popular recipes, from piña coladas to Long Island iced teas, some ready for the blender and others to be served over ice.

But the ultimate in convenience are those single-serve mini-bottles in handy, cooler-friendly multi-packs. Jack Daniel’s makes down-home favorites like refreshing Lynchburg Lemonade, while Kahlúa markets such creamy classics as the mudslide and White Russian. Slickest of all are the new Cocktails By Jenn, clearly targeting the Sex and the City set. Green appletinis, Blue Lagoons and pink cosmopolitans come in their own adorable jewel-toned bucket bags. All you’ll need are martini glasses for a perfect girls’-night-in.

Marnie Old discusses wines, beers and spirits at marnieold.com. She may consult for some of the businesses she writes about.