Like you, I know what I like and what I don’t like. And I’ve gotten pretty good at ordering a cocktail I’ll enjoy when offered a restaurant or bar drinks menu. But at home, when I have friends over for cocktails, I have a small repertoire, and yes, it includes a Cosmopolitan. Simple syrup? Can’t say I like the mess and leftovers languish in my frig until I finally pour it down the drain. Blended drink? Don’t think so. Ditto powdered or bottled mixes with unpronounceable ingredients and way too much sugar. Finally, there are those bottles of specialty spirits that get used infrequently at best, and remain in my liquor cabinet so that it looks like I’m running a saloon.
Enter Owl’s Brew, three different tea-based concoctions that do the work for you to create quality cocktails. Mix one of their non-alcoholic tea brews with your choice of vodka, gin, whiskey, bourbon, tequila, or rum—usually at a 2-to-1 ratio, and you can easily create quality cocktails. Yes, you can also use the mixes to create sparkling wine-, beer- and cider-based cocktails.
The three brews include Coco-Lada (black tea, chai spices, pineapple and coconut), Pink & Black (Darjeeling tea, strawberries, lemon peel and hibiscus) and The Classic (English breakfast tea with lemon peel.) All three contain antioxidants, vitamin, and electrolyte rich tea, purified water, and are slightly sweetened with agave.
Visit the Owl’s Brew website for countless recipes; many require only a mix of one of the brews and one spirit. If you want to get more involved, there are recipes that add other ingredients, like juice or a second spirit. Here’s the smart part: each of the mixes can be mixed with any spirit—one brew does not go only with vodka, for example, and another with whiskey. You’ll find recipes using each spirit for each of the brews, and many of them look delicious.
On a rainy winter evening, I gathered a couple of my favorite gal-friends and we had fun experimenting. Our tastes are different (as they should be!) and there was something for everyone. A few of our favorites: the Fallen Hero, the White Out, My Fair Lady, ‘tini Owl, Owls Toddy, and the Chilled Classic.
Owl’s Brew was launched in August of 2013, by Jennie Ripps and Maria Littlefield, and they’ve already enjoyed great success with their products.
The attractively-designed black glass bottles look like something that might contain an old-time apothecary tonic; they don’t come across all frau-frau. It’s a great host/hostess gift, housewarming gift or suitable for anyone who imbibes. Actually, there’s no reason Owls’ Brew isn’t a good mock-tail mixer as well. (I suggest Owls’ Brew, a splash of fresh juice and soda water with a garnish), making it suitable for non-drinkers and tea-lovers and even more people on your gift list. Don’t forget to keep a bottle or two on hand for yourself!
Owl’s Brew is available nationwide in retail stores, in numerous catalogs, and online at their website, www.theowlsbrew.com. Prices range from about $10.00 to $25.00., singly or in gift sets. — Photos and review by Nancy Zaffaro, RFT NW Wine, Brews, & Spirits Editor