I love cheap shit. I lived off Taco Bell bean burritos and Natural Light for three years after college. I refuse to spend more than $11.99 for a watch, and will only get my pets from the either the pound or a box on the side of the road—not because of some moral high ground about over breeding and puppy mills, but because dogs and cats you find in cardboard boxes are usually free.
You can call me cheap (I prefer the term “frugal”), and yet I will pay extra for a better bottle of bourbon. Ditto beer. The days of scrounging the car seats to come up with the $6.99 it costs for that case of Natty Light are over. Now, I proudly raid my kids’ college fund for better booze. So it only makes sense that it’s time to upgrade the juice that goes into my cocktails as well.
Enter American Juice Company, an NYC outfit that specializes in gourmet juice specifically designed for cocktails. American Juice Company takes fresh seasonal fruit (everything from strawberries to persimmons), presses the shit out of it and bottles it. There are no additives, no preservatives…just pure juice and seasoning. Each juice is bottled in a concentrated form that’s meant to be mixed with either tonic water or soda water, so it’s easy to build simple, fresh cocktails. Throw in a couple of ounces of gin or bourbon or whatever, an ounce of American Juice, and a couple of ounces of tonic, stir over ice and bam: fast summer cocktail.
The company sent us a few different juices to test out—The Ginger Gershwin, the Blueberry Finn, and the Lady Lychee. I knocked out several rounds of drinks with each, using bourbon or gin for most, and some without booze. The Blueberry Finn is actually a combination of pressed blueberries and pressed apples and almond extract. It’s decent, but a little weak and easily overpowered by the tonic. It did better mixed with soda, but it wasn’t as impressive as the Gershwin Ginger, which is so damned packed with ginger kick, it’s ridiculous. I mixed it with bourbon, tonic and a squeeze of lemon.
The Lady Lychee is the best of the three we tried, partly because lychee is such an exotic fruit. When was the last time you had a lychee? Probably never. American Juice blends strawberries, lychee, orange, cardamom, rose syrup and pineapple juice in this concoction. It’s sweet, but plenty zesty, and it’s strong enough to hold its own in a standard gin and tonic. It has a tart, almost bitter grapefruit edge to it that I loved. I ended up drinking several of these without the booze, which says a lot because I rarely drink juice without booze in it. I could also see adding an ounce of this to a glass of Champagne, if you’re into that sort of thing.
One thing to consider if you decide to try something from the American Juice Company, is make sure you’re adding quality tonic or soda water (and booze, for that matter). It would be silly to drop $15 on a bottle of this juice (one bottle makes 34 cocktails) and dumb it down with budget tonic. So there goes the rest of my kids’ college fund, blown on gourmet juice and high-end tonic. Oh well, as Judge Smails from Caddyshack says, “the world needs ditch diggers too.”
Get your bottles of American Juice Company juice here.
Company: American Juice Company
City: New York, New York