People Send Me Free Booze in the Mail, and I Review It: Pink Sparkly Summertime Edition

Luckily, I have a job where people send me weird alcohol, though it can be hard to justify a post for each bottle.
Publish date:
July 2, 2015
alcohol, press releases

I'm a pretty "serious" drinker. I drink a serious amount and I'm pretty serious about what I drink. (I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a snob, but my friends definitely would.) I'm pretty set in my habits; When I buy a bottle it's going to be a bottle I know and trust and it's probably going to be whiskey or gin, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted by the more novel offerings I see on the shelves.

Luckily, I have a job where people send me weird alcohol, though it can be hard to justify a post for each bottle. So I decided to do a round up of all of the pink, sparkly, and kinda out-there adult beverages I had been offered recently, to see if any of them were worthy of a spot in my summer drinking routine.

Most of them are pink.

UV Sangria Vodka

This is a basic flavored vodka, and its flavor is sangria. It is pink, sweet, and tastes more like alcoholic red Gatorade than anything else. I happen to love red Gatorade, so I'm not mad about this at all, but I'm not totally sure how/if I would use it on a regular basis.

The bottle told me to "just mix with lemon-lime soda" so I did that (2 ounces vodka over ice, topped with soda) and threw some fruit in there to make it extra summery. As you can probably guess, the result was super sweet.

I made some changes -- "Claire-ifying" it if you will -- and muddled some actual lemons and limes in a shaker with 2 ounces of the UV and some ice. I strained that into a lowball, topped with plain seltzer, and took a sip.

Now this was a delightful beverage. The citrus cuts the fruit punch sweetness of the vodka, resulting in something that I could drink all summer long, which is great because they sent me two bottles.

(Another fantastic use for this stuff? Pour it over the frozen prosecco that won Recipe of the Week a couple of weeks back for the ultimate adult snow cone.)


I'm not going to lie, I was fully prepared to hate this one. Viniq describes itself as a blend of "Premium Vodka, Moscato, Natural Fruit Flavors, and a one-of-a-kind shimmer," and though it looks really pretty, it just doesn't strike me as something I would enjoy in a cocktail.

It gets big points for presentation though; check out this box:

I wasn't totally sure what to do with this snowglobe-esque bottle, but the box helped me out:

If you can't read that, it's instructions for a cocktail called "Viniq Ruby A-List." To make one simply combine:

  • 1 part Viniq Ruby
  • 3 parts champagne
  • Lime squeeze
  • Lemon twist

I did as instructed and was blown away by how much I liked the results. It was sparkling, refreshing, and somehow not too sweet. It reminded me of a strawberry sour belt or a red Sour Patch Kid, which are two of may favorite things, plus it's just plain pretty.

Mija Sangria

The folks at Mija describe their product as a "natural, refreshing bottled sangria made exclusively with premium dry red wine and 100% real fruit juice" and "crafted without any artificial additives or preservatives." It's also 9.5%, which is higher than most of the bottled sangria I've tried, so that's cool.

It's a very juicy drink, with lots of fruit -- especially Concord grape -- and was a tad too "thick" and sweet for my taste. Truth be told, it reminds me a lot of the sangria I've had at less than completely authentic tapas restaurants.

The great thing about it is that it's ready to go, and can be served without any additional work on your part (though the same could be said for a bottle of wine, I guess.) If you want to get really fancy, you could throw some fruit in there. I'd also add some brandy -- which would add depth and cut some of the juiciness -- and perhaps a cinnamon stick.


Hey look! It's not pink!

TIQO looks like beer, but it's not beer. It's "a premium beverage that blends Tequila Blanco, coconut water, natural ginger flavors, lime juice, turmeric root and carbonated water to create a full bodied beverage that is simple, natural and indulgent." So there's a lot going on in there. (Also the little note their PR team sent me said "#summerwater" which is funny but kind of bad advice.)

It's quite refreshing, like a less sweet, carbonated margarita. I didn't get a lot of the ginger flavor, which was disappointing, but overall I would call this "guzzle-able." I could see myself drinking a few of these while floating down a river in an innertube, shouting "HASHTAG SUMMER WATER" at unlucky passers-by.

Why Don't We Mix Them All Together?

I mean why not?

I call this cocktail "The Press Release," and you make it like so:

  1. Fill a summery vessel with a lot of ice. It doesn't need to be fancy ice, because this is not a fancy drink for fancy people.
  2. To that not-fancy ice, add one ounce of Mija Sangria, Viniq, and UV Sangria Vodka.
  3. Give it a stir.
  4. Fill the rest of your summery chalice with TIQO.
  5. Guzzle.

My official review of The Press Release is that it tastes pink. It's a vaguely sparkly, vaguely fizzy fruit punch, and it will get you messed up. Given that all I want to do this summer is drink fruity things that mess me up, I give this cocktail high marks all around.

So thank you PR people, you're really helping make this summer one to remember.