Most of us have all had that problem — a handle of liquor and nothing in the fridge to go with it. And even if you did think ahead and grab a bottle of sour mix or a liter of soda to dilute the hard stuff, odds are it doesn’t taste great, anyway. With more of an emphasis on avoiding harsh chemicals and overly processed sugars, mixing cocktails at home can be trickier than ever, as plenty drinks aficionados quickly learned while attempting DIY recipes during the pandemic. After years as a bartender at some of LA’s most reputable spots, mixologist-turned-entrepreneur Mikki Kristola saw a gap in the market and expertly barreled right through it.
Over years of experimentation, she found a way to dehydrate real fruit and mix in spice blends into a little powder packet that’s perfectly proportioned as a cocktail mixer. Don’t call her Dry Cocktail packets mixers, though — Kristola is adamant that her solution leaves that whole category in the dust. “We get asked a lot if Dry Cocktails are mixers. Nope! Mixers are cumbersome, perishable and full of artificial ingredients,” Kristola said in a press release picked up by Bevnet. “Have you ever looked at the ingredients at your big brand margarita mixer? High fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, gum acacia, polysorbates, Yellow #5… yikes. You can drink our Dry Cocktails with just water; they taste great, because we just use real fruits, real spices, and real everything. And you get to pick your own spirit.”
While they wouldn’t be bad with water, the Dry Cocktail is more of a sly play on the category of liquor-free drinks than intended to be drunk without booze. The real point of the super portable powder sticks is to make the sticky process of mixing drinks more attainable, and that’s exactly what they do. Dubbed New Fashioned — as in, better than an Old Fashioned — the powdered starters currently come in two flavors: Margarita and, you guessed it, Old Fashioned. The Margarita flavor is made with blood orange and grapefruit, and stirs down into a nip of Casamigos with ease. As for the Old Fashioned kit, it’s a mix of house-made bitters, dark cherry, orange peel, and spices, all the necessary elements for a perfect whiskey blend.
While I can’t say there isn’t any excess powder left in the bottom of the glass, the flavor is so on point that a little residue doesn’t even matter. Make sure to really stir when you’re mixing the powder with the liquor, reaching back into old science classes memories to remember that solvents needs time to dissolve in a liquid. In the meantime, these Dry Cocktails are vegan, gluten-free, and low calorie, and very few other cocktail elements can hit all three of those very California boxes. Each package include seven packets and sells for a cool $25, which is a lot cheaper than what you’d be shelling out for seven cocktails if you do the math.
During a recent staycation at Silverlake Pool & Inn, where there was plenty of tajin, oranges, and mezcal, but not a mixer in sight, I pulled out the Margarita packet and whipped up a drink that almost rivaled the bar downstairs. Now, I carry a few of the packets with me whenever I travel, so if I’m stuck with a not-so-satisfactory bar and/or bartender circumstance, I can remedy the situation myself. While it might not be a totally perfect solution, New Fashioned is one of the most innovative products I’ve seen in the space lately — and I’m more than eager for them to roll out the Negroni flavor.
Check out more about this alternative style of cocktail-making right here.