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Drift2’s Branded Cocktail
One Company’s Search for Their Own Branded Cocktail
The day of our third test run of the drink I had to pick up the ingredients we wanted to use. My shopping list included orange vodka, triple sec, orange juice, sprite, a bottle of orange bitters (because you can’t get too orange in an orange drink, right?) and grenadine. I’d already had the Aperol stored away because I knew this would be our staple for the color. Everything checked out except for grenadine because for whatever reason it’s entirely reasonable for grenadine to be a hot selling item at both a state liquor store and a supermarket. While I wasn’t too concerned about the grenadine, the search for it led me to something I had no idea I desperately needed to add to this cocktail: blood orange soda. I love blood oranges. I love them so much I’ll repeat it. I love blood oranges. I bought a bottle of the blood orange soda in part to test in our orange cocktail, but my bias towards the taste is what sold me on the purchase.
The third test run took place in the kitchen area of Drift2. Our resources for creating the drink were a little limited here, which led to me using a tablespoon as a measure of our drink. This experience turned out to be the most enjoyable though. We all had a pretty good idea of the direction of the drink at this point, and we had learned how to control the color well enough with the Aperol. The next test was all about finding the perfect parts for the excellent taste, which is where the blood orange soda came in. The first drink I made used a good helping of that because I was so excited for it, and just a splash of orange juice and sprite. Our portions of this drink were an ounce of orange vodka, half an ounce of both Triple Sec and Aperol and a dash of bitters. The color of the brew seemed a little pinker than I imagined because of the blood orange soda, but more orange juice seemed to balance it back out. The taste was almost decadent. The bitters, Aperol, and blood orange offered a sweet mixture of citrus without being too overpowering. It wasn’t too sweet, but wasn’t too bitter either. The blend of the sweetness and bitterness of the ingredients made a good balance. While this one drink may have been it, this was a room full of people with full bottles of alcohol, so of course, we had to try several variations of the drink. That went something like this:
- More orange Juice: too much orange citrus for some people
- An extra ounce of vodka: now you can taste the burn of the vodka
- An additional half ounce of triple sec: too artificially sweet
- An extra half ounce of Aperol: a little too bitter
- No bitters: some people found the drink too sweet now
- Regular vodka instead of orange: this wasn’t a bad call. This drink is loaded with orange flavors already so a little less orange didn’t hurt it
- “Why don’t we just serve straight vodka?”: while not an awful idea it didn’t make an orange drink
- Less blood orange soda: The more blood orange we added, the more people were getting a grapefruit-y taste, which is fair. Less blood orange was a good idea. I just love blood oranges.
- At this point, I made myself a repeat of the first one we made and probably said something like “wow I feel a little drunk now.”
I must say almost any variation of what we had wouldn’t have been a bad representation of the perfect orange drink. They all had the bright glow and style we wanted, and most of the drinks weren’t too sweet and just savory enough to be enjoyed. I think this test run was successful in creating the foundation of the drink, even if all the portions weren’t specified just yet. The road to this moment was long, and it was time for us to pour another drink for ourselves and congratulate ourselves for getting this far.