"We would love to hear your opinion of our drinks," said an email that came through my website. "We are a small business here in Florida that is providing a culinary experience by way of our line of premium cocktail mixers."
And so I came into possession of three colorful bottles of Bungalow 23 cocktail mixes, each in trendy, inventive flavor:
Blueberry Lemon Drop – made from Oregon blueberries, lemons, lavender, and lemongrass
Pear Ginger Martini – made from Washington State pears, ginger, lemons, and lemongrass
Prickly Pear Margarita – made from Salina’s Valley prickly pears, limes, oranges, agave, and cilantro
Orlando-made, meant for cocktails, and free ... the gals and I were on it. At a going-away party for an Atlanta-bound lady, we broke out all three bottles. She stepped into the position of bartender. I put out vodka and rum (turns out that rum should have been tequila, per the company), and she mixed the Finlandia with one flavor at a time, spritzing each with seltzer and chilling the concoctions with ice. Bonus! These super-fun parasol umbrellas I picked up on clearance at World Market.
Hit! We disagreed as to our favorites. The guest of honor liked the subtle ginger tones of the Pear Ginger Martini. I preferred the rich blueberry pie depth of the Blue Lemon Drop. And the Prickly Pear Margarita -- which should have been poured with tequila, not vodka -- had its own happy little fan base.
The flavorings are booze-free, so non-drinking guests can enjoy them with seltzer and ice. Also, the ingredient list is pure. It does not mention scary-sounding chemicals, as many of the supermarket brands do.
Let's wish Bungalow 23 Mixers luck as it expands in market share. Several local stores sell Bungalow 23 mixers. Meanwhile, my book group friends know what beverages to anticipate for our gathering in a couple of weeks.