One of the hottest niches in the booming beverage field is known as RTDs, or ready-to-drink products.
And we're not just talking about water and sodas.
So, no need to worry about taking fragile bottles along to picnics, beaches or cookouts, and it's a very civilized way to control alcohol consumption.
An Irvine, Calif., distiller called ShotPak has been making RTD cocktails for some time, but sales have been confined essentially to its home state. That is changing, with statewide distribution in Connecticut marking its move eastward and a target of being in all major domestic markets by the end of the year.
The company's products are packaged in single serving, lightweight, break-resistant, recyclable plastic pouches with built-in pouring spouts.
ShotPak had been concentrating on a line of vodka cocktails — Sour Apple, Purple Hooter (raspberry), Lemon Drop and Kamikaze (sweet and sour) — but is adding a new line of packets containing straight shots of vodka, rum, whiskey and tequila. The line is called STR8UP.
What if you're planning a party at home, are not particularly adept at mixing cocktails, and need greater amounts of refreshment? Check out the new Smirnoff Cocktails, two new items in the ready-to-drink field and the starters for what the company expects to be a longer product line.
The two are the Grand Cosmopolitan and Vodka Mojito. The first blends vodka, Grand Marnier liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice. The second is made with Smirnoff No. 21 vodka, lime and mint flavors for a takeoff on the traditional rum mojito.
Smirnoff made a big push in a Manhattan tasting session last month, with
TV chef Tyler Florence — who of late has been pushing a rather simplistic set of recipes for Applebee's on the small screen — as the celebrity draw for its new ready-mades.
If, however, you do want to mix your own drinks, another California company is trying to please you while also cashing in on the growing market for energy drinks.
JetSet Beverages Inc. of San Francisco has come up with a line of "energized" cocktail mixers called Energy Club Soda, Energy Tonic Water, Energy Ginger Ale and Original Energy Flavor.
They're enhanced with a blend of guarana, ginseng, taurine and caffeine. The company also plans to introduce a line of diet options.
Of course, there is nothing to prevent you from drinking the mixers without alcohol.
• William M. Dowd covers the world of adult beverages on BillDowd.com.
Copyright Hearst Newspaper 2007.