How to customize Ready To Drink (RTD) Cocktails

The scorching Indian summer is at its worst and it’s time for thirst quenchers. Purists would argue that the best possible way to do so is like God intended it – with simple aqua. No disputing that, except if life were so simple then we’d still probably be eating raw vegetables! A change beyond the humdrum is what we often seek and in the beverages context, cocktails embody the spirit of innovation.

However,  preparing a cocktail from the scratch is not everybody’s chalice of wine and this is where RTDs or Ready to Drink cocktails score.

Recently I gave a closer look to some of the RTDs  available in the Indian market. Not being a particular fan of RTDs-  believing that there is no substitute to freshly made drinks- I also acknowledge  RTDs for the convenience they carry, especially when you are pressed for time or do not have the inclination to assemble the requisite paraphernalia.

A nagging problem with RTDs though, is that they are formulated on the  “one size fits all” approach. This brought me to ponder about customizing them to individual requirements. Some trials in my newly created “Colonel Joe Labs”  and the results have me excited enough to share these here.

But before that, let’s have a quick look at some simple steps to customise a cocktail :


Adhering to the above guidelines, I tweaked the following RTDs (Prices indicated are ex Delhi).

Cocktail Genre # 1: Sangria

General facts: The drink owes its name to the word ‘Sangre‘ which is Spanish for ‘blood‘. It is a red wine based cocktail added with a little bit of alcohol and other mixers, thereafter steeped with fruit chunks and chilled for several hours.




Cocktail Genre # 2: Carbonated (Bacardi Breezers)

General facts: Carbonated cocktails are fun and facile particularly with the younger crowd. They are a good alcoholic option to Coke, Fanta and the ilk. Mostly with lower alcoholic content (close to regular beers) , they are a good proposition for people new to alcoholic beverages. Plus there is always the option to fortify the drink with more alcohol if required.




Cocktail Genre #3: International Classics

General Facts: International classics like Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Margarita etc. have been around as RTDs since decades and are preferred the world over for their connaissance amongst cocktail lovers. However, the taste differs from brand to brand and a person who has experienced the real mojo will instantly separate the chalk from cheese.

The following cocktails are from the brand William Pitterson which is owned by the iconic French liqueur producer Marie Brizard. When I first presented William Pitterson (WP) cocktails at a Cocktail and Food pairing to an agog audience, I was surprised at the level of freshness they carried.

All the WP variants were so delightful that had they been served blind, I could have mistaken them coming from ingredients fresh from garden.

However that does not imply that you cannot improvise on them to suit your taste, or more importantly, serve them optimally.




Col Joe
wirtten by: Col Joe
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