Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Tom Cruise walks into the bar, assessing all the hot ladies in the spot. He flips a bottle of vodka up into the air and spins around in a circle. “Addicted to Love” starts playing. You order a margarita from Tom Cruise. He reaches for the tequila, but grabs some Brella instead, squeezing a few drops into a glass of seltzer. After mixing it, he slides it down the bar to you. “This isn’t what I ordered,” you say. “I know!” he yells, and turns to make somebody else’s drink. You get up and leave the bar in search of a margarita.
This beautiful vignette isn’t a window into your future (for a number of reasons). The most important reason is because if you want Brella—the new zero-proof mixer that’s blowing up right now—you don’t need to go to the bar for it.
So, what is this stuff? you might be wondering. That feels like a reasonable question. Brella is, simply put, drops that add flavor and color to your seltzer drinks. It seems like the idea here is to create tasty alternatives to alcoholic beverages, though Brella’s website says you can add this to hard drinks as well.
There are presently two available flavors: Garden Party and Jazz Club. Brella describes Garden Party as “a picnic in Lincoln Park. Charcuterie and some of those small pickles. Sunglasses that look expensive.” (Lincoln Park is a neighborhood in Chicago where a lot of rich people and students live; a Windy City resident myself, I can say that Lincoln Park also has a ton of dope restaurants and my favorite metal bar in town, so I’m OK with the reference.) Garden Party is described as having a splash of wild lavender, citrus, and botanicals, which doesn’t sound too bad on paper. In reality, it reminded me of good-smelling hand lotion, but I think that if one were to mess around with doses and different additional flavors, they could eventually arrive at a tasty equilibrium. At least, I think Tom Cruise could do it.
Jazz Club apparently “feels like after dinner in an old Chicago club,” and Brella describes the flavor as “a complex profile of corn crème brulee, orange zest aromatics, and a kiss of bitters.” As someone with a B.A. and an M.A. in musicology and plenty of jazz venue experience, I sort of expected it to taste like weed smoke and frozen pizza, but the notes are somewhat accurate, for better or worse. Anyway, R.I.P. Wayne Shorter!
Alright—so back to those margaritas. So, what really happens in this fake story is that Tom Cruise comes to your house to mix some Brella cocktails. He tells you about his plans for Top Gun 3, and eventually shows you the lost footage from the Eyes Wide Shut orgy scene. You are now one of the only living people who has experienced Stanley Kubrick’s complete vision for that film. Thanks, Brella!
But why is Tom Cruise slinging N/A cocktail mixers anywhere? And why is this Tom Cruise joke even still going? For both of those questions, I regret that there is no good answer. But what is clear is that people seem to be loving Brella; after producing its first batch of mixers at the end of 2022, it sold out within a month. Now, however, the goods are back on the shelf, and if you want to know whether a cocktail mixer that comes in a cute, TSA-friendly squeeze-bottle is actually worth the hype (or even drinkable), it’s a pretty low-stakes investment to find out.
Will Brella replace your nightly Negroni cravings? Will we ever know what happened in those deleted minutes from Eyes Wide Shut’s orgy scene? There’s only one way to find out.
Try Garden Party and Jazz Club at Brella’s website.
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