Welcome to Fizz Biz, a summertime column where we’ll be sipping and appraising hard seltzers all season long. Know of any must-try products out there? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watching the seltzer boom shake the foundations of the earth in real time has been a hell of a ride. As we’ve seen, it took a little bit of time for seltzers to branch out from the safe sandbox of bright fruit flavors like grapefruit and mango and merge those fruity notes with botanicals and spices to create engaging sipping experiences that would keep customers coming back for more. (Not that getting them to come back for more was proving to be any sort of issue. Even airplanes are stocking it now.) But some brands have gone farther in trying to create unique flavor combinations. Some are making the leap to other alcohol bases entirely. That’s what MAMITAS has done, and to delicious effect.
As we’ve noted before, hard seltzers are made with a base of either brewed malt or brewed sugar, from which the beverage derives its alcohol content. Sparkling water and added flavors are then incorporated in particular ratios to create the flavor experience of anything from a chili watermelon to a cinnamon apple. MAMITAS has incorporated real tequila into the mix and is described on its website as “a hard seltzer with real tequila, sparkling water, and natural flavors.” If it sounds like a tequila and soda, the difference will be found on the nutrition label: in each 12-ounce can of MAMITAS, you’re getting 95 calories and 5% ABV, the latter of which is certainly not the case with the classic cocktail (or most applications of tequila). The difference is also in the marketing: “canned low-cal tequila and soda” is a lot less buzzy. If you can call something a seltzer in 2021, you do it.
So, how does it taste? Well, a whole lot like a tequila cocktail, to the point where you start bracing for a residual burn that never arrives. MAMITAS is far from the only sparkling tequila drink out there—Onda is a strong contender, Jose Cuervo’s Playamar is making a splash, and we enjoyed Ranch Rider’s take on ranch water—but it’s the only one I’ve tasted that balances the booze with some tempering sweetness in craveable proportions. Onda’s bitter citrus flavors are so natural as to be too sophisticated for my palate, and Cuervo brings the fruity punch you might expect of a mass-market product. But MAMITAS sits between them, quietly dominating the category. And you’re no more likely to get a headache from this stuff than you are from a White Claw.
Even though the specs (95 calories, 5% ABV, 12-ounce slim can, gluten-free) are identical to most hard seltzers, a can of MAMITAS feels a bit indulgent, simply because that’s how we’ve been trained to think about tequila drinks. But if you’re prone to headaches, sleepiness, or sloppiness when you drink Jalisco’s most famous export, this beverage is a pretty clear-cut solution. And while you can choose between Lime, Paloma, Pineapple, and Mango flavors, none of these options distracts too much from the boozy base, keeping the tequila the main event. Which is the best homage to tequila we can imagine, because when isn’t it trying to steal the show?
Find it: MAMITAS is under the umbrella of Phusion Projects, a beverage brand that also owns Four Loko, so its reach is far and wide. You can use this locator to see where it’s sold near you, at both stores and restaurants. After a cursory search, I can tell you that I had to Google ZIP codes pretty far into rural Montana before I was unable to get several hits on where MAMITAS could be found, so if you’re looking to pick up a 4-pack, or a variety 8-pack, you’re probably good.