The Trader Joe’s drink aisle is a cave of wonders, boasting fancy-pants juices and sodas you won’t find anywhere else. It’s also a lazy bartender’s dream—a fact I learned last weekend, when someone handed me a glass of TJ’s Organic Green Tea Lemonade mixed with a teeny bit of whiskey. It was refreshing, sweet but not cloying, and way nicer than other mixers I’ve pulled out of friends’ fridges. It also got me thinking: What are the best Trader Joe’s drinks for cocktails?
I should preface this with a disclaimer that I haven’t tasted every single drink in the Trader Joe’s drinks aisle. What am I, Wonder Woman? I’ve only got one mouth. If I miss any splendid Trader Joe’s cocktail mixers, let me know in the comments. That said, of the drinks I’ve tried, the following have the most cocktail potential:
Organic Green Tea Lemonade + whiskey: Earlier this week, we discovered a dupe for Starbucks green tea lemonade that involves Trader Joe’s canned matcha green tea. Here we are, two days later, still singing the praises of Trader Joe’s green tea products. As I discovered last weekend, the brand’s Organic Green Tea Lemonade goes great with whiskey for a smooth, refreshing summer sip.
Cold Pressed Watermelon Juice + tequila: Head over to Trader Joe’s refrigerated juice section to find the brand’s Cold Pressed Watermelon Juice, with about a pound and a half of watermelon in each 12-ounce bottle. It’s balanced with a twinge of acid, thanks to the addition of lemon juice. I’d recommend throwing this in a paloma or margarita for an extra summery twist.
French Market Sparkling Berry Lemonade + champagne: I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s sparkling lemonades, and the berry variety seems like an especially good pairing for a bit of bubbly. As a carbonated beverage, the lemonade is bubbly in its own right, but the flavors are mellow enough to complement champagne without sending you into cavity-inducing overdrive.
Villa Italia Blood Orange Soda + gin: You can’t go wrong with Trader Joe’s Italian sodas, which feel very fancy with or without booze. And while I’m a fan of the brand’s Italian grapefruit soda, the blood orange variation has an especially pretty hue for aesthetically pleasing cocktails. It’s refreshing and fruity, with a tart sweetness that sends the soda into grown-up territory. Just add gin and a sprig of rosemary.
Brewed Ginger Beer + rum (or vodka): If you need a ginger beer for your Moscow Mule or Dark & Stormy, this is it. It has a deep, gingery bite, with a hint of citrus thanks to the addition of lemon and lime juices.
The best part about all of these Trader Joe’s drinks: They’re perfectly delicious on their own. Keep them on hand as a special treat for guests who don’t imbibe; that way, they’ll be able to enjoy something tasty without being shunned to the land of La Croix.