Editor’s Note: This product was provided to us as a review sample by Brown-Forman. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
My first pre-made cocktail was a “Tequila ‘Rita BuzzBall,” in college. This singular experience should have turned me off the idea forever. Fortunately, time dulls all wounds and more and more pre-made cocktails are entering the market. The ability to skip the mixers, shakers, and accent liquors for something that is simply “pour-and-enjoy” is tantalizing. In response, and adding to the growing market for pre-made cocktails, Brown-Forman is now introducing, ’Up or Over’ Fine & Classic Cocktails.
Brown-Forman has already released numerous ready-to-drink cocktails, but brand leader Kelley Kerger distinguished the ‘Up or Over’ collection in a press release: “the product line was created for classic cocktail drinkers looking for high quality offerings that are conveniently ready to pour. Up or Over products provide the perfect way to enjoy iconic cocktails in the comfort of your own home… we are excited to elevate your everyday occasion with these four premium cocktails.”
Brown-Forman’s ‘Up or Over’ lineup is four cocktails: Ford’s Gin Classic Dry Martini, Herradura Tequila Premium Margarita, Old Forester Ginger Citrus Old Fashioned, and Gentleman Jack Tennessee Whiskey Sour. MSRP is $14.99 in the selected markets of Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington. I reviewed the Gentleman Jack Tennessee Whiskey Sour.
Tasting Notes: A standard whiskey sour combines bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg whites. You dry shake the ingredients until frothy, add ice and shake again before straining into a coupe or rocks glass with garnish. Here, the instructions on the back label are for you to directly serve this cocktail over ice with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a cocktail cherry.
The instructions are simple, and the drink is ready to pour. The smell is good, sour notes of fresh lemon and a hint of whiskey. The taste and mouthfeel, for me, is where this drink is lacking. The mouthfeel is thin and watered down, the taste is inoffensive but is also nothing of note. I should taste whiskey–after all, Gentleman Jack has a distinct profile–but unfortunately nothing comes through with this drink. It’s balanced and not at all chemically like other read-to-serve drinks, but where you expect vanilla, oak, and wisps of smoke you get the fresh lemon juice and hints of sugar from the mixer.
Final Thoughts: This cocktail is only 15% ABV and suffers by being diluted from melting ice. For me, the main thing holding this cocktail back is the alcohol content. After ice this is simply too watered down to find much flavor. I wouldn’t send this back if I received it at a bar, but I wouldn’t order another. To me this is on par with a Keurig cup of coffee. It’s okay in a pinch, but won’t replace the real deal.
I see value with this product at parties, providing novelty and variety to a gathering without having to play bartender. If you know someone who doesn’t really care for cocktails but loves to entertain this might be up their alley. If you enjoy cocktails, I don’t think this provides a satisfying beverage.
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Charles Steele is a Portland area attorney, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. His legal education affords him an analytical approach to understanding whiskey and other aged spirits. Traditionally a legal writer, freelancing for The Whiskey Wash will prove a unique opportunity to flex his writing skills. Although he...