Review: Flyers Is the First Great CBD Canned Cocktail
Hello, Dry January: This new line of sparkling, booze-free cannabis drinks is crafted with the care of an award-winning mixologist
What we’re drinking: Tokyo Marg and Bkln Gold, two cannabis cocktails from Flyers
Where it’s from: Just launched, Flyers Cocktail Co. is a New York-based beverage brand that was founded by “three thrill-seeking Aussies” and award-winning mixologist Ivy Mix (Leyenda). The initial products are alcohol-free sparkling cannabis cocktails with full-spectrum CBD distillates.
Why we’re drinking these: It’s Dry January, to start. But we were also curious about the growing market for cannabis cocktails; over 50 percent of retailers who responded to a recent Drizly survey felt that CBD- and cannabis-infused products would be the biggest growth category in 2022.
“We thought there was a space in non-alcoholic beverages,” Craig (Lewie) Lewis, Flyers’ CEO & Co-Founder, tells us. “There are people looking for healthier options who want sophisticated adult flavors and want to get into a desired mood. So we were looking to associate this with how you’d feel after a glass of wine.” (THC-based drinks from the brand are potentially forthcoming).
As for full spectrum: “A lot of drinks use CBD, but we wanted ours to have what they call an entourage effect,” adds Miles McKirdy Flyers’ CMO & Co-Founder (basically, there’s an idea that full-spectrum CBD works synergistically and better than just a CBD isolate; side note, there is less than 03.% THC in Flyers drinks). “Plus, it had to taste bloody awesome.”
And that’s where Ivy Mix comes in. Since the drinks here are designed to somewhat mimic cocktails — very loosely, these are non-booze takes on margaritas, Old Fashioneds and Italian spritzes — the idea was not to just create a hard seltzer variation with CBD. And, most importantly, not ignore what the buzzy ingredient brings to the table.
“People think, ‘oh, it must be skunky,’ but it’s not like the CBD tastes like a bag of pot,” says Mix. “It’s a little bitter, acidic and metallic. I thought, how do we use those flavors? For example, with the margarita, we found that yuzu was a great breakthrough, because it has a bit of bitterness and metallic flavor. And in the BKLN Gold, the CBD mimics the tannins of the barrel.”
How they taste: We tried two of three current flavors offered by Flyers (we didn’t try the Spritz).
The BKLN Gold is a standout. For a “whiskey” drink, it’s light and bright (also, just 60 calories). Mix compared it to a Jack and Coke and/or an Old Fashioned with lots of bitters … and it definitely falls somewhere between those two standards. There’s a lot of vanilla here, while the CBD does add “oak” and a bit of bitterness (while also being slightly fizzy). And unlike a J&C, I was calm and relaxed several hours later (it even made a Zoom meeting fun).
The Tokyo Marg incorporates the tang of Japanese Yuzu into its mix, which is citrus-y (a bit orange, a bit lemon, depending on the sip) with a very tiny hint of chili on the backend. Not too tart, this one is extremely easy to sip.
Note: Both were fine cold in cans but better (and more cocktail-like) poured over ice.
Interesting fact: Flyers donates a portion of its revenue to support The Last Prisoner Project (LPP), a non-profit organization dedicated to cannabis criminal justice reform.
Where to buy: Available in six states for direct order, a six-pack with free shipping is about $38.
The Secret to Great Cocktails? Find Out in The Spill.
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