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Blended Whiskey

Review: TX Whiskey Canned Cocktails

Editor’s Note: These products were provided to us as review samples by Firestone & Robertson. 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.

Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co have been contributing to the growing category of Texas whiskey since their founding in 2010. F&R’s TX whiskey range caught judge’s attention when their Blended Whiskey took double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013, and demonstrated that they had consumer’s attention as well when they released their TX Straight Bourbon in 2017. They were acquired in 2019 by Pernod Ricard USA who continue to operate F&R’s Whiskey Ranch location on the site of a former Fort Worth country club.

The TX brand has recently expanded to include several canned cocktails featuring their Blended Whiskey, currently available exclusively in Texas. There are three distinct options, so I loaded up a full tray of ice to give them each a try.

TX Whiskey Canned Cocktails review

TX Whiskey Canned Cocktails (image via Firestone & Robertson Distilling)

TX Whiskey Cola

I’ve always felt that cola and whiskey complement one another well, and have enjoyed experimenting with different combinations beyond the well-worn Jack and Coke over the years. The perfect blend is elusive in part because the flavor profiles of American whiskey and cola are remarkably similar, both frequently featuring vanilla, citrus, and spice. This is what makes the TX canned Whiskey and Cola good but not great to my taste. The mix is smooth and balanced, making it somewhat difficult to tell where the cola ends and the whiskey begins.

This observation isn’t exactly a complaint though–the vanilla and nutmeg notes combine to create a pleasant flan/creme brûlée flavor that is easy drinking, especially at a relatively forgiving 7% ABV.

TX Whiskey and Sweet Tea

The strongest impression here is the sweetness of the mild, earthy black tea, which then opens up a little into fruitier citrus flavors. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so this didn’t really cater to my preferences, but the blend of tea and booze is very smooth and could definitely appeal to more dedicated fans of sweet tea. Toffee and vanilla notes are strong on the back end of the flavor but not particularly well-integrated with the citrus notes preceding them. 

TX Whiskey Ranch Water

On my first sip I wasn’t sure that the combo of crisp lime zest and vanilla/meringue were really doing it for me. On my second sip, I remembered feeling the same about my first taste of key lime pie. Then I had a few more sips while I rubbed on my phone for a couple minutes trying to figure out where I could get a key lime pie. This one grew on me as I went, but I still think the balance is more than a little off. I’m surprised to say that I would like to see the whiskey flavor toned down to make room for more assertive citrus acidity.

I could imagine the TX Whiskey Ranch Water being a sort of polarizing beverage, with some staunch enthusiasts and equally committed haters, with the difference coming down to your individual palate. I’m not sure if I entirely fall into either camp, but I’ll probably stick to the classic tequila Ranch Water in the future.

The Takeaway

These are three quite different cocktails, but the personality of the TX whiskey is discernible in the rich vanilla notes standing out in each of them. The issue is that, to my taste, this flavor profile doesn’t fit these drinks equally well. The Whiskey and Cola is my favorite of the bunch, but I still can’t see myself choosing it over the whiskey and cola combinations I’ve devised for myself through trial and error. In the other two drinks, the main notes of the whiskey seem like they’re in a different key than the rest of the drink. Though I could imagine someone else enjoying it, this pronounced vanilla character struck me as downright out of place against the bright acidity of the Ranch Water. 

As the pandemic grinds on there is a niche in the drinks market that seems to be expanding: products designed to bring cocktails out of the bar and into the home without requiring that the consumer know anything about mixing drinks themselves. TX Whiskey’s Director of Marketing, Steve Gordon, says as much in a statement prepared for the release of their canned cocktails: “We wanted to create a versatile product that allows TX Whiskey fans to savor our cocktails without the hassle of mixing a drink.” The TX products mostly avoid the common pitfall in this category of sacrificing flavor for ease of consumption, but they still don’t really measure up to a scratch-made cocktail.

TX offers a mostly acceptable alternative to studying basic mixology, especially if you aren’t interested in building up a home bar. But I would still advise those who are willing or interested that the value added to one’s drinking experience by picking up the fundamentals of mixing drinks is absolutely worth the hassle.

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