In-Flight Drinking

Texas-born cocktail brand takes flight on Virgin America

Texas-born cocktail brand takes flight on Virgin America

Austin Cocktails
Austin Cocktails are available in four flavors: Vodkarita, Tea Twister, Paradise Found and Cucumber Vodka Mojito. The latter is now available on Virgin America flights. Photo courtesy of Austin Cocktails
Austin Cocktails founders Kelly Gasink and Jill Burns
Austin Cocktails founders Kelly Gasink and Jill Burns. Photo courtesy of Austin Cocktails
Austin Cocktails
Austin Cocktails are made with distilled vodka infused with fruits and herbs and sweetened with organic agave. Photo courtesy of Austin Cocktails
Virgin America
Enjoy an Austin Cocktails Cucumber Vodka Mojito on your next Virgin flight. Courtesy photo
Austin Cocktails
Austin Cocktails founders Kelly Gasink and Jill Burns
Austin Cocktails
Virgin America

A Texas-born cocktail brand is taking flight: Austin Cocktails, a line of bottled vodka-based concoctions, is now available on Virgin America. The airline, named the Best Domestic Airline for Food in the Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards, deemed Austin Cocktails’ Cucumber Vodka Mojito worthy of its passengers, who can kick back with the in-flight libation for $8.25.

But that’s only one of four flavors offered by the brand. Others include Vodkarita, Tea Twister and Paradise Found. All are made with vodka distilled five times, which is then infused with quality ingredients sourced from all over the world and sweetened with organic agave. The goal: shatter the stigma associated with the ready-to-drink category.

For anyone watching her girlish figure, this may be the most noteworthy: They all ring in at less than 100 calories a serving.

Virgin’s pick, the Cucumber Vodka Mojito, has a refreshing, lime-heavy flavor that gets better with subsequent sips. With its hint of cucumber, it reminds us of the cucumber-infused water you get at a spa, so we think it would make a fine spirit for a girls spa day or boozy bridal shower.

Vodkarita is exactly what it sounds like: a twist on a margarita made with vodka rather than tequila. We taste more of the orange than the lime, and it has a taste reminiscent of a flat orange soda.

Tea Twister has a very strong, sweet tea flavor, which Austin Cocktails attributes to the tea grown in the high-altitude volcanic soil of Kenya, which produces a naturally sweeter and bolder tea. Indeed. It also has a touch of natural lemon.

Our favorite is Paradise Found, a combination of vodka, coconut water, stone and citrus fruits, basil, and agave nectar. The basil makes it very fragrant, and although it’s fruit-forward, it’s not too sweet. We can imagine drinking it poolside or during a jaunt to the Hamptons.

Austin Cocktails is named for the city where it started. In December 2013, sisters and serial entrepreneurs Jill Peterson Burns and Kelly Gasink, who grew up in Dallas, launched their company in the hopes of making a craft cocktail as convenient as a glass of premium wine or craft beer.

The sisters lamented the fact that they, like most people, never had the ingredients available to make appealing and creative cocktails. Even when they did, the results weren’t balanced or consistent. Austin Cocktails are flavored by fruits and herbs — not overpowered by artificial sweeteners.

In October 2014, the bottled concoctions became available in Dallas, and you may have sipped on them at some of your favorite social events. Austin Cocktails are available at places such as PK’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Spec’s, Po-Go’s and Goody Goody. Suggested retail price is $14.99 per bottle.

Austin Cocktails has three new drinks scheduled for release in spring 2015 and will expand distribution to additional states next year.