I love a mixed drink. When I go out, I gravitate toward beverages with tequila, since it's my personal favorite spirit. So when I found out that actor Blake Lively founded Betty Buzz — a line of nonalcoholic mixers designed to be sipped either solo or with a spirit — I was both eager to try them and surprised, since Lively doesn't drink.
Turns out, that was part of why she founded the brand: "Over the past many years of mixing but not drinking cocktails, it became clear mixers are the unsung heroes of the drink world and deserve just as much love as alcohol," Lively said in a press release announcing the launch of the brand. "Why should alcohol get all the fun?"
The September 2021 launch of the brand came after a year and a half of the COVID pandemic, during which many people found themselves drinking more alcohol and contemplating going dry — whether for a month or for good. If you're not one to mix up a fancy mocktail but still want a beverage to replace the bubbly kick and ritual of an alcoholic drink, something like Betty Buzz could certainly fit the bill — while also making itself useful when you do want to imbibe.
The mixers come in five standard flavors that you'll find behind most bars — Sparkling Grapefruit, Tonic Water, Ginger Beer, Sparkling Lemon Lime, and Meyer Lemon Club Soda (all $30 for a 12 pack) — but they also claim a simpler ingredient list. Each of the Betty Buzz bottles is made with real juice and no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors, per the brand's website. For example, the ginger beer is made with just four ingredients: carbonated water, real ginger juice, cane sugar, and citric acid. And the grapefruit soda contains just carbonated water, grapefruit juice, and agave syrup. They come in nine-ounce bottles, which is about enough to make two drinks, according to the brand.
The brand sent me the Collection Pack ($40), which has one of each flavor. I decided to grab a bottle of tequila to put each flavor to the test. Could a celeb-approved mixer really level up a basic well drink? And could they really satisfy a cocktail craving all on their own? I sampled each flavor both with a shot of tequila and then without alcohol, chilled — here's how it went.
Sparkling Grapefruit: With alcohol, this made a perfect (and easy) Paloma, a classic Mexican cocktail made with tequila, grapefruit soda, and lime. This one was just as good without alcohol, and not too sweet (though, yes, I preferred it with the tequila).
Tonic Water: Paired with tequila, this made for a delicious and simple cocktail, though I would add a squeeze of lime next time. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of drinking plain tonic water and that was the case with this on its own as well.
Ginger Beer: This refreshing ginger beer packs a nice kick, and with tequila, felt like a fun take on a Moscow Mule (which is usually made with vodka). Again, this would benefit from a squeeze of lime. The spiciness of the ginger balances out the sweetness of the cane sugar, so this one tasted great on its own as well.
Sparkling Lemon Lime: Think of this flavor as less like a lemon-lime soda and more like a lemon-lime-flavored seltzer. With a shot of tequila, it tasted like a less-boring tequila soda. And it tasted so good on its own, I actually preferred this blend without the tequila.
Meyer Lemon Club Soda: The light lemon flavor made this taste just like a tequila soda, but made with a squeeze of lemon instead of lime. Without tequila, this one was a bit tart for my taste buds. That said, It could make a nice mocktail with a drizzle of agave.
Personally, Betty Buzz's Ginger Beer and Tonic Water mixers are going on my "remember to order" list, but there's something for everyone to enjoy here, with or without alcohol. Buy them on the Betty Buzz website or at a retailer near you.