The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2015

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june 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  99 followed suit with an Italian Ice Margarita the day she was laid off from her teaching job. In that moment, she was liter- ally cradling her Next Big Idea between her two palms. As the founder of Bare Organic Mixers, Susi tapped into a glaring hole in the market for cocktail mixers that were natural, low-calorie and—gasp!—great tasting. Most exist- ing cocktail mixers at the time were chemical, sugar-laden and came in strange neon colors. "I originally called it SoCal LowCal; we rebranded so we could take the product national. SoCal LowCal seemed to pigeon hole the product to Southern California," she said. It was right around this time that named Susi one of the ten female entrepre- neurs in San Diego to watch. Bare Organic Mixers launched in 2012 and, much like Susi's original Italian ice recipe, features pronounceable ingredients—purified water, real lemon and lime juices and organic agave nectar. Flavors include: Margarita, Pomegranate Cranberry Cosmo and Lemon Drop. All three are organic, gluten-free and low-calorie (17 calories per ounce; all Bare Signature Cocktails are under 150 calories), perfect for the calorie-conscious female market that craves tasty cocktails without the guilt. So: How do they taste? "The first restaurant I ever sold to was Fat Fish, a Margarita bar in San Diego," Susi recalled. "This was my biggest account." When they were bought out, the new owner stopped using Bare on the gun because he wanted to continue using the basic sweet and sour mix he was serving at his other iconic San Diego restaurant, World Famous. His customers quickly picked up on the difference in quality and they started complaining about their Margaritas changing in flavor from the ones they had come to appreciate. He called Susi and asked to get Bare back on the gun within a week. "My customers' palates had become so sophisticated, so it was critical that I use quality ingredients in both my food and my cocktails in order to get my customers to return again and again," owner Dietrich May said. "Bare Mixers is a perfect example of how a quality mixer can showcase your cocktails and increase your sales. My Margarita sales have jumped roughly 30% as a result of using it." Now Bare Mixers is carried in both of the owner's restaurants. The San Diego–based brand is currently working on adding more flavors to its product line, considering exten- sion products and is working toward national distribution in places like Total Wine, where it is already being sold on the West Coast. "Bare Organic Mixers are bare of all of the junk," Susi said. "There are no hidden ingredients, and they can fit in the organic and natural space just as easily as the wine and spirits aisle." "The consumer complaint I hear most often about competi- tor products is that they are not palatable," Susi states. "Bare is so good you can drink it Bare. Your kids can even enjoy them! I don't know of any other mixer or skinny product on the shelf that you can say about." Learn more about Bare Organic Mixers at Bare Organic Mixers currently has three flavors in its line-up, and is working on expanding later this year. Bare Cosmo ◗ 3 oz. Bare Organic Mixers Pomegranate Cranberry Cosmo ◗ 1½ oz. vodka ◗ 1½ oz. soda water ◗ Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into large cocktail glass. Bare Margarita ◗ 3 oz. Bare Organic Mixers Margarita ◗ 1½ oz. tequila ◗ Shake Bare Organic Mixers Margarita and tequila together with ice and pour contents into a highball glass. Enjoy with friends.

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