What sounds like the name of a pair of bumbling, ineffectual British TV detectives is actually a new project by two of the most creative, beautiful women I know — Muddle & Wilde, organic drink mixes “handcrafted in small batches.”
Rereading the grammatical structure of that previous sentence, I realized it could be interpreted that my two friends are named Muddle & Wilde. They are not. They are Moira and Laura, two mothers at the elementary school where my daughters go — and are friends with their daughters. And we are friends with Moira and Laura, and so were impressed and excited when we heard about their venture.
We were even more impressed and excited when we tasted the mixes.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably had friends who were home hobbyist brewers or vintner. And when you tried their beer or wine, you put on a brave face and offered up an earnest, “Not bad!” or “You made that!”
There was no need for such faint praises in the case of Muddle & Wilde. The girls had done a thing truly exceptional. Their strategy was to craft something so simple that all the at-home drinker would have to do is follow the few simple instructions on the bottle — i.e. “add two ounces your favorite spirit and some sparkling water” — to become a home mixologist. Indeed honoring the fact that bartenders were now called “mixologists” and leaving behind daiquiris and Long Island iced teas in favor of personal, chef-inspired cocktails, they went for unique combinations like Lemon-Sweet Woodruff, Sumac-Chili-Lime and Orange-Star Anise. And the flavors all work — really well.
We experimented with several them over a recent ski weekend in Mammoth. My favorite was the Sumac-Lime-Chili, which Moira served me with tequila and fresh lime slices. As good as it was, I imagined it would be even better with mezcal. So back at home, I pinged my pal Mike of Del Maguey mezcal and invited him over for a taste.
Mike liked the drink and loved the concept of the ready-made craft cocktail, and agreed that mezcal — his mezcal, of course — was likely the very best spirit to pair with the mixes. Although I did find that many of the softer lemon-based mixes worked especially well with vodka. Moira mentioned an impending still-in-the-lab grapefruit-based mix that we were both looking forward to trying with Del Maguey’s broadly available entry-level label, Vida.
Anyone who has ever tasted a bad margarita mix will attest to the need for this product. And for many people, for whom trying to figure out ingredients and portions for a proper cocktail is an exercise in frustration, this need is multiplied.
Muddle & Wilde drink mixes are currently available at a variety of Southern California farmer’s markets, where you can meet the girls and be charmed in person. Or you can visit their website: muddleandwilde.com