As a girl born and bred below the Mason-Dixon Line, there aren’t many Southern attributes I’ll claim as points of pride — but there are a few I’ll cop to: being a connoisseur of porches, a less-than-healthy love of laziness and iced tea, and a well-honed taste for booze — especially when hidden in said tea. The trick of Southern decorum is, well, trickery, and the folks at Miami Cocktail Co. have got it down with their smartly packaged Old Time Sweet Tea — a "premium vodka" amber cocktail that sloshes around like bottled sunshine. Even the lettering is golden yellow and the logo encircling the drink name fans out lines like rays of sunlight drawing the eye to both the company name and the company’s all-caps bragging rights: ZERO additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors and, as the website claims, "no guilt," as if to say, "Look! It’s skinny in a bottle!" Even the bottle itself is narrow.
It tickles our vanity and charms us with the allure of authentic Southern front-porch relaxing, and by the time this "ready-to-serve" cocktail hits the palate, you’re beyond willing to ignore the overwhelming vodka taste and focus, instead, on the lemony, tea-like aftertaste. Served chilled over ice, as recommended, Old Time Sweet Tea drinks smoothly, even if it would taste better made with "real brewed tea" rather than its cousin, "natural extracts" of real brewed tea. But this is not to say the entire experience is disappointing: shake the bottle, let the tawny foam cap that forms like the real deal take you to an imagined simpler place and time where you can kick up your feet and enjoy the sunshine because, at 12.5 percent ABV — and the folks at Miami Cocktail Co. are committed to this "true pour percentage — by the second (or third) glass you may not care that your drink tastes a bit more like sweet lemon vodka infused with tea than the other way around.
After all, the true Southern experience is more about the whole package than any one part. And Miami Cocktail Co.’s package is a good sell all around.