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Last summer, I was at a bar and craving something fruity – but not a seltzer or a $20 cocktail. The bartender quickly suggested I try a “Smooj.” I didn’t want to hold up the growing line behind me, so I quickly agreed, not really knowing what I was getting myself into. When I walked away and got a moment to take a sip, I was blown away at the texture and taste of the drink I had just ordered. There was no way, I thought, that this could have come out of a can. Naturally, as an engineer, I needed to know more about how this wizardry was possible.
+ Made with real fruit
+ Unique flavor and texture
+ Allergy friendly! All flavors are gluten free, vegan, and dairy-free
+ Cheaper than a cocktail
+ Readily available online and in many stores around the country
We don't like
- Pricier than hard seltzers
- Drink is quite filling; probably not drinking more than 2 in a sitting
- Relatively high calories
When Seltzer Simply Won’t Cut It
Smooj is more than just a new booze brand – they’ve really invented a new category of alcohol. Born out of the pandemic seltzer boom, Smooj was the product of a Michigan-based brewery's desire to break out of the seltzer “mold” that every brewery seemed to be doing. Trying to do seltzers differently, the creative team came up with the idea of a hard smoothie and named it Smooj.
The idea of a hard smoothie might sound a little funky if you haven’t tried it. But don’t think healthy-green-machine-out-of-your-Vitamix – it’s not that. Turn your thoughts more towards daiquiris and piña coladas – tropical vibes. That’s not to say the ingredients aren’t good, though. In fact, I was quite impressed by the ingredients. In the Strawberry Banana, for example, the only ingredients are carbonated water, strawberry puree, banana puree, and alcohol. For an alcoholic bev, that is a pretty solid ingredient list that I can sip easy with. Beyond just having good ingredients, they’re only 5% ABV, vegan, dairy free, and gluten free.
Smooj Straight to my Step
The brand currently has three flavors: Piña Colada, Tropical Trip, and Strawberry Banana. The drinks run $5/can if you order a 12 pack or $4.75/can for a 24 pack. Right now, the smoothies are available direct-to-consumer from their website or in many stores around the country. Given the fact we’re big fans of the DTC model, I got the Sampler Pack ($60) sent straight to me so I could try ‘em all. I wondered if they were that good in a bar… how good would they taste at home in my comfies on my couch or by the pool?
When the package arrived on my porch, it was smack dab in the middle of the workday. So, the best I could do was tear it open and admire the cute packaging. A fun fact about the Smooj cans is that they intentionally ship and store them upside-down so that the carbonation/foam is just right when you open them! I was eager to crack one open later in the evening.
Fruity Fun Flavors
Before sitting down to try one, I did a little research on how these should be served. First, as you might expect, Smooj is best served cold. That being said, it is shelf-stable at room temperature, so if you want to crack one open immediately upon its arrival, you certainly can. Smooj is also best stored upside-down so that the carbonation and foam “set” right when you end up enjoying it. It’s also important to not shake the cans, as they are carbonated.
It seemed to me like a 50-50 split as to whether people drink it right out of the can or if they poured it into a glass. I decided to try both ways. While both are good, pouring it out into a glass really highlights the foaminess. It’s the strangest and most fun thing – the foaminess seemingly never ends. You’ll be getting towards the end of your glass, then the foam keeps coming… and coming. And it’s not gross foam either. It’s foam you’ll actually want to enjoy because it’s thick, creamy, and flavorful.
As I said, I did try all three flavors. While all are very fun, I have to say, the clear winner for me is the Piña Colada. (For what it’s worth, I typically wouldn’t even put myself in the camp of being a huge fan of piña coladas.) The flavor is so obviously chock-full of good stuff, like real pineapple and coconut, that you’ll find yourself guzzling down the whole can.
The other flavors are also good! The Strawberry Banana is definitely closer to a traditional smoothie rather than cocktail in flavor, so if that’s your jam, you’ve now met your match. The Tropical Trip is described by Smooj’s website as “an island vacation in a can,” and frankly, I don’t have better words than that for it. The flavors are a good intensity of passionfruit, mango, guava, and pineapple that really does give you that beachy feeling.
The consistency is something I worried about when I first tried it. As you might expect, it’s thicker than most drinks. However, it really is a good level of thickness. If you remember the Danimals smoothies from the 90’s, the consistency is pretty similar. It’s smooth, maybe a little thicker, but not slow to drink or something you’d need a spoon for by any means.
A Real Smooj Operator
Friends, we’re calling it now: Smooj’s creation of a new category is about to catch fire. These beverages are worth a try, especially with summer really heating up. Not only will you be drinking better-for-you stuff, but you’ll also be the one to thank when you introduce your friends about these delish concoctions. If you need me at any point this summer, chances are I’ll be catching some rays by the pool, Smooj in hand.