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Top Shelf Premium Cocktail Mixers (and a Giveaway!)

Let me first start off saying that there are some parts of my “job” as a blogger that are just down right difficult to do and the perfect examples are yesterday’s gluten free beer showdown and today’s review of Top Shelf Ultra Premium Cocktail Mixers.  Sometimes, ya just gotta take one (or two) for the team!

When my pal Gluten Free Dee called and asked if she could send me a few gluten free products to review, I was hesitant because I really don’t do prepackaged food reviews anymore (mostly due to our additional dietary restrictions, but also because I’ve become a passionate advocate for whole foods), but Dee is a very dear friend of mine so I was willing to make an exception, as long as it was okay to offer the opinions of friends and family if the products contained ingredients we can’t have (corn for me, eggs for Luke and dairy for all of us).

Imagine my surprise when I found out that a couple of the products were not only gluten-free, but corn-free too, including the Top Shelf Premium Cocktail Mixers I’m reviewing today (seriously, that’s akin to hitting the Powerball Jackpot for someone with a corn allergy!).  While I don’t drink very often (alcohol can be very damaging to the gut and I’m still trying to heal mine), this gluten free girl does enjoy letting her hair down every once in a while! 😉

And if the corn-free status weren’t good enough news, I then found out that the CEO of Top Shelf Brands is a fellow celiac, woo-hoo!!  Well, I’m not woo-hooing the fact that he has celiac per se, but I do feel a lot safer consuming products from companies led by someone who shares the same health concerns that I do.  The gluten free community is one protective group and we definitely look out for each other.

Check out this email I received from Craig (bold emphasis and links added):

As a diagnosed Celiac since 1997 and CEO of our start-up spirits/beverage company, I have enforced everything about Top Shelf Cocktail Mixers’ ingredients, storage and manufacturing practices to be carefully observed and guarded to remain Gluten-Free.  It’s been a dream of mine to be part of a Gluten-Free brand so I take this very personal.

Our cocktail mixers have been carefully balanced to deliver a crisp, clean, vibrant taste using all Gluten-Free ingredients and are now made in a 100% Gluten-Free manufacturing facility in Colorado.  We use fruit, vegetables and pure cane sugar and you just have to add the alcohol.  They are lower in sugar, calories and acidity in comparison to most other cocktail mixers, which allows for making better tasting cocktails without overpowering the spirits.  Each (750 ml) bottle serves about eight (8) cocktails and they are all non-alcoholic: Apple Martini, Pomegranate Martini, Margarita, Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Lemon Drop and Jalapeno Bloody Mary.

My journey as a Celiac wasn’t easy.  As a growing young teenager I suddenly suffered classic digestive symptoms, which did not go away. I was an active athlete and social teenager, I thought I should hide the pain, but after a while complained about it.  After about a year of hardship, sweat and tears, I went to a doctor and explained that these issues were ruining my life and he recommended a local GI specialist to treat me. Dr. Dadhania (New Jersey GI specialist) comforted me and promised that we would find out what’s wrong through various blood work, upper/lower GI series, endoscopies, colonoscopies and more.  I was lucky in a few months to be diagnosed via classic Celiac Disease test results and was on my way to recovery though a Gluten-Free diet. It wasn’t easy to learn how to eat Gluten-Free, but I’m so blessed to have been given a food education.  I have met so many great people through our vast community and see that the 100% Gluten-Free movement has grown.  My only hope is that people continue to recognize contamination issues and learn more about it.

The wonderful Gluten-Free community may recognize me as GlutenFreeG.  I regularly message on Twitter @GlutenFreeG and conduct product reviews at  My goal has been and always will be to educate and connect people on living and eating Gluten-Free, smarter!  My efforts to push the Gluten-Free movement forward continue because the owner of Top Shelf Brands also recognizes the need to offer 100% Gluten-Free products and my passion and talent in Marketing, Sales and Operations.

Top Shelf Brands also make a vodka distilled 5x from lush California grapes, but currently is only distributed in Colorado for the time being. The Tasting Panel Magazine awarded our vodka a 94-point rating which compares well to the “top shelf” vodkas in the market, but we are proud Gluten-Free through AIB testing! Since vodka cannot be purchased online you’ll need to travel to Colorado to try it!

Best Regards,
-Craig Franzblau

Craig sent me a few complimentary cocktail mixers to sample and review, the Margarita, Pomegranate Martini and the Lemon Drop and all are gluten-free, corn-free and synthetic dye-free!  That’s right, you will not find a single drop of anything “corny” in any of these cocktail mixers, just the pure juice from real fruits and vegetables (not from concentrate), plus cane sugar and a couple preservatives.

Just for kicks, here is an ingredient comparison between Top Shelf’s Margarita Mix and Jose Cuervo’s Classic “Lime” Margarita Mix:

Top Shelf: Purified Water, Cane Sugar, Lime Juice, Orange Juice, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (to protect flavor and color).

Jose Cuervo: Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate (to preserve flavor), Cellulose Gum, SAIB, Polysorbate 60, and FD&C Yellow 5.

Basically, Jose Cuervo is artificial citrus flavored corn, not a single drop of real citrus juice.  Kinda gross if you really think about it.

Another thing I like about the Top Shelf Premium Cocktail Mixers is that they come in a gorgeous heavy frosted glass bottle…no schleppy plastic.  Classy mixer, classy presentation…all for only $6.99 a bottle with free shipping.  These would make a great gift…in fact, I think I will gift some to myself! 😀

Alright, alright, I’m getting to the really important part…taste.  And for that, I will have to share the comments from a few of my friends anyway (my taste buds still aren’t 100% since my sinus surgery).  Everyone absolutely loved the margarita and lemon drop.  Well, the tiny little taste they were able to try of the margarita anyway…I may have gotten a little carried away the afternoon I was taking the pictures for this review.  Let me tell you, those babies were smoooooth.  I will also throw out there that a little margarita makes household chores a lot more fun. 😉

I thought the Pomegranate Martini was good too but my samplers thought it was overly sweet and lacking in pomegranate flavor.  My friend Shirley from Gluten Free Easily said it tasted more like fruit punch in her review (my mother-in law agreed)…but either which way, I think it goes very well with my vodka of choice, Ciroc which is made from grapes, not grain (in case you’re curious, the coating on the rim of the glass below is India Tree’s All Natural Raspberry Red Decorating Sugar).

So guess what?  Craig has offered to give TWO of my readers the same free trio of cocktail mixers that he sent to me (sorry, alcohol not included).

**This giveaway is now closed**

To enter this giveaway for a FREE bottle of Lemon Drop, Margarita and Pomegranate Martini Premium Cocktail Mixers from Top Shelf Brands, simply leave a comment telling me:

What is your favorite cocktail?

Bonus Entry Opportunities (strictly optional, just be sure to leave a separate comment for each completed task so I can make sure you get proper credit):

  • Share the link to this giveaway on Twitter (please include @adventuresgfmom in your tweet so I know you did this)

I will announce the TWO winners on Monday, July 11, 2011…Good Luck!

And with that, I leave you with a very funny Bill Cosby clip on drinking…Happy Friday! 😀


  1. My favorite cocktail is a caipirinha. So delicious and refreshing!

  2. ‘Liked’ Top Shelf Premium Cocktail Mixers on Facebook

  3. My favorite cocktail is a Mojito!

  4. I ‘Like’ Top Shelf Premium Cocktail Mixers on Facebook

  5. I love making frozen drinks in the summer out of whatever fresh fruit I have in the house blended with ice and some citrus that I run through the juicer. So refreshing and very tasty 🙂

  6. I "like"d Top Shelf Premium Mixers on FB.

  7. Not sure if the tag worked but I did share this giveaway on FB…

  8. Christine says

    My favorite cocktail was a Strawberry Daiquiri. I used to get the frozen daiquiri mixes and make them that way, but now I don't trust any of the mixers due to my corn allergy. It would be great to be able to have something I could safely drink again (I'm not fond of wine or beer).

  9. Christine says

    I "liked" Top Shelf Premium Cocktail Mixers on Facebook

  10. Michelle Olejar says

    By far after beer my favorite is a margarita and I will be buying some of these mixers :). I also liked Top Shelf on FB, and posted a shared link of your post. I am not up on twitter yet.

    OK…so I never win anything. I am hoping this one is my lucky day 😉

  11. AAAhhh! I love you! How wonderful that you've stumbled upon these mixers…Fridays could always use thoughtful cocktails. If I were to choose one cocktail, it would be an Espresso Martini. I'll get my java in anyway I can, even if it means "taking one for the team."


  12. Followed @TopShelfBrands on Twitter.

  13. "Liked" on Facebook,

  14. Shared on Facebook,

  15. Followed on Twitter,

  16. and shared on Twitter….whew, what a workout! I'm thinking about upping the time on our cocktail party…Cheers!

  17. I'm a margarita girl, who recently became a fan of lemon drop martinis.

  18. Ooh, a margarita really makes the chore's go by faster! I love margarita's.

  19. Favorite cocktail is a Rum Runner, but I'm willing to try any new cocktail with any fun flavors!

  20. I liked Top Shelf Premium Cocktail Mixers on Facebook as well. Maybe they will give some "fun" weekend party drink ideas!

  21. When I lived in Mexico City my favorite drink used to be a michelada (lime juice, Worcestershire, ice, beer). But now it is red wine.

  22. Oooh, YUM! I happen to be a Margarita on the Rocks WITH salt kind of girl. Haven't had one since going corn free! Looks delish!

  23. Mine is Margarita! Oh I miss them, but I guess not anymore! I so want to win this.

  24. My favorite cocktail has to be the margarita on the rocks.

  25. I liked Top Shelf on FB

  26. I shared the page on FB but don't know how to tag it, I am technology dumb!

  27. Denise Fedor says

    my fav cocktail is a bloody mary. But anything tasty wet and cold w/o corn would be Wonderfull

  28. Favorite cocktail is a chocolate martini! But lately I've been making margaritas with fresh lime juice and agave syrup and that is a close second. Would be very curious to see how the top shelf compares!

  29. I like Top Shelf on Facebook

  30. I follow Top Shelf on Twitter

  31. Lisa Vance says

    My favorite cocktail is a top-shelf margarita.

  32. Lisa Vance says

    I like Top Shelf Premium Cocktail Mixers on facebook as lisa.s.vance

  33. Lisa Vance says

    I follow TopShelfBrands on twitter as @LisaSVance

  34. Lisa Vance says

    I follow on twitter and tweeted!/LisaSVance/status/893500418

  35. I think my favorite is the Margarita, but my son made me a drink the other day that was really good. It might be something like a sunset? It was pretty orange on the top and deeper pinkish/purple on the bottom.

  36. I followed on Twitter.

  37. And on Facebook. 🙂

  38. Rochelle says

    I love my rum, specifically Sailor Jerrys but I love any kind of frozen concoction during the summer time!

  39. I love a tasty margarita!

  40. I 'like' Top Shelf on facebook

  41. I shared this article on facebook

  42. Shared the link on Facebook as AmyBeth Thomas

  43. Sheila H says

    I love a good Martini – fruit or Dirty. Can't go wrong!

  44. Shared the link on Twitter from @lie_2me.

  45. Shannon J. says

    I have three favorite cocktails although my drinking times are very few and far between. But if I MUST partake, I like: Kaluha and milk, Jack Daniels and Coke, or a drink my family calls Ubbi Dubbi (Southern Comfort mixed with any type of mixed Crystal Light drink.) Those last ones will sure sneak up on ya!

  46. I love the Pomegranate Martini, but I also love the Marganta )frozen)

  47. My favorite cocktail would have to be a Strawberry Daiquiri.

  48. Shannon J. says

    Liked Top Shelf on FB

  49. MamaKate says

    my fave cocktail was a bloody cesar, but…it has barley in it and I have yet to find a decent replacement! And as a mother to a 4.5 year old and TWO year old, I could sure use a new fave 😉

  50. My favorite cocktail is a Creamsicle Martini.

  51. Liked Top Shelf on FB

  52. Followed Top Shelf on Twitter,

  53. I'm known for my bloody mary obsession!! 🙂

  54. Lemon Drop!! Yummers!!

  55. "Liked" Top Shelf on FB. Love that it is run by a celiac. It really does make you feel more comfortable with a product, knowing that cross-contamination is unlikely.

  56. Following Top Shelf on Twitter via Geniveves Garden. Yay! Thanks so much for the awesome opportunity!

  57. Shared giveway link on FB and tagged you.

  58. Wow, babe, you do have a rough job! If you need any help on your next job I'll come right over and help you out. 🙂 My favorite cocktail is definitely the margarita! Great review, by the way. No more Jose here!

  59. I have yet to meet a cocktail I didn't like. Though I rarely drink, I think a mango margarita is my fav of the cocktails I've tried.

  60. Following Top Shelf on Twitter

  61. Liked Top Shelf on Facebook

  62. Lemon drop sound wonderful….

  63. Amaretto-anything is my favorite drink!

  64. Liked Top Shelf on FB! I look like a wine-o!

  65. Shared on FB!

  66. My favorite cocktail has to be a lemongrass margarita my friend makes. But a plain one is just fine too.

  67. My favorite cocktail is a French Kiss Martini, but I also love a cold margarita! Thanks!!

  68. Amanda Schmidt says

    My favorite cocktail is a margarita for sure! 🙂

  69. Stephanie says

    Oh, lemon drop! Yum!

  70. Stephanie says

    Liked on Facebook!

  71. My favorite cocktail is a margarita!

    Thank you!!

  72. Fave cocktail is a pomegranate martini!

  73. Shared giveaway on Twitter.

  74. Alicia Olivares says

    “Liked” on Facebook

  75. Alicia Olivares says

    My favorite cocktail is a margarita for sure!

  76. My favorite cocktail is a dirty vodka martini, but I also love a fresh lime margarita!

  77. I like top shelf margarita on FB.

  78. Shared link to giveaway on FB.

  79. I love margaritas and mojitos, please don't make me choose just one! They are both so refreshing in the summer 🙂

  80. this isn't really a cocktail, but I like kahlua and soda, very refreshing.