Adult juice box: Three words that together conjure thoughts of carefree on-the-go quaffing. Who doesn’t fondly remember simpler times, sipping on a Capri Sun Fruit Punch? The iconic stand-up juice pouch that revolutionized the school lunch bag was introduced in the U.S. in 1981. Like Juicy Juice juice boxes, Capri Sun came with its own pointy straw to allow a quick pop-and-sip thirst quenching action.
History Of Juice Boxes
These drinks exist thanks to aseptic packaging, the technical name for the process that allows beverage companies to process liquids to become shelf stable–both the package and the liquid are sterilized so that they won’t need refrigeration. Tetra Pak aseptic packaging exploded in the 1970’s, allowing huge expansion of creativity in the industry since it protects the contents within from exposure to oxygen, lengthening shelf life and easing shipping costs.
Beverage boxes and pouches provide a cheap, unbreakable, lightweight, cute and colorful, and often recyclable container that allows portability–all you need is your friends, your phones, and some adult juice boxes equipped with pointy straws, and you’re headed for a good time.
Unfortunately for the RTD (ready to drink) industry sector, aka the folks who bring you canned and bottled single serve beverages, the American consumer tends to be averse to untraditional packaging. Visit a grocery store in Europe and you’ll see multiple aisles lined with boxed (and unrefrigerated) dairy products and juices. Here in the U.S, pouches seem reserved for large format punches and ready-to-freeze concoctions. We love our boxed wine, but generally prefer it in bulk (except, perhaps, for an occasional Tetra Pak Bandit for camping, or smuggling into the movie theater). That shelf stable bag-in-a-box technology has become an option for large format RTD’s (the boring name for jumbo, party-sized cocktails in boxes, cans, and pouches) like Drake’s Organic Spirits Boxtails and BarBox, both of which offer distilled spirit-based cocktails in economical 1.75 liter dispensers–just grab a glass of ice and a paper umbrella.
The adorable Lucky Dog Sake in its cute juice box is a rare find stateside, but a common sight in Japan where individual servings of chilled sake are sold everywhere, including out of vending machines at train stations.
The Trouble With Juice Boxes
Other obstacles to the sector exist. In New Zealand, a popular brand of Australian juice-box cocktails were removed from store shelves in Fall 2022 because of concerns they might appeal to children. The tiny 250 ml. Boxtails have been discontinued and will only be available in bulk 2 liter dispensers going forward.
Back in the U.S., the Distilled Spirits Council recently saw fit to establish a code of responsible practice around what they call “crossover products,” strongly suggesting “the use of packaging and branding that is clearly and easily distinguishable from their non-alcohol beverage counterparts,” to prevent this sort of confusion, for parents, but also for those people who simply are looking for clear communication on their beverage boxes.
DIY Adult Juice Boxes
Luckily, if your pals want to imbibe on the run and are tired of the multitude of available cocktails in cans and bottles, TikTok and Instagram are just loaded with ways to make your own adult juice boxes. Techniques can involve anything from injecting a kid’s juice box with a hypodermic full of hooch, or the big 2021 trend of dumping a bottle of wine (the sweeter, fizzier, and cheaper the better) into a bag of supermarket frozen fruit (bring your own straws) for a giant headache-y pouch of “sangría”. Reusable or disposable drink pouches (with straws!) are widely available for purchase online–be sure to bookmark the ones that look like blood bags for next Halloween. No party could be considered complete without an IV bag full of clarified milk punch to suck on. And, when you run out of medical supplies, just poke a big hole in a box of juice and insert that airplane mini of your favorite spirit you’ve had knocking around. Smirnoff and apple juice anyone?
And if you’re looking for cocktail recipes designed to use in adult juice pouches, look no further than Trap Kitchen: The Art of Street Cocktails which features no less than half a dozen drinks to be served this way including the colorfully named Funk You Up, The LP, Wessside Story, and Mango Marathon.
While the book doesn’t tell you where to find the pouches, we were able to find the pouches on Amazon.
This article originally appeared on Alcohol Professor and was syndicated by MediaFeed.
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