January 23, 2018
Philly loves to party. Philly loves Wawa. I have married these two ideas, for better or worse.
The following recipes are variations of common cocktails — and in a couple cases, pure experimentation — using only Wawa brand bottled drinks and booze from various PhillyVoice staffers' liquor cabinets. The purpose: Utility. You can probably cook up at least one of these with whatever alcohol you have on hand at home and by spending $2.50 at your neighborhood Wawa.
Now, for the question most of you are likely asking at this point: Are they any good? I supposed that depends on your definition. If by good, do you mean they could pass at an upscale Center City speakeasy? Then, no. I wouldn't say Wawa's bottled drinks are bad, but most of them are so stuffed with sugar that after finishing one, you might get a headache.
Plus, I have zero bartending or mixing experience, and felt no need to consult someone who does. I loosely based most of these off of cocktails you've probably already heard of, but even in those instances, I swapped in different liquors and flavors for no apparent reason other than the supply of liquor available or because of a gut feeling. (Based on others' assessment of these recipes, I would say my gut is often wrong.)
But if, by good, you mean more tolerable ways to consume hard liquor that also play into the region's fetishism with Wawa, then yes, I would say I did a good job. Considering my lack of experience, I'm actually rather proud of the reactions from my co-workers who tried these cocktails, which ranged from "not terrible!" to "pretty terrible, but I'm not vomiting."
For each drink, we've listed the ingredients — one shot for each liquor — a brief description, and the results of our taste tests. I tested each drink in the order they’re presented, so my reviews may be a little impaired toward the end of the list. I also had a different co-worker test each drink, all of whom were at least sort of excited for an excuse to drink in the middle of the afternoon on a Monday.
Alright, enough about my process. On to the drinks:
• Fruit Flavored Schnapps
• Wawa Mango
• Wawa Valencia Orange Juice
Description: A variation of Sex on the Beach. Perfect for sippin' with that special someone before a night out down the shore.
Dan: A few too many fruit flavors in one drink for me. Alcohol is properly masked. It goes down easy, so there's that.
Mark: Smells like candy. First taste likes mango and finishes with an orange juice taste. Can hardly taste the alcohol in the drink but it would be very refreshing as a breakfast drink while on vacation. All together good.
• Wawa Orange Drink
Description: A mimosa, but with the artificial "orange" flavor of essentially Sunny D instead of orange juice. Wake up with these on New Year's Day before heading down Broad Street to strut your stuff.
Serve in: Plastic champagne flutes.
Dan: I'm a sucker for the orange drink, and I actually think I prefer this over a normal mimosa. OK, I'm lying, but the orange, uh, syrup and champagne blend surprisingly well. Could of used maybe a tad bit more champagne, however.
Sinead: I'm glad there's a lot of Champagne in this because the orange drink tastes a little like medicine. I feel like I've spiked my Emergen-C. But, if I was going out to drink all day for the Mummers, this might be easier on the stomach than drinking tons of OJ. I could see this as a desperate replacement when you just have to have a mimosa. I didn't hate it but I'm not making this my new signature cocktail.
• Coffee liqueur
• Wawa Double Mocha Chilled Cappuccino
• Wawa Chocolate Milk
Description: A very Delco variation of the White Russian. Have one of these on Sunday after the 10 a.m. mass but before the Eagles game.
Dan: Because there's barely any coffee flavor in the cappuccino, and because the chocolate liqueur was tequila, there's really not much of a coffee flavor at all. Now, if you like chocolate, it is *very* chocolatey. The tequila taste was a bit overpowering. Has a strange after taste. Also, I am starting to very much feel the alcohol.
Marielle: The flavor doesn't deviate too far from a typical kind of coffee-flavor cocktail you would find, but it's the texture that's the real downer here. It's very watery by comparison.
• Fruit Flavored Brandy
• Triple Sec
• Wawa Cranberry Juice
• Wawa Fruit Punch
Description: A variation of the Cosmopolitan. For your high society Main Line get together. Perfect pairing with suburban soccer mom gossip sessions.
Dan: The initial taste is pleasantly sweet. But once it hits the back of your throat, it really, really tastes like Robitussin. I mean, I actually can't believe how close it is to Robitussin. If you were having a Robitussin-themed party, this drink would be perfect. I haven't eaten anything all day and my stomach is starting to hurt.
John: It's not abso- well, it's terrible. The fruit punch is sweet, but it tastes a bit too much like a bad cough drop. There's a hint of liquor – not very strong. But the aftertaste is quite strong. And it's not a good one.
• Wawa Diet Green Tea
• Wawa Diet Lemonade
Description: For the person who doesn't actually participate in the Broad Street Run, but drinks, while watching from the sidewalk and wants to feel sort of healthy.
Dan: I really enjoyed this one. The limon's citrus flavor blends well with the lemonade, and with the diet drinks, you don't get that gross, sugar coating on your throat. It may have been better with plain rum. This is also my fourth drink, so maybe I'm just not tasting anything at this point. I don't know. I just don't know.
Rad: I don’t even know what to say. It leaves a lingering taste that almost seems medicine-related. It's not quite a bite – more of a continued after taste. I am also hungover from the NFC Championship game, so my taste buds are discombobulated. I think if it was regular rum and not limon, that might have made it a little more redeemable, but, in the words of Simon Cowell, it's a no for me.
• Wawa Apple Juice
Description: A shandy of sorts, Pennsylvania style. Good for bein' a crumb bum.
Dan: Upon first sip, this sort of just tastes like a watered-down Yuengling. But as I kept drinking, the juice and whiskey started to creep in. And it's pretty good! Not nearly as sugary as the other drinks, and the lager makes it smooth with just a tiny kick from the single shot of whiskey. Our photographer, Thom, just told me I might only be enjoying it because the alcohol is taking hold more and more, adding that I seemed "loose." Well, what the heck does he know? I'm fine. Yup, I'm good.
Bob: The Crumb Bum tastes like a handful of the whisky drinks I have had over the years, but the apple juice betrays it slightly, even while dulling the distinct alcohol taste. The lager seemed to float hazily beneath those two flavors, perhaps because it was all-too-familiar. This cocktail won’t replace my favorite (the bocce ball), but it’s not altogether disagreeable.
• Triple Sec
• Wawa Lemon Iced Tea
• Wawa Lemonade
• Splash of Coke
Description: A Long Island Iced Tea for Sea Isle City, or whatever shore town you prefer to visit. Sip one through a straw in an emptied-out soda can, nestled in a koozie next to your beach chair.
Dan: Traditional Long Island Iced Teas don't actually include any iced tea, and even in those, the obscene amount of liquor is concealed – that is, until you feel the effects. Same goes for the Jersey Shore Iced Tea, even moreso thanks to the tea and lemonade (and Coke — I know, I cheated a bit. But Wawa no longer offers its own line of sodas, and the cola felt necessary). But even though it goes back easy, just one gulp will hit you between the eyes almost immediately. Wow. I'm going to lie down now.
Jon: As I brought the glass to my lips, I could distinctly smell the tequila, but surprisingly, there wasn't a strong tequila taste. Actually, all the flavors blended nicely, the coconut from the Malibu, orange from the Triple Sec and the tea and lemonade. With a lot of ice, I could imagine drinking this while hanging out outside, maybe on a deck near some body of water. After a couple these, though, I'd have trouble walking straight.
Tried to make one of these at home or have a better Wawa cocktail recipe? Shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.