“Our core inspiration definitely came from a very natural, very whole foods-emphasized upbringing,” Paterson says. The three shared a “hippie, Bohemian background and roots" in Pennsylvania, but later they spread out over the country — Paterson in Colorado, Hawk in Brooklyn and Remer in Vermont. Their paths would eventually bring them back together, as Hawk puts it, making a drink they really love in a sunny place together with best friends.
The trio originally launched Cowgirl Lemonade in 2015, selling a non-alcoholic traditional lemonade sweetened with maple syrup at Colorado farmers' markets and fests. It was a way to honor the strong females they had in their lives: Their mothers and grandmothers were dairy farmers, artists and homesteaders. The crew all share a love for the face-to-face interactions at the markets, where they got to see the joy sparked by their throwback lemonade.
After using Cowgirl Lemonade to mix cocktails at events and getting overwhelmingly positive feedback, the three realized that a spiked version could fill a missing gap they saw in the current canned cocktail market. "If there's anything better than fresh maple lemonade, it's spiked maple lemonade," Paterson says.
The recipe development for the drink happened in real time at events as the three got feedback on what worked and what people responded to. From the start, the priority was on simple ingredients. The classic lemonade is made with just lemon juice from Perricone Farms in California, maple syrup, cane sugar, vodka, lemon oil and sparkling water. Mad Lemon will also release a bright magenta-hued Raspberry Keylime variety made with the same ingredients along with raspberry and Key lime juice. Both 7 percent ABV cocktails are available in 12-ounce cans and are best enjoyed over ice.
“Everybody remembers fresh lemonade – not something out of a plastic jug in the grocery store,” Hawk says. The goal is to provide a clean drink with Vitamin C and no flavor additives for those who choose to indulge with alcohol.
“There’s got to be balance in all things in life,” says Paterson. The result is a not-too-sweet refreshing taste with a pleasing mouthfeel — "the best lemonade you ever had in a can with booze."
The owners opted for canning because of its sustainability factor, since it’s easy to recycle and is a durable way to ship. Plus, the cans work as the perfect canvas for the lively art that tells the Mad Lemon story, complete with vibrant colors and beautiful flowers. The engaging art, the women explain, is meant to provide consumers with a whole drinking experience, both visually and through the delicious flavor, for an intriguing and engaging result — just like the drink itself.
Mad Lemon will be available at Argonaut Wine & Liquor, Colorado Beverage Company, Mr. B’s, Wines off Wynkoop, and Champa Street Liquors starting October 8. For more information, visit drinkmadlemon.com.