Picadas was founded in Monterrey, Mexico in 2021 by Hugo Martinez, a local who like everyone in Mexico grew up enjoying homemade aguas frescas with his family. Martinez was pursuing an MBA at Stanford when he became captivated by the ready-to-drink cocktail craze.
“The popularity of hard seltzers was skyrocketing, but I quickly realized that they didn’t have the same flavors I was used to,” said Hugo Martinez, founder of Picadas. “I craved the agua fresca flavors I grew up with – limonada, guava, and mango that none of the American ready-to-drink options really captured. I realized there was a gap in the market that only a Mexican-made hard agua fresca could fill, because Mexicans never sacrifice flavor. The idea for Picadas was born.”
The brand’s creative name comes from the term “con piquete,” colloquial Mexican slang meaning “spiked” or “with alcohol.” Hence, aguas frescas with “piquete” would then be called aguas “Picadas” and while it is not a term often used, Martinez hopes that soon “aguas picadas” will be commonly used in the U.S. when referencing hard agua frescas.
Following graduation, Martinez returned to his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico and got to work brewing his first batch using a recipe he learned from his grandmother. Picadas combines real fruit juice with alcohol from cane sugar to create a hard agua fresca that embodies the bold, authentic flavors of Mexico.
Martinez spent several weeks recreating the recipe with different Mexican fruits, fruit juices, and types of alcohol. He shared his creations with friends and family, tweaking his ingredients, and methods to incorporate their feedback and indulge their taste buds. The overwhelming response was “más sabor” and “escarcharlo,” more flavor, and a spicy chile rim to create contrast and depth. In November of 2021, Martinez began selling Picadas at mercados and local farmers markets in Monterrey. As the drink gained popularity and word of it began to spread around the country, Martinez formed strategic partnerships that got Picadas into stores like Vinoteca, H-E-B, Soriana, Chedraui, and other Mexican chains. Now, Martinez has partnered with Austin-based Redbud Brands to expand Picadas to its first US market, Texas.
Picadas is available in three flavors, limonada, mango, and guava and all are made with a base of real fruit juice (unlike hard seltzers, which use a base of water). Martinez insisted on using tart key limes for the limonada because “that’s how Mexican limonadas are prepared”, sweet yellow mangos “because those are the mangos we eat in Mexico and floral Mexican guavas to set Picadas apart in the RTD category.
Picadas blends its juice in small batches, allowing it to retain a bold, fruit-forward flavor, with no need for artificial additives. The mixture is then sweetened with agave, and cane sugar alcohol is added to make it “piquete.” Every 12-ounce can contains 130 calories and 4.5% alc/vol. Each can is accompanied by an individually-portioned packet of spicy chili salt to place on the rim and enjoy with each sip. Six-packs retail for $10.99 at H-E-B grocery stores throughout the Lone Star State.
GSN’s Remarks: You’d be hard pressed to craft a better or less expensive version at home. The lime Picadas is tart, refreshing and not overly sweet. The guava Picadas is smooth, fresh tasting and adds an lazy island sensibility. The mango Picadas is more subtle and has a somewhat dry, yet sweet character. The chili-lime salt packets add a great deal to the experience with a warming, pleasant heat and bright tartness with each sip. Of the three drinks, our clear favorite is the guava, with the lime following and the mango in the final position. We hope these catch on across the country, as they are a welcome addition to the RTD market. GSN Ratings: Lime A-, Guava A+, Mango B
For more information go to: Drink Picadas