I tried Travis Scott's new hard seltzer, and I'm not sure it lives up to the hype

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  • CACTI is a hard seltzer infused with 100% premium blue agave from Mexico.
  • The drink, a product of rapper Travis Scott and Anheuser-Busch, debuted on March 15.
  • The drink is decent; I particularly liked the pineapple flavor and the product’s overall packaging.

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Scott — along with Anheuser-Busch — debuted his new drink CACTI on March 15. CACTI Agave Spiked Seltzer comes in three flavors and the brand prides itself on using “100% premium blue agave from Mexico.” The drink is an infant compared to hard seltzer giants like Truly and White Claw, yet it’s already made its mark.

When a Grammys ad spot for the drink featuring comedian Eric Andre aired before its debut, DRINKCACTI’s website sold out of its online inventory in 12 hours, according to the brand.

As a fan of Scott’s music since his mixtape “Days Before Rodeo,” I was curious what this collaboration would look like, and was able to get my hands on a pack.

What is CACTI?

CACTI is a hard seltzer produced by Meadow Creek Beverage Co. in collaboration with Anheuser-Busch. This 7% ABV drink is made with 100% Mexican premium blue agave and comes in lime, strawberry, and pineapple flavors. You can grab it in nine-packs of 12 ounce cans or purchase individual lime or pineapple flavors in 16 ounce and 25 ounce cans.

Why is CACTI so popular?

The CACTI drink — and its associated brand — is a product of Scott and his Cactus Jack team. If you don’t know about Scott, his ragey rock-like approach to rap performances has captured crowds since the early ’10s. He’s different and he knows this, especially when it comes to his business moves outside music.

Over the years, Scott has held Fortnite virtual concerts, made shoes with Nike, and curated a McDonald’s meal.

The latter endorsement caused lengthy lines and stock shortages at McDonald’s during fall 2020. While there was nothing out of the ordinary about the meal — a Quarter Pounder meant to be ordered with Sprite and BBQ sauce for fries — it spurred a litany of memes on TikTok (I, admittedly, was “sent by Cactus Jack” to McDonalds to try the meal).

Just like with Scott’s McDonald’s meal, the rapper has also dropped a line of merch to promote his latest endorsement. This means you can grab everything from $45 CACTI coasters to $70 CACTI shorts. If you’re cold, you can rock Scott’s $55 “agave” socks. You can see how long you’ve drank CACTI for with a $50 CACTI analog clock. In short, Scott’s name sells.

What’s in CACTI?

When stacked up to other hard seltzers, CACTI has nearly the same base ingredients as competitors such as Truly, White Claw, Smirnoff, and Bon & Viv. 

Competing seltzers have anywhere from 90 to 100 calories per 12 ounce can, but CACTI has significantly more at 150 calories per 12 ounce can.

The major difference between CACTI and competing seltzers is its agave syrup. The taste is sugar-like and may contribute to CACTI’s smoother taste.

Review of CACTI

The middle of my Wednesday lunch break was marked with a doorbell ring. The box was at my door. I now had my hands on two nine-packs of CACTI, one of the most sought out seltzers in the country.

My first thought was how much I loved the design. The CACTI logo reminded me of a hip, early ’00s brand that marketed extreme sports merchandise. The pack was also easy to carry, with a handle grip at the top of the box. This would be perfect to bring to the beach to drink with friends.

The first seltzer I decided to taste was the lime. Once I cracked open a can, I immediately smelled the alcohol — a stronger smell than other popular seltzers I’ve had before. The 7% ABV is slightly more than the average 5% ABV seltzer.

I took my first sip, and while the lime itself was prominent, the seltzer and alcoholic taste still managed to drown it out at the end.

One thing I loved about the drink is its aftertaste, which is much better than other seltzers I’ve had. I’m not sure if it was the agave or the high ABV talking but each sip was smooth to the finish, sort of like drinking apple juice. Even though I was drinking CACTI from my Queens apartment on a 40 degree day, I knew this would “hit different” on a hot summer day.

One thing I found was CACTI became progressively better as it chilled. After a day in the fridge, the lime drink improved in taste compared to my first test. 

The strawberry flavor was decent, however, I couldn’t help but compare it to the strawberry hard candies that grandmas keep with them. It distracted me from actually enjoying the drink enough that I questioned if Scott, himself, was my grandma. He’s not, but the strawberry flavor on top of the seltzer and alcohol is a bit too sweet for my taste buds.

The bottom line

Although the CACTI experience has interesting elements, it doesn’t particularly stand out from other popular seltzers. If anything, it’s somewhere between average to good. This doesn’t make it a bad drink, however, but — just like other Scott endorsements — this drink may be confined to a moment in time. 

Once you separate the drink from its celebrity endorsement, the taste is pretty unremarkable. Yet celebrity aside, CACTI’s design and it’s pineapple edition could give it staying power on shelves. All in all, CACTI is a decent hard seltzer with a unique aftertaste that could make it a “must have” beverage in summer 2021.

You can check CACTI’s website to see local stores carrying the drink. Nine-packs will typically cost around $19 or more on Drizly while 25 oz. singles will cost about $4.25 each. If you’re new to Drizly, you can use the code “HELLO” to save $5 off your first delivery.

Pros: Smooth aftertaste, unique pineapple flavor, easy-to-carry package

Cons: Hard to find, strong ABV compared to other popular seltzers

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