Jen Morales and Jason Stitt Want to Mix Up Your Drinking Life

The owners of the frozen botanical cubes startup Mixicles are adding more flavor to your favorite cocktails.

Illustration by Chris Danger

Looking for a new way to spice up your cocktails? Try Mixicles. This woman- and minority-owned business offers botanical “drinking blocks” for the drinks for your next party.

How long have the two of you known each other?

Morales: We met in 2004, when we were both working as associates at the same downtown Cincinnati law firm. I was in the commercial litigation group and Jason practiced in the bankruptcy group. Though neither of us has a business background, we believe our legal experience has taught us a lot about how companies falter and fail. Hopefully that knowledge helps us avoid major pitfalls.

How did you come up with the idea for Mixicles?

Stitt: The idea for the business came to us in the summer 2018, while we were hanging out and sampling the watermelon margarita mix I’d made from scratch for a block party. Jen proposed seeing how the mix would fare if, before adding any alcohol, it was poured into an ice cube tray and frozen for later consumption. When her twins were little, Jen had done this with pureed baby food, so she thought, “Why not drink mixers?”

Morales: We’d seen flavored ice cubes served in cocktails at a few area bars and restaurants, but there didn’t seem to be anything like that available for home use. And while we both love craft cocktails, we rarely make them ourselves because of the time, effort, and cost involved in sourcing all the ingredients—many of which you’ll use just a portion of for one recipe, the rest going to waste—and then prepping the drinks. So we thought there might be a market for botanical frozen mixers that would capture the freshness of handmade cocktails in an easy, ready-to-use form. You simply pop a cube into a glass, top it with your favorite spirit, wine, or other beverage, and let it infuse and chill your drink as it melts.

Who’s your target audience for Mixicles?

JS: Our answer might have been a little different in 2018, but the pandemic and the make-do-at-home culture it has fostered has made mixology a hobby for people of all ages and backgrounds. We think our target audience consists of curious consumers who are seeking to bring the craft-cocktail experience into the comforts of home. Bar-quality drinks that can be made without fancy tools or having to source hard-to-find ingredients make for an easy escape. And while traditional mixer brands still dominate shelf space, natural and premium brands are the products driving growth for the category, with consumers investing in high-quality mixers to be paired with their premium spirits.

What do you think your product adds to the drinks market?

JM: Mixicles contain only premium botanical ingredients and, unlike traditional bottled mixers, many of which have to be consumed within a few weeks of opening, Mixicles keep in your freezer for over a year until you are ready to use them. Because they are sold in ice cube form, Mixicles chill and flavor your drinks without watering them down, and they enable anyone to simply and consistently craft delicious mixed drinks. We like to think of them as “drinking blocks” that can be layered with other flavors or with a variety of spirits, bitters, etc. to create totally custom drinks.

What’s the best thing about running your business?

JS: It’s hard to pick just one thing. But if we must, it’s getting to hang out and drink together, and legitimately call that work!

Are there any other uses for Mixicles?

JS: Because Mixicles do not contain any alcohol, they can also be used to create mocktails or smoothies, or even enjoyed on their own as little frozen treats (like popsicles, just without the stick!). We produce Mixicles using only natural ingredients—just fruit juices, herbs, handcrafted syrups, and water—and all our flavors are 25 calories or less per cube.

What are your future plans for your product?

JM: We’re expanding our retail presence outside the Cincinnati area into other parts of Ohio and Kentucky as well as Michigan. We hope to keep growing, both in terms of our product line and reach, in the years to come.

Mixicles are currently available in select Cincinnati Kroger stores and will be available in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and West Virginia Kroger stores by the end of November. Mixicles can also be ordered online for shipment on dry ice anywhere in the continental U.S.

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