Stoked Cider: Baja Sunburn Review

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a sunburn. Raise your hand if it was a pleasant experience. No one? You didn’t welcome the warm sensation as it crept across your skin? The slight haze and accompanying dizziness wasn’t an enjoyable side effect? You weren’t itching to understand why you couldn’t stop yourself from getting another one? Well, cider seekers, it’s safe to say that if you disagreed with all of the above, you have not had a Baja Sunburn. So, whether you’re sitting in the snow up north or the sand here in Los Angeles, read on to see whether we roast or rave about the first sunburn in a can.

Baja Sunburn Overview

This distinctive cider (yes, it’s a cider) comes from California company, Stoked. If you’ve never heard the name, you might remember reading about the man and mind behind it in our previous article on Westlake Village’s 101 Cider House. The very same cider master and distributor, Mark McTavish, created cousin cidery Stoked in order to cater toward a broader cider-seeking base. Sans the sour style of 101 ciders, Stoked still offers a dry, unfiltered profile in a fresh lineup of funky flavors. The array of can colors may even cause an instant mood change. And we’re all for it.

Your Baja Sunburn comes packaged in a neon orange ombre can that captures the like of a west coast summer sunset. But what’s actually in it? We thought the can explained it best. “Fresh tropical Mango for the umbrella drink enthusiast. Spicy Habanero Pepper to warm the foodie soul. 100% Organic Blue Agave to soothe the burn.” As a lover of mango in all forms with a high spice tolerance that is put to the test daily, this 6.9% abv cider seemed to fit the scene. Totally.   



The Tasting of Baja Sunburn

Cracking open the can released a sweet flowery scent quickly accompanied by a nose-crinkling kick of pepper. Once we splashed this luscious liquid into a glass, the fragrance expanded into overtones of moist mango, slightly earthy and floral, with the definite tease of habanero spice and hints of crisp apple. Almost immediately, memories of sweltering summer days spent eating mango sprinkled with tajin came to mind.

Baja Sunburn, you say? You may be imagining a shade of red delicious or an all-out habanero hue that sets the taste buds ablaze. Not quite. With a delightfully hazy character, this cider takes on a paler carotene color similar to a freshly mixed mimosa or the fizzy classic Orangina. There was the brief bubbling up of thin foam, but it calmed to become a lacing only around the outer edge.

The first swig of this cider is sure to surprise some. With a full body boasting a rich and silky texture, Baja Sunburn swoops in and completely clears the sinuses. After the initial (capsaicin) shock wears off, the cider offers up juicy mangoes with a subtle sourness similar to eating the skin of a peach that then mingles with muted traces of pine and sweet citrus. This refreshing fusion of flavors fades as a mild heat grows at the back of the mouth from traces of fiery habanero. Alas, before the fire can spread it is quenched by slightly sugary tones of agave nectar. With the blend of distinct ingredients in this cider, we expected a more striking finish, but the aftertaste leaves the mouth feeling as cool as a cucumber. We give this Sunburn a 3.5 out of 5.