Catching Up With Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, And Ashley Benson As They Launch Their New Beverage

by Julia Oakes

You may know Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, and Ashley Benson for their headlining roles in your favorite flicks. Now, thanks to their latest gig, you’ll soon know them as the mixologists behind your favorite margarita. Launching with female-led, pre-made spirits label Thomas Ashbourne, the trio’s ready-to-drink ‘The Margalicious Margarita’ enlists all-natural ingredients, citrus-forward notes, pure sea salt, and premium tequila—and is destined to be your go-to summer beverage. We chatted with the IRL besties to get the scoop.

Congratulations on The Margalicious Margarita! First, tell me how you all met.
Vanessa: Me and Rosario, we go way back. We have the same manager and I remember just always being such a fan of her. We actually did a movie where she played my mom. And Ashley and I… when did we meet, Ash? We were babies in acting class! Way back when.

Ashley: We were 15 or 16, in acting class. We were young!

Tell me about the cocktail company, Thomas Ashbourne.
Vanessa: It’s really cool. It’s fabled after this mixologist, Thomas Ashbourne, who’s known to conjure up cocktails that are packed with flavor, potency, and are perfect for a great night out in the Golden Age. We kind of started there and we all came together. I feel like it’s so cool because each of our cocktails really match our personalities. You know, we love a girls night out. We love getting together and having a cocktail. And, to have the ability to have premium craft cocktails available and ready in cans and bottles is, like, ultimate. Nobody has time to sit around and mix a bunch of drinks for everyone, especially when you’re having a party. So this is the easy way to keep everyone happy and buzzed because they are strong.

(Courtesy)

Of all cocktails to choose from, how did you land on a margarita?
Ashley: A margarita is just the go-to. I mean, I love margaritas. Kind of like Vanessa was saying, it just fit in with me, Rosario, and V. They taste great and who doesn’t want to have a margarita any time of the day? It’s the perfect thing.

Rosario: I came on a little later, you know. As they say, they go way back, so the two of them were [working] on the margarita. My manager, I think he knew I was trying to do a sober 2020, and then 2020 [happened] and I really got into margaritas. He reached out and said what was going on and that they were developing this cocktail. I was so grateful to come on. I came up with the “Margalicious” name because I was really into margaritas [and] my daughter’s middle name is Margalita. As an environmentalist, I’ve been really grateful to be able to be a part of some of the behind the scenes stuff. Like, do we do plastic bottles? I was like, ‘Absolutely not! We’ve got to stick with cans and stick with glass.’ It’s classier, it’s better, and it’s better for the environment. I wholly stand behind the drink and coming on board because it is delicious.

Vanessa: We have high standards as far as cocktails go, so you best believe that we were there every single step of the way, tasting our product, seeing what it needed more of—if it needed a little more lime, if it needed a little more sweetness. It’s so much fun, and it’s something that we really enjoy. The fact that we all get to do it together is something that’s really special. 

Tell me about all that went into the drink, from ingredients to packaging. How was all of that conceptualized?Vanessa: I feel like they’re all cohesive together, the Thomas Ashbourne cocktails. We wanted to make sure that it is a recognizable brand. You see it, you know what it is, you know that they all go together. We wanted something that’s clean and chic, but is recognizable. As far as the drink goes, it’s all about the classic margarita taste. The natural, fresh squeezed lime, the pure sea salt, the hints of the orange zest and, of course, the high quality tequila base. Just making sure that the customers are getting the highest quality margarita that they possibly can.

Rosario: And that’s across the board with all the drinks. They’re really the best that you could possibly get. I mean, this is premium. This is really, really nice. 

Vanessa Hudgens (Courtesy)

The liquor industry is buzzing right now. What made each of you want to join in on the fun?
Ashley: I thought it was brilliant. Who doesn’t love a nice cocktail at the end of the day? But, at the same time, it’s such a smart business move. Everyone, especially during the pandemic, had nothing to do. So everyone was kind of testing out drinks. I know that I started learning how to make a good margarita, I learned how to make a little dirty martini. And I have no idea why, but it was just something that I got into. The other thing, too, is having pre-made cocktails is so easy. You can take it anywhere.

Rosario: It’s shocking that there’s not a Sarah Jessica Parker cosmo already. Everyone’s so perfectly matched to their drink. When you think about the pandemic, people still want to keep things separate, so it’s so nice to go to a bar and different restaurants and be able to order this and know that it’s clean. It’s a perfect mix every time, so you’re not going to miss out on the quality from drink to drink, which can happen from bar to bar. And, when you’re paying a high price, that sucks. 

What’s been your favorite part about working on this project? Anything that’s stood out the most?
Vanessa: Taste testing is always fun, but just working with this group of women. It’s so nice to be around like-minded women who are focused on their work, and who are also business savvy. And just that we can all put our brains together and create something to give to the world that we’re all really proud of and excited about.

Tell me about the launch! When can we get our hands on the entire Thomas dashboard portfolio?
Ashley: We officially launch July 1, which is the perfect time. We’re gearing up for that and making sure it gets out there.

Can customers expect any follow-up margarita recipes from you three?
Vanessa: Yeah, we’re definitely in talks for many different kinds of margaritas that we want to do. We all have our favorites. So, we’re not going to talk about it yet, but there are a few that are fully in the works that we’re super excited about. Let’s launch these first, get people acquainted and then give them more to look forward to, right?

Any jet-setting summer plans with your margarita?
Ashely: I’ll be traveling with my margaritas and working, but always having a margarita in hand!

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