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Alcohol Celebrity Grub Drinks

Playboi Carti, John Cena, Sarah Jessica Parker and Other Celebs Get Into Canned and Bottled Cocktails

Moscato but make it “hard.” That’s the idea behind rapper Playboi Carti’s new ready-to-drink cocktail with Thomas Ashbourne Craft Spirits, Hardscatto.

A 20% ABV blend of premium vodka and flavors of grapes, peach, apricot and elderflower, the ready-to-drink has already been awarded a gold medal by the Drinks Business & Spirits Business 2022 Spring Tasting.

Carti is just one of a handful of celebs who’ve teamed with Thomas Ashbourne for signature canned and bottled cocktails. The all-star team of founding partners also include John Cena and his Classic Old Fashioned, Rosario Dawson and her Margalicious Margarita (with Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens) and Sarah Jessica Parker and her Perfect Cosmo… obviously.

“We’ve been focused on sourcing high-proof, premium spirits with the best natural ingredients to elevate the Thomas Ashbourne portfolio above the pre-made cocktail standard. With the help of our celebrity partners, each flavor profile was meticulously crafted and demanded the highest standards in taste, quality and sophistication,” said Thomas Ashbourne CEO Cara Kamenev via a statement.

The Hardscatto and other cocktails from Thomas Ashbourne retails for $59.99 for eight 200mL cans.

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Alcohol Drinks Feel Good

This New Ready-To-Drink Cocktail Gives Back To the Music Community

There are a lot of ready-to-drink cocktails out there. If you’ve read any of my articles here before, you know I’ve written about MANY of them. That said, Country Luau caught my attention for its mission to support up-and-coming musicians through grants and nonprofit partnerships.

Born and brewed in Nashville aka Music City, 2% of Country Luau’s profits go to Mixed for Music, which financially supports musicians through nonprofit partnerships and a grant program. 

“It is important to support the communities we work in and with,” said Country Luau Founder and CEO Adam Kost. “Our mission as a company is to bring people together, and nothing does that better than a great band and a refreshing cocktail. Hence, it feels natural to support local musicians to keep their dreams alive as they are huge drivers of local beverage and music economies.”

Inspired by the narrative style of country music and the laid-back vibe of the luau, Country Luau’s 12 oz can is highly sessionable (5% alc/volume), made with premium spirits and contains only two grams of sugar and 100 calories. Flavors include tropical twists on classic profiles, such as:

  • Strawberry Daq Shack — white rum, natural strawberry and lime flavors, sparkling water
  • Yuzu Ranch Water — blanco tequila, natural yuzu and lime flavors, sparkling water
  • Mango Mosa — vodka, natural mango, orange and champagne flavors, sparkling water
  • Pineapple Jalapen-Y’all — vodka, natural pineapple and jalapeño flavors, sparkling water

Country Luau is available in liquor stores throughout Tennessee and online with shipping to 38 states at countryluau.com/shop.

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Alcohol Drinks

This New Hard Seltzer Will Pay You to Ditch Your Roommates and Move Out On Your Own

There are “basic” hard seltzers and then there are hard seltzers that want to pay your bills. NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer, a new ready to drink option in the space, is looking to upgrade drinkers’ seltzers… and their lives. NÜTRL will help one winner plus up their living situation from sharing a space with roommates to living solo — plus a year’s supply of its seltzer.

The campaign launched on the heels of NÜTRL’s Seltzer Graduation event on Tuesday, June 7, a “graduation” ceremony and party at New York City’s Hudson Yards to celebrate the graduation to a better tasting hard seltzer. Actor and comedian Chris Redd of Saturday Night Live delivered the commencement speech to the graduating class of hard seltzer drinkers, which was followed by a party honoring those who upgraded to NÜTRL.

Guests were treated to “upgrade stations” showing how easy it is to elevate their wellness, food, style, travel and more. Highlights from the upgrade stations include hair and makeup styling, beard grooming, professional headshots, tarot card readings, on-site massages and facial treatments and travel giveaways.

“When I was in my mid-twenties, I wish someone took me by the shoulders and shook me into realizing I needed to throw away the 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner and stop sleeping on a futon on the floor — if this sounds like you, it’s time to grow up,” said Chris Redd. “I’m honored to have addressed the first NÜTRL graduating class and to help people upgrade their adult beverages and their lives — something that took me a long time to do.”

To enter NÜTRL’s Upgrade Your Seltzer sweepstakes, follow @NUTRLUSA on social media and comment on NÜTRL’s social posts on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #UpgradeYourSeltzer and #Sweepstakes for the chance to win $15,000 plus a year’s worth of NÜTRL. The sweepstakes is live now through June 24.

Made with vodka, seltzer and fruit juice, NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer is just 100 calories with an ABV of 4.5%. It is also gluten-free and its core variety pack includes no added sugar.

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Alcohol Culture Drinks News

Lunar, the First-Ever Asian Craft Hard Seltzer Brand, Shares Limited-Edition Flavors to Celebrate AAPI Heritage

Lunar, the first-ever Asian craft hard seltzer brand, has launched the second in its series of limited-edition collaborations with iconic Asian restaurants in New York City to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

For the Heritage Line: Sunset Edition, Lunar co-founders Sean Ro and Kevin Wong worked closely with Michelin star-awarded Jeju Noodle Bar, James Beard semifinalist Win Son and Cantonese cuisine newcomer Bonnie’s to develop three hard seltzers inspired by the atmosphere of an Asian beachside market. 

The Heritage Line is a testament to the brand’s mission to represent the AAPI community and diaspora — especially in New York City, where co-founders Ro and Wong were born and raised.

“As a homegrown NYC brand, we’re incredibly honored to once again work with local AAPI business owners who’ve inspired us tremendously: Douglas Kim of Jeju Noodle Bar, Josh Ku of Win Son and Calvin Eng of Bonnie’s,” said Lunar co-founder Sean Ro. “Not only did these three bring years of culinary expertise to the table, they also channeled their own personal memories and their own individual Asian American experiences into these first-of-their-kind seltzers.” 

As with Lunar’s core line of Korean Plum, Yuzu, Passion Fruit and Lychee seltzers, all Heritage Line seltzers are made with real ingredients sourced from Asia and the US. Created specifically with upcoming summer drinking in mind, the Heritage Line: Sunset Edition seltzers include:

  • Mint Omija w/ Jeju Noodle Bar: Inspired by the summertime Korean delicacy 오미자 화채 (Magnolia berry or schisandra berry punch), the mint highlights flavors provided by the omija, also known as the “five flavor berry” (sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness and even spiciness). It pairs well with the flavors of Chef Douglas Kim, who runs the first noodle bar in the US to receive a Michelin star.
  • Teresa Teng (Citrus, Cranberry) w/ Win Son: Inspired by the first true international Asian music superstar, this blend of cucumber and spice is as more-ish as her music catalog. “Asia’s eternal queen of pop” died in 1995 after a 30-year career that deeply influenced most of Asia. Josh Ku, Taiwanese-American owner of Win Son, named one of the restaurant’s inaugural cocktails after her. Lunar has built upon the tributary cocktail with this honorary hard seltzer flavor. The crisp, citrusy cranberry-flavors blend with a touch of smoky complexity.
  • Salted Kumquat w/ Bonnie’s: An answer to the everyday orange juice mimosa, this flavor was inspired by a traditional Chinese American remedy — kumquats preserved in salt and sugar, then steeped into a hot tea to ease a sore throat. This cocktail is a sweet, tangy, citrusy sipper with a hint of salt and MSG for added depth. The flavor pays homage to the preserved kumquat fridge staple of Cantonese American chef Calvin Eng’s mother — for whom his restaurant is named. 

The mission behind Lunar’s cocktails is to increase cultural awareness and representation within the predominantly white brewing and seltzer segment. Through the Heritage Line, they continue to share the stories and lived experiences of their AAPI partners.

“Sean and I are just two Asian kids from New York, but we have big dreams beyond just selling beverages,” Lunar co-founder Kevin Wong says. “We created Lunar to make the beverage world more open-minded and diverse. In many ways, our own journey as POC founders and entrepreneurs is a microcosm for the larger AAPI experience of learning to find pride in your culture so that you can share it with the world — and in doing so, make the world a better, more understanding place.”

Released in 2021 (and sold out online in 3 hours), the inaugural Heritage Line included Pineapple Cake and Mango Chili Salt hard seltzers co-developed by chefs/owners of Di An Di and 886.

Lunar’s Heritage Line is now available for nationwide shipping via their website, and individual flavors will be available at their respective restaurants.

Categories
Alcohol Celebrity Grub Drinks

‘This Is Us’ Actor Justin Hartley Introduces New Category of Agave Spirits With Revel Avila

The season finale of the constant tear jerker “This Is Us” is near, but don’t cry for Justin Hartley (who plays Kevin Pierson) as he is the co-owner of Revel Spirits as well as a damn good actor.

Revel recently launched its Revel Avila Spritz, a line of canned, ready-to-drink sparkling agave beverages. Featuring four flavors (Mango + Fresno Chili, Guava + Toasted Coconut + Kaffir Lime, Watermelon + Cucumber + Cilantro, and Grapefruit + Rosemary), each 12-ounce can is made with Revel Avila, a new agave spirit made from 100% pure blue weber agave from Morelos, Mexico and blended with natural ingredients. At 140 calories per serving, the sparkling agave spritz is gluten free, made with organic agave nectar and contains 6% alcohol. 

“We put an incredible amount of time and focus into Revel Avila Spritz, especially when it came to the mixology behind the flavors,” said Justin Hartley, part owner of Revel Spirits. “As the saying goes, you only get one shot at a first impression, so we wanted to make sure we got it right. Our mission was simple — pair the best agave spirit on the planet with some of the most unique flavor combinations the palate can imagine. Beautifully fresh and crisp, we’re positive these flavors are going to captivate consumers’ taste buds and truly set our RTD apart in the market.”

Revel Spirits created a new path in the world of spirits when it first introduced Revel Avila, the flagship brand of a new category of agave spirits called Avila, to the world in 2018. Rather than bringing another tequila brand to market, Revel Spirits set its sights on Morelos, one of the smallest states in Mexico, where in the shadows of the active El Popo volcano, some of the country’s most nutrient rich soil can be found.

Revel Avila is more than just a new brand, it represents an entirely new category of agave spirits. To bear the name Avila, a spirit must be distilled in Morelos, using only agave grown within the state’s borders.

Revel Avila Spritz is available nationally through ReserveBar, in addition to select California retailers as a 4-pack of the individual flavors or a variety pack, for $18.99.

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Alcohol Drinks What's New

Meet the Ready to Drink Cocktails Inspired by a Viral Tweet and Issa Rae’s ‘Insecure’

Issa Rae has been an inspiration to some, for sure, but did you know that she’s even inspired the launch of a ready-to-drink cocktail? Well, apparently the suggestion she gave to a friend in the tweet below led to Phreshly. 

The Atlanta-based brand recently released two canned cocktails, Bay Lemonade and G’iddem. Both cocktails are inspired by flavors from Ghana and Louisiana, where the three founding members once called home. Bay Lemonade combines flavors of strawberry, lemon and a hint of lavender fused with aged bourbon, which are reminiscent of the Bayou. Inspired by the flavors of Ghanaian Sobolo, G’iddem mixes blueberry, pineapple, rum, a twist of lemongrass and a dash of agave nectar. 

This is the first release from Phreshly, a Black-founded, majority women-led cocktail brand founded by tech ex-pats Paul Owusu (the aforementioned tweeter), Tai Applewhite and Ama Marfo. These canned cocktails are 100% vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, lactose-free and made from all natural whole ingredients. The brand also partners with minority-owned farms across the U.S. to source its ingredients. For example, they source strawberries and blueberries from a family farm in Mississippi, further adding to their mission to amplify Black farmers and family-owned businesses in the Southeast, where it is based. 

“I tested over 125 different cocktail recipes and tinctures to compose the final G’iddem cocktail recipe that brings me back to my days of sipping on the delicious flavors of Sobolo in the summer sun,” said Phreshly Co-Founder Paul Owusu. “This launch has been a labor of love and we’re so excited to bring these amazing ready-to-drink cocktails to market!” 

Phreshly are sold in four-packs and are available for purchase online for $21.99.

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Alcohol Drinks What's New

Batch & Bottle Lets You Enjoy Bar Quality Ready-To-Drink Cocktails Right at Home

Everyone loves a good cocktail, but not everyone can make a good one. So, William Grant & Sons, the owners of brands like Sailor Jerry and Tullamore D.E.W, is making it easier with their new Batch & Bottle line of ready-to-drink cocktails.

Available in four classic yet distinct cocktails, the Batch & Bottle offerings include the Monkey Shoulder Lazy Old Fashioned, the Reyka Rhubarb Cosmopolitan, the Glenfiddich Scotch Manhattan and the Hendrick’s Gin Martini. Each cocktail was created by their respective brand’s ambassadors (usually former bartenders who have a specific love for that spirit) and other industry experts.

“As consumer drinking occasions continue to rapidly evolve, and as Ready-To-Drink cocktails continue to explode in popularity across the US, we want to arm our fans with elevated and exciting cocktail options from the iconic brands they already know and love,” said Paul Basford, William Grant & Sons US President and Managing Director. “As Master Distillers, industry leaders and cocktail aficionados, we know our spirits best, so we wanted to offer our expertise, batched for people to be able to finally enjoy bar quality cocktails at home, without the hassle.” 

Learn a little more about each of the four Batch & Bottle expressions below:

  • Monkey Shoulder Lazy Old Fashioned: This Old Fashioned combines Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky’s blend with bitters and golden sugar to make the whiskey drinker’s classic cocktail.
  • Glenfiddich Scotch Manhattan: The Manhattan but make it with Scotch. Glenfiddich’s single malt soothes the sharp bitters and envelops the sweet vermouth, creating a cocktail both bold and delicate.
    Hendrick’s Gin Martini: Distilled with the unusual inclusion of cucumber and rose, the Hendrick’s Gin cocktail is full of floral, citrus and herbal notes.
  • Reyka Rhubarb Cosmopolitan: Reyka Vodka, made of Iceland, mingles rhubarb, blood orange and fresh lime to create the classic cocktail made famous in movies and TV shows.

Previously made available in the UK and Australia, Batch & Bottle is available nationwide for a $16.99 a bottle.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Ready to Drink Frozen Smirnoff and Parrot Bay Pouches Totally Look Like Alcoholic Capri Sun

This intro goes out to all the incoming college freshmen: if (and when) you start to feel small and scared and nostalgic for the playground, Diageo USA has just created the perfect way to get recess-wasted with new Freeze and Squeeze Parrot Bay & Smirnoff Frozen Drink Pouches.

That’s right, it’s alcohol. In a pouch. Get your vodka gummies out.

Full disclosure: these bad boys were actually designed to provide a quick and easy way for party hosts to serve mixed drinks without having to mix anything, and therefore don’t come with any actual straws or straw holes. But there’s nothing stopping you from popping one in yourself (except maybe your date of birth, but hey, that’s what Bigs and RAs are for). So just grab a few, freeze them overnight and get yo’ illegal classroom-drank on the next day—all without ever using a blender or fake ID.

New Diageo Freeze and Squeeze packs come in six flavors, the Parrot Bays being a bit more “traditional” in their range (i.e., Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri, Frozen Mango Daiquiri and Frozen Piña Colada), and the Smirnoffs more innocently disguised as summertime-childhood fare with flavors like Frozen Strawberry Lemonade, Frozen Blue Raspberry Lemonade and Frozen Cherry Limeade.

Granted, as cool as these alcoholic “juice bags” are, they’re definitely not the first of their kind, having been released about a year after cocktail brand Daily’s introduced their own Frozen Drink Pouches around mid-2011. But that doesn’t make them any less fun. Or potentially dangerous.

Both Parrot Bay and Smirnoff Freeze and Squeeze Pouches are 5% ABV and are available in single 10 oz. sizes for $1.99.

Bangarang.