I know Labor Day weekend typically marks the end of summer, but if nothing else, 2020 has proved that time is a social construct, so I for one am just going to keep pretending it’s summer all year. (And I know summer technically ends on September 20th but much like Memorial Day is the unofficial start, Labor Day is the unofficial end. So don’t come for me.) One way to pretend like it’s summer all the time is to drink summery drinks no matter the time of year.
2019 may have been the summer of hard seltzers, but 2020 for me is all about the canned cocktails. They’re delicious, they’re portable, and best of all, half the flavors in the variety box aren’t undrinkable (okay so that was a White Claw subtweet). My point still stands. Here are some of the best canned cocktails to stock up on.
Boulder-based Cocktail Squad® has something for every type of liquor drinker, whether you’re a whiskey girl (Whiskey Sour, Bourbon Smash), a vodka lover (Greyhound, Vodka Soda), a tequila drinker (margarita), or a gin sipper (gin & tonic). The small batch original flavors all pack a serious punch at 10% ABV per can, but if you’re in a more casual drinking mood (can’t relate) the new Whiskey Ginger and Vodka Lemon are a responsible 5% ABV. See if Cocktail Squad is available in your area here.
First of all, I’ve got to say that this comes in some of the best packaging ever—plus, I love that these cans look like rugged sodas or a kombucha or something. They’ll never know it’s alcohol! These canned vodka sodas come in a variety of flavors from your traditional lime and black cherry to the more snazzy watermelon and cucumber mint (plus there’s also a grapefruit option). They’re only 99 calories per can, sodium- and gluten-free. Available on Drizly.
Truthfully, I’m not a gin person so I can’t vouch for these, but thankfully Tanqueray doesn’t need my endorsement because there are plenty of actual celebrities who swear by the stuff. And now you can get all the natural flavors of Tanqueray in a convenient can. There are three varietals: Tanqueray Gin & Tonic, Tanqueray Rangpur Lime Gin & Soda, and Tanqueray Sevilla Orange Gin & Soda, all 6% ABV and available in a 4-pack.
New this summer to Clubtails are two flavors: Strawberry Daiquiri and Blueberry Mojito. I’ll take a million of each, please. There are a bunch of other flavors if those aren’t your scene—including, but not limited to: Bahama Mama, Sex on the Beach, Scredriver, Watermelon Margarita, and others. All have a hefty 10% ABV and are perfect for drinking on-the-go.
Mimosas in a can made with brut from the Finger Lakes region of NY, plus real juice. That’s it, that’s the product. Ohza has three different brunch-inspired drinks: a classic mimosa, a bellini, and a mango mimosa. With 140 calories per can, that’s less than what you’d get if you made it yourself, and there’s no added sugar. At 5% ABV these are perfect to start your day with.
As we’ve previously established, I’m a sucker for cute packaging, and Fling’s is f*cking adorable. Boulevard has been brewing beer for decades but decided to dip their toes into the craft cocktail pond, and the result are fun varietals like a blood orange vodka soda (need), mai tai, mojito, and more. They vary in intensity from a casual 5% to a solid 9% ABV, so there’s really something for everyone in your group.
Again with a pretty cover, these Organic Premium Spritzes are a fave of Gwyneth Paltrow and Olivia Culpo. But stay with me, because they’re actually good! They don’t have artificial flavors, colors, or added sweeteners, and have five different varieties. I liked the grapefruit & hibiscus paloma spritz, which had a bit of a kick (think like gingerbeer); plus the elderflower & ginger margarita spritz. Other varietals include the brunch-friendly Mango & Peach Rosé Bellini Spritz, Sunrise Rosé Sangria Spritz, and Mandarin Rosé Mimosa Spritz.
For the wildcard in your friend group (if you don’t know who it is, it’s you), there’s Belle Isle Canned Cocktails, which are made with… wait for it… moonshine. But don’t get scared because they are a respectable 5% ABV and not the instant blackout you think of when you hear “moonshine”. Honey Hab & Pineapple combines honey-habanero moonshine with bubbles and real pineapple. Blood orange & soda , ruby red & soda, and shine & soda mix Belle Isle’s moonshine (in the case of the first two, infused with fruits) with a splash of soda.
Sold on that name alone, tbh. These canned cocktails, made with spirits distilled in Virginia, range from 4.5-10%ABV and come in four varietals. The Orange Smash is basically a screwdriver with lemon lime flavors added for an extra punch; the vodka soda has a twist of lime and is only 90 calories; the vodka mule combines ginger and elderflower; and the gin & tonic has notes of citrus and juniper.
Made with wine, fruit juice, sparkling water, and natural flavors, MOVO wine spritzers are only 100 calories per can with no sugar added. They come in three types: peach white blend, raspberry rosé, and blood orange sangria. And probably the best part is that since they’re canned, you don’t have to worry about bringing a corkscrew to the beach.
We can’t go to Italy right now, but we can get Italian spritz culture in a can with Ramona, a line of canned wine spritzes. No Aperol spritz, sorry, but all three can varieties are made with sparkling organic Sicilian wine, so you can pretend like you’re on your Italian vacation. There’s a blood orange, a ruby grapefruit, and an unconventional Meyer lemon. All the spritzes clock in at 7% ABV, which is more than your average seltzer.
Images: Monica di Loxley / Unsplash; Cocktail Squad, CANTEEN, Drizly, Clubtails, Ohza, Boulevard, Miami Cocktail Co, Belle Isle, Devil’s Backbone, MOVO Wine, Ramona
Just as my colleague Alise Morales is the undisputed Doll Correspondent here at Betches, I am too dubbing myself the Senior Hard Seltzer Correspondent (though I fully admit that my articles are no American Girl Dolls Ranked By Betchiness, but I do my best). I’ve already broken down what your favorite White Claw flavor says about you, but why stop there? What if you’re not a White Claw Outlaw? What if you’re *gasp* a Truly Thot? A Bon & Viv kid? (I clearly made all these terms up.) Never fear, I’m here to tell you, like a drunk Buzzfeed but probably still more logical, what your favorite hard seltzer brand says about you.
People who drink White Claw go one of two ways: they either embrace the frat bro branding and are therefore wanted in several states for their petty crimes, or they are “old people” (read: over 30) who think they’re winding down but are in actuality blacking out on Tuesdays after chugging four of these in an hour. So basically, the same person just plus or minus a side of self-awareness. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but I will: drinking these is not a valid defense in court. I will also let you in on a secret: everyone wants you to shut the f*ck up about these.
Unlike some of its bougier counterparts, Trulies are upfront about what they bring to the table, which they communicate through bold packaging and the fact that you can find them next to the checkout counter at your local Walgreen’s. The people who drink these are always yelling without intending to, and true (pun not intended) to the name, their main personality trait is that they consider themselves “brutally honest”, which we all know means “lacking tact”.
Let me guess: your name is Kaylee or Hayleigh or Mickayyleaighgh, you live in Buckhead, Atlanta or somewhere similarly preppy, and you have a designer Frankenstein of a dog. Yes, I know the outdoorsy design on the cans would lead one to believe I would go the “you actually enjoy hiking” route, but I’m not that literal. You see, these flavors are so bougie (“lemon agave hibiscus”? It’s lemonade, call it what it is) that the people who drink this are the people who barrel curl their hair for fun. I see your melon basil and while yes, you sound delicious, I’m not sure I can hang with your crowd considering I don’t have a trust fund. Also what the f*ck is a “yumberry”?
I’ve heard the strawberry flavor is actually good, but I have yet to try these considering I am over the age of 23. When it comes to Bud Light Seltzer, we can go one of a few ways. First, there’s the obvious: you just graduated college, are living in FiDi with six roommates and three fake walls (“The closet is a flex!”), and are biding your time until Jake’s Dilemma reopens. Then, there’s the other slightly obvious: you’re stuck in a miserable 9-to-5 working like, insurance or some sh*t, and just long for your college days (you probably also have a rack of Bud Light beer in your fridge and a lonely beer bong collecting dust in the corner). Or, finally: you’re just a regular guy/gal who isn’t into all these high-falutin trends like “adaptogens” and “açai” that you see on Instagram, and prefer the simple things in life.
The thing is that High Noon drinkers are better than everyone else, but they aren’t showy about it. In fact, some say they, like their go-to seltzer, are overly sweet. When High Noon drinkers discover a new trend, they won’t say anything when you hop on that bandwagon two years later and act like you invented it. You want to hate this person, but you can’t find a reason, and anyone you express your jealousy to will just think you’re the asshole.
Bon Viv is that girl nobody paid any respect to in high school, but once she got away from her small town, she was the f*cking Queen Bee in college. She left all those haters in the dust and had an instant come-up. The thing is, though, she still keeps it real. Yes she did get invited by a well-known fashion brand to a trip to Paris, yes she’ll still be at your 10-year reunion, no she is not interested in trying one of your “weird wrap things”.
These things pack 12% ABV per can (for reference, most of these other brands clock in around 5%). I mean this from the bottom of my heart: If you drink Four Loko seltzers, I am afraid of you. You have nothing to lose. You probably use your iPhone without a case, just out here raw dogging it. You may likely have a death wish. Just stay away from me.
Images: djile / Shutterstock
The best—if we’re being honest, maybe the only good—part of the summer of 2020 has been the books. From twisty thrillers to steamy romances, we’ve had it all. Our summer 2020 reads are hot, sweet, evocative—kind of like a really good cocktail. And since you’re likely reading any number of these with a drink in your hand anyway, I thought I’d do the work of pairing some of the biggest summer reads with the perfect drink. You’re welcome.
‘Luster’ + Death In The Afternoon
I love a Death in the Afternoon—and no, that’s not just when my coffee crash hits—because this cocktail almost begs you to drink it. It’s so glamorous, yet kind of out-there (tell me the last time you saw one of these on a cocktail menu… exactly). Not to mention, it’s delicious. I think Raven Leilani’s Luster is just as compelling. So much of this book is about that all-too-familiar striving for satisfaction, electric and desperate and wry. Luster is the perfect accompaniment to this cocktail because it hits those same dark and quixotic notes. Another irresistible point of symmetry is that this drink has only three ingredients, mirroring the open marriage at the center of this story.
- ¾ oz absinthe
- 4 oz chilled prosecco
- 1 sugar cube
Pour the absinthe into a champagne glass. Slowly add the chilled prosecco; if you do it right, your drink will turn an enchanting, iridescent green. Drop in the sugar cube and enjoy that gratifying fizz while it lasts.
‘Hysteria’ + Tequila And Habanero Sour
This book burns with sensual urgency, sort of like the burn from the habanero in this twist on a sour. Jessica Gross’ immersive and dark debut is complex and beautiful, hitting every note in that virtuosic range between desire and shame. I couldn’t resist matching Hysteria with this spicy tequila sour, a drink that encompasses an equally impressive range of flavor and fragrance.
- 4 oz blanco tequila
- 2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ½ oz agave
- 2 dashes habanero hot sauce
Add the tequila, lemon juice, and agave into a shaking tin. Throw in the hot sauce and five to seven ice cubes, then shake vigorously for almost a full minute (if your arms can hold up). Fill two rocks glasses with ice and pour out the mixture through a strainer, dividing the cocktail between the glasses equally. Garnish each glass with a freshly sliced lemon wheel.
‘The Death Of Vivek Oji’ + Mezcal Aperol Gimlet
Akwaeke Emezi’s story about community and loss is the real deal. The masterfully rendered characters and shifting points of view create a poignant vision of the kaleidoscopic world surrounding Vivek. I found it nearly impossible to put this book down, which is why I had to pair it with a drink that I also find impossible to put down: this complex, bittersweet, vibrant mezcal Aperol gimlet.
- 2 oz mezcal
- ¾ oz agave nectar
- 1 ½ tsp Aperol
- ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- grapefruit zest for garnish
Combine the mezcal, agave, Aperol, and lime in a shaking tin. Add five to seven ice cubes and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds. Strain your cocktail into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with a generous strip of grapefruit zest, if you have it.
‘Pizza Girl’ + Rum And Cherry Coke
Pizza Girl will take you for a ride in the very best way. Jean Kyoung Frazier so clearly, brilliantly—and almost harshly, because it’s so relatable it may feel like an attack—renders the mistakes, tragedies, and miracles of youth. I couldn’t resist going a little more literal with this one and pairing Pizza Girl with a riff on a rum and coke. This one’s hopefully a step up from what you were drinking in your high school friend’s basement while your parents thought you were studying, but it’s still a throwback to those days. (Not to mention, it goes great with pizza.)
- 2oz Flor de Cana rum
- 4 oz cherry Coke
- 1 maraschino cherry
You know this song, right? Fill a tall glass with ice and add your rum and cherry coke. Give it a little stir and add a maraschino cherry so you can practice tying the stem into a knot with your tongue when you’re finished.
‘Last Call On Decatur Street’ + Sazerac
Iris Martin Cohen’s Last Call on Decatur Street perfectly captures the blurry beauty of a long night out in one of the most bewitching cities in the world. (Ugh, remember nights out?) A Sazerac is really the only match for this dazzling ode to New Orleans, since the drink was created there in the early 19th century. The dreamy absinthe rinse along with a bold bolt of rye will bring you to the exact sort of summer night Cohen conjures in her page-turning second novel. Just maybe pace yourself with this drink, or you may find yourself having a blurry night of your own.
- 1 ½ tsp absinthe
- 2 oz rye
- 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 ½ tsp simple syrup
Pour the absinthe into a glass along with two ice cubes; swirl the glass and coat the interior. Set aside and add rye, both bitters, simple syrup, and ice to a separate mixing glass. Stir for about a minute. Then, empty the absinthe and ice from the first cup and pour—through a strainer—the contents of the mixing glass into the rinsed glass.
‘Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop’ + St. Germain
Aside from my friends and family, I probably miss traveling the most. Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop is a tonic for anyone craving adventure. For a more immersive experience, fix yourself a St. Germain champagne cocktail to go along with it. This drink is as lovely, effervescent and delightful as Roselle Kim’s transportive tale of Vanessa’s voyage to Paris. Plus, it’s French AF so it will really set the scene.
- 1 oz St. Germain
- ½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 oz chilled sparkling wine
- lemon zest for garnish
Add the St. Germain and lemon juice in a shaking tin over ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and pour into a champagne glass. If you want to get really fancy with it, chill the glass first. But if you can’t wait, don’t worry about it. Top with cold sparkling wine and garnish with a twist of lemon zest. If you don’t have a shaking tin, you can make this one right in the glass—just make sure you pour in the St. Germain and lemon juice first.
Image: Dragon Images / Shutterstock.com
Labor Day has passed, but summer is still here until September 22, whether you like it or not. TBH, I’m pretty over the heat, but for those of you who would like to take advantage of the final days of summer, here are some Brunch Boys approved spots to add to your end of summer bucket list. I’ll just be here with my AC in my face until it’s officially fall.
City Vineyard is a restaurant and wine bar located at pier 26 on the Hudson River with three different bars and two levels of fun. The ground floor is more of a traditional table service restaurant area, while the upstairs deck is more suitable for snacking. It’s perfect for a nice meal out or just for having casual drinks. I’d recommend trying some of their house wines—it is a wine bar after all, and they have a few options on tap. The wines pair nicely with a charcuterie board or an oyster platter. In addition to having good food and drinks, City Vineyard has an awesome atmosphere. Look right, you’ll see the Freedom Tower; look left, you’ll see the most gorgeous sunset (if you go on a Monday, you can enjoy a free sunset movie screening). Since Bryant Park’s films are finished for the season, City Vineyard is a nice spot to relocate.
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North River Lobster Company
If you’re looking for another activity to do on the pier, check out North River Lobster Company on pier 81. It’s a three-story boat that actually leaves the dock every 45 minutes for a joyride up and down the Hudson. It costs 10 dollars to board the boat, but you can stay on as long as you want aka unlimited river rides. Although there are definitely options to sit inside, you are essentially on the water, away from the shade any skyscrapers or trees would normally provide, making this the ultimate spot to optimize your tan and vitamin D intake (always wear SPF, duh). The boat has plenty of picnic tables and benches where you and your friends can order food while sunbathing, snacking on lobster rolls and
chugging drinking whatever your heart desires. They also have deep fried mac and cheese lobster cubes…need I say more?
Smokey, saucy, savory and satisfying. There’s never a bad time for a BBQ, but summertime especially makes me crave burgers and beer. Pig Beach is a huge outdoor BBQ pit on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. This spot has tons of options from both the smoker and the grill. They’ve got ribs, brisket, pork shoulder, hotdogs, burgers, I could go on and on. Definitely order a side or two to cool off your mouth from the spice: housemade pickles are always a good option. They also have a special mac and cheese with—get this—toasted goldfish crackers *drool*. Aside from having bomb BBQ, Pig Beach has fun outdoor games that give it a chill, tailgate-y vibe. The best part, though? It’s dog-friendly. Bring your pup to the picnic. Insider tip: If you’re craving Pig Beach during the colder times of the year, check out the pop-up location in the Village. You won’t get the full outdoor experience, but your tummy will thank you.
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Tacocina @ Domino Park
If you haven’t been to Domino Park in Williamsburg yet, you should definitely take a stroll. Domino Park opened this past June just north of the Williamsburg Bridge, right on the East River. Like Pig Beach, Domino Park is dog-friendly and even has its very own dog park. My favorite part, of course, is Tacocina. Danny Meyer, one of the prolific restaurateurs of Union Square Hospitality Group, also famous for starting Shake Shack, opened Tacocina. What Shake Shack is to Madison Square Park, Tacocina is to Domino Park. There’s first come, first serve outdoor seating available in the designated area of the park. They have a daily happy hour from 4-6 on the weekdays and are open from 11am-10pm (11pm Friday and Saturday). It’s the ideal waterfront snacking spot to get your chip and guac on. My top three drinks to order are the Michelada, which for those of you who don’t know, is sort of a bloody Mary made with beer; the Paloma; and the Mezcal Negroni. While Tacocina is open year round, now is the time to go in order to enjoy longer, sunnier, days.
Although we are in the middle of the concrete jungle, there are tons of places where you can cool off, poolside. Some pool passes can be a little pricey, but for a whole days’ entertainment, it’s worth it. I suggest befriending a SOHO House Member to score an invite to the newest location in DUMBO. DUMBO House opened its doors (but more importantly, its rooftop) earlier this year. This chic club is members only, so you’ll need the hookup. Once you’ve made it onto the list and are finally poolside, you will find, hands down, the most spectacular view of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. My favorite drink is their house tequila special: picante de la casa. As for food, they have plenty to pick from, including small snacks and larger entrees. They also have quite the selection of vegan options, since it’s in Brooklyn and it’s 2018. Although you may have seen this rooftop pool all over Instagram, taking photos is highly discouraged, so be discreet if you wanna tweet.
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For more drool-worthy brunch recommendations, follow Brunch Boys on Instagram and satisfy all your food porn cravings.
Images: Jonathan Gallegos / Unsplash; Instagram / @montiankari, @pigbeachnyc, @dumbohousebrooklyn
Everyone knows a true betch’s summer go-to beverage is a nice tall glass (or bottle, whatever) of rosé. It’s cold, it’s pretty, it has alcohol in it, it’s delicious. Did I mention it has alcohol? But sometimes wine drunk doesn’t cut it. Like, maybe I wanna get my drink on but not fall asleep after an hour only to wake up to the world’s worst headache. Fucking sue me. Or maybe I just had a very stressful day of doing the bare minimum and need to black out for a while and recalibrate my emotions. I mean, not that you can’t black out on rosé. I’ve done countless experiments here and I assure you, it can be done, but it just takes a little more time and a lot more calories than a few well-timed shots of clear liquor would. Well now, thanks to Wolffer’s vineyard in the Hamptons, you can get liquor drunk with rosé vibes. How you might ask? Gin made from rosé. Did you hear that thud? It was me dropping the mic.
If you’re wondering how this is possible, you’ve come to the wrong place because I’m not a gin distiller sry, but apparently gin just has to be a clear alcoholic drink made of neutral spirits and juniper berries, so the term “gin” is a loose one. I even Merriam-Webster’d that shit.
Now that’s what I call research. Am I a legit journalist? Only time will tell. My
Googling research also taught me that, in order to turn wine into gin, Wolffer uses copper stills to create pure alcohol from rosé, then adds juniper berries and other shit to make it gin-y. A touch of red grape skin extract enhances the pink color to really take it to a faker the next level.
If you know anything about anything, you know that rosé is for basics and gin is for hipsters, fucking duh. You might also remember that there is scientific evidence that proves only psychopaths drink gin. So now you don’t have to fit in a bubble. Don’t let society tell you you have to choose. You can be both basic and a psycho. That’s what makes this country so great. (Though maybe try not being a hipster. Society as a whole is like, done with that.) You wanna wear Uggs on your feet and a beanie on your head while contemplating murder? Fucking do it. Just make sure you have a glass of rosé gin in your hand. And jk about the murder part.
If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of summer isn’t day drinking, then you’re probably doing your whole entire life wrong. It’s kind of just widely accepted that basically every time a group of twenty-somethings are near any kind of water or any facility with a lawn or grill, day-drinking will occur. Unless those twenty-somethings are like, Amish or whatever, in which case they save they day-drinking for Rumspringa. I think. Who knows what Amish do, really? For those of us who are allowed to use zippers, you sadly can’t always get away with lugging a bottle of Barefoot Moscato to the beach, so you should probably get a cute tumbler cup to make all of your questionable decisions a little more acceptable. Here are a few that will look really good on your Snap story.
W&P Design Pineapple Tumbler, Urban Outfitters
This pineapple tumbler is so extra but like, definitely in the good way. It comes in gold and rose gold so you can find the one that best matches the rest of your life. (Or at least your iPhone.) Plus, there’s even a matching set of shot glasses.
Sip Sip Tumbler with Straw, ban.do
Ban.do has a ton of cool shit that’s practically begging to be Instagrammed, so this tumbler cup is def a must-have. They have lots of prints and designs to choose from, but if I had to pick one to narrow it down, I’d have to go with the Will You Accept this Rose cup for obvious reasons.
Leaves & Lace Cold Cup, Starbucks
Okay, I know that adding a Starbucks cup to this list is basic AF, but that’s totally the point. There’s a pretty solid chance that this cup is the physical representation of literally everything you stand for. Realistically, you probably have this leaf print all over everything you own already and basically, own stock in Starbs with all of the iced skinny vanilla lattes you buy.
Can You Chill? Tumbler, Shop Betches
Not to be super biased but this tumbler is literally perfect. It’s hilarious and fits an entire bottle of wine, which are probably your two best qualities, too.
Sunnylife Watermelon Cup and Straw, Nordstrom
TBH, you’ll probably use this once and then realize that even though it’s dishwasher safe, nobody has time to continuously clean a curly straw that’s sucked down tons of booze. Anyway, it’s still pretty awesome so who really cares?
In keeping with all things warm, sunny, tan, and refreshing, we need dranks! But when you’re sitting around trying to get as blackout as possible, not just any drink will do. Sure, we could knock back million calorie piña coladas or try to chug rosé (and like, we know we’ll fail) to try and beat the heat, but it just wouldn’t get the job done.
We all know that a true, straight long island iced tea will get you fucked up faster than you can say “more ice, bitch.” And it’s time you, as an adult, learned to make one on your own.
· ½ oz Triple Sec
· ½ oz white rum
· ½ oz gin (don’t use anything blue, homie)
· ½ oz vodka
· ½ oz white tequila (um so like, not Jose)
· 1 oz sour mix
· Cola (shit, you could even use diet if you want)
· Lemon wedges
Grab a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Mix together everything except the cola. Strain into a highball or Collins glass filled with ice and top that shit off with the cola. Garnish with a lemon and enjoy your trip, betch. Just make sure you have at least one person in your crew who didn’t drink one of these. They’ll be responsible for remember what happens later.