THE

STRONG

BUZZ

  • Andrea Strong

Julie Reiner's Social Hour Cocktails Raise the Bar on Cans.



I don’t know about you, but the past few months of this COVID pandemic have been, well, somewhat difficult. And I’m not even talking about the death tolls, the raging unemployment, the rising food insecurity, and the horrifying and criminal lack of leadership and respect for science in the White House. I’m just talking about the chaos of motherhood when mixed with a career, homeschooling, and full time 1950s housewife duties. It’s rather chaotic bordering on bonkers. Perhaps you can relate?


I have two young kids at home who I am trying to keep educated and socialized—but I am not a good teacher and my kids would not want me as their teacher even if I were. Nevertheless, they are my kids so I do my best to keep them from becoming slaves to their screens (when I feel they have had too much, I throw a shoe at them, that’s good parenting right?), while maintaining a fairly D-list career as a journalist and trying to move the needle on school food, all while menu planning and cooking every single meal for this family of four.


To help keep myself sane, I have taken up running again, which at 51, is rather hilarious. I am usually (always) the slowest one out there, but I can run 6 miles in a little over an hour and I have dropped 15 pounds so there’s that.


What else do I do to stay sane? I read a lot. So far this summer my list has included Rodham, The Vanishing Half, All Adults Here, Writers & Lovers, The Sound of Gravel, Nothing to See Here, Wow—No Thank You!, Such a Fun Age, The Dutch House, If it Bleeds, and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I’m onto the Guest List now. I'm also binge watching Poldark. Don't judge.


And every day, yes, there has been wine. I have a standard case on order from Smith & Vine. I love cocktails but I have to say, I am not really all that good at making them. I can do a margarita and a whiskey sour on occasion but really, I’d like a real bartender to make me the cocktails. So I had been frequenting Barely Disfigured and the lot of fabulous bars offering to go cocktails, but now there’s something even simpler. Amazing canned cocktails from Julie Reiner and her longtime Beverage Director Tom Macy. The pair have teamed up to create Social Hour, a line of ready-to-drink, canned cocktails made locally with spirits from New York City’s premier craft distillery, New York Distilling Company (shout out to master distiller Allen Katz!).



Julie and Tom have created three perfect pandemic summer cocktails in a can—a classic Gin & Tonic (New York Distilling Company's Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin mixed with their proprietary tonic water), a Whiskey Mule (made from award-winning Ragtime Rye is combined with a spicy, citrus-spiked ginger beer), and Pacific Spritz (an airy Aperitivo-style cocktail that clocks in at 8% ABV—rosé wine blend from New York’s Finger Lakes with grapefruit, a hint of passionfruit, and bubbles).


I sampled all of the cocktails and found that they were drained quite quickly and with serious amounts of enjoyment that lasted well into the evening. I am considering the Spritz for breakfast once school begins. I feel my teaching skills will be better with a buzz.


Not only are they refreshing and delicious, they’re also quite affordable. A four pack is $19.95. Considering a single cocktail costs around $15, you’re saving tons of money here. I recommend bringing a case over to your next socially distant backyard dinner party or outdoor picnic. They’re terrific.


The cocktails are available wherever liquor is sold and through the Social Hour website. For more information, go to www.socialhourcocktails.com or follow on Instagram @socialhourcocktails.


Cheers and godspeed come fall.

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    © by Andrea Strong