Food & Drinks

Labor Day Libations Won’t Have You Laboring

Labor Day celebrates hard work, but who wants to actually celebrate by laboring?  Whether you’re enjoying a social distance party, enjoying a private barbecue with immediate family or just enjoying the brief respite of no work and no virtual school (and cheers to all of the hard-working teachers and parents who are navigating this new educational landscape), here’s a roundup of some easy drinking, delicious beverages that only require opening to enjoy.

Cupcake Vineyards, long known for its stylized bottles, has made it even easier to enjoy wine as the famous brand now offers two canned wines in their line-up: a California sparkling rosé and a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. “Cupcake cans are the perfect, portable, sharable and unbreakable solution to enjoy delicious wine outdoors,” says a spokeswoman, who notes that each can contains 275 ml of wine or half a bottle’s worth.

Usual Wines has added one can to their portfolio: the Usual Spritz, which is just sparkling wine with a splash of guava juice. “It’s a bright, crisp and elegant take on a hard selzer featuring notes of lemon, elderflower, bergamot and guava,” says Matt Dukes, CEO and co-founder of Usual Wines.

Dukes notes that the wine comes in at only 132 calories and 8.5 percent ABV. “Usual Spritz is a refreshing, low-calorie and sessionable option for Labor Day sipping,” he says. “The brand’s first-ever can offers consumers an option that they can easily bring to the beach or park and enjoy while social distancing.”

For a sustainable sipper, you could try Tangent wines. While the California winery is known for its bottles, its two canned wines are gaining in popularity. The winery’s Paragon Vineyard boasts a Sustainability in Practice (SIP™) Vineyard Certification. Try the Sauvignon Blanc or the New World-style Rosé, made with Albariño, Viognier, Pinot Noir, and Syrah grapes.

For an organic thirst quenching seltzer, one can to try is Maha Organic Hard Seltzer.  Maha clocks in with only 4.5 percent ABV and only 110 to 115 calories, and its lineup features three flavors: raspberry, tangerine yuzu and black cherry.  “As an athlete myself, I wanted a hard seltzer that fit into my lifestyle without sacrificing flavor,” says Meg Gill, founder of Golden Road Brewing. “Each flavor clocks in at only 110 calories so it’s a great choice to pack in your backpack or beach cooler for your Labor Day excursion.

Bomani Cold Buzz is perfect for Labor Day brunches, as it’s the first of its kind, alcohol-infused cold brew coffee, giving you a double buzz of caffeine and alcohol. A serving is sugar and carb free with only 110 calories and a 5.7 percent ABV. “It’s sure to keep you buzzing all Labor Day weekend,” says Sam Madani, CEO and co-founder.

It is formulated, he says, with the same alcohol that you’ll find in a classic hard seltzer, along with ethically sourced 100 percent Arabica coffee beans, and it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and kosher. “Like a cup of coffee, you can customize it to your liking, drinking it as is, or adding cream or sugar,” Madani says.

If you like regular kombucha, then hard kombucha might be your Labor Day drink of choice. Jiant Hard Kombucha features three flavors in their lineup: original (elderflower and jasmine), gingerly (ginger and  lemongrass) and hicamaya (grapefruit and hibiscus). Each 16 oz. can contains only 4.5 percent ABV, and it’s made from a base of green tea. Expect a new flavor to join their lineup later this fall.

“We created Jiant to be the perfect backyard and table-top beverage,” says Larry Haertel, Jr., co-founder, noting that it pairs well with food because of its organic ingredients. “It’s fun, it’s festive, and it’s the best way to keep those summer vibes going straight into fall, and let’s face it, we could use a little more summer, especially this year.”

“Not only does our hard kombucha make for a super sessionable and refreshing daytime beverage, but because it’s brewed with real organic ingredients so it’s something that also pairs nicely with food.”

“It’s super tasty,” adds Aaron Telch, co-founder. “Or, at least, we think so. It’s the perfect upgrade from a hard seltzer, and it fits those occasions when you’re looking for something that’s light and refreshing, but don’t want to sacrifice taste or experience.”

Boston’s first craft distillery Bully Boy Distillers want to transport you to azure waters of the Mediterranean. Or, at least they want you to pretend you’re abroad as you sip their newest creation, the Amaro Spritz canned cocktail. “We know it’s hard to travel during these times so why not bring the feeling of cruising the Amalfi Coast straight to your backyard?” says Dave Willis, co-founder and head distiller. “It’s crisp, refreshing and crushable – exactly what you’re looking for to round out the final days of summer.”

Willis also recommends sipping it as a post-beach cocktail, poured over ice and served with an orange wedge. “The beauty of the Amaro Spritz is that it’s something you can’t easily replicate at home, but it offers the convenience of your favorite ready-to-drink beverage that you can easily store in your cooler, sip on your patio or crush with friends and family safely on the beach.”

If you like rye, then Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye canned cocktail might be your preferred buzz. The cans are small at 100 ml in size, but they’re mighty potent at 84 proof, and they’re only made with four ingredients: rye whiskey, raw honey, navel orange peel, rock candy and Angostura bitters. “It’s great in a pinch, and it’s like a slightly sweeter Old Fashioned,” says Ryan Gavin, bar manager at Gran Tivoli in New York City. “The Rock and Rye is essentially a mix of rye and rock candy.”

“A great whiskey cocktail uses only high-quality ingredients, with the ingredients amplifying the whiskey, as opposed to burying it,” says Chad Solomon, director of trade advocacy and innovation at Cooper Spirits Co. “It’s the perfect drink enjoyed straight or over ice for a proper Old Fashioned.”

Tanqueray gin has joined the canned cocktail trend with its September debut of Tanqueray Crafted Gin Cocktails. Three cocktails are in the gin’s initial lineup: Tanqueray Gin & Tonic, Tanqueray Sevilla orange Gin & Soda, and Tanqueray Rangpur Lime Gin & Soda. “They’re inspired by Charles Tanqueray’s original recipes, and they’re made with real Tanqueray gin, natural flavors and either tonic water or sparkling soda,” says a spokesperson.

This isn’t a can, but The Family Jones Automatic Jones Rock & Rye cocktail is a worthy Labor Day sipper. “Take Labor Day off with Automatic Jones Rock & Rye,” says Rob Masters, master distiller at The Family Jones distillery, which is based in Denver, CO. “We already did the work. Just pour it over ice with a twist of orange.”

The bottled cocktail is straight rye whiskey infused with a blend of warming spices, dried fruits, citrus peels, roots, bark, and a touch of raw sugar.  “It’s best enjoyed over ice with a twist of orange, but is great for any weather or occasion, hot or cold,” he says. “And I have to note that Automatic Jones won Best In Class Pre-Mixed Cocktail AND a Double Gold at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. With canned cocktails and mixers blowing up the market, it’s nice to have one conclusive answer when it comes to the actual best.”

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