Courtesy of Kin
"PLEASE READ," read the emphatic email from a co-worker. "Faux drunk is the new drunk."
It's not exactly uncommon for colleagues to flag me on new products, but this particular note was compelling enough for me to emerge from my proverbial writing cave and double-click it open. And as I parsed through the PR spiel about the brand in question—a self-described "euphoric" called Kin—my sense of intrigue only surged, even if my skepticism was in hot pursuit. (I'm immersed in an industry that unfortunately runs rampant with oversold promises and false marketing, so you'll forgive me for thinking that a drink claiming to induce feelings of bliss might be too good to be true.)
But my co-worker's own trial with Kin—"I'm shook," she said, "It really does give you a buzz"—was enough to keep me interested, as was the ingredient label. The brand's first official offering, called High Rhode ($47), contains a calorie-free blend of adaptogens, botanicals, and a class of ingredients entitled "nootropics," a buzzword I recognized from recent conversations with a few different leading wellness experts. Eager to learn more directly from the source, I quickly set a meeting with co-founder Jen Batchelor. On a sunny autumn afternoon the following week, she poured me my first glass of Kin.
At the time of our meeting, the brand was gearing up for its first round of orders—which sold out so swiftly, I didn't even manage to nab a bottle in time. Since then, the buzz around it has only grown as Batchelor and her team have successfully marketed Kin as a novel (and sleekly branded) way to elevate a night out. In addition to its direct-to-consumer commerce strategy, the brand has begun to work with the beverage teams at sceney bars and venues in New York and Los Angeles.
It all begs the question: What is this stuff? To really understand, it's worth first diving into the science of nootropics.