After two years of living in New York, I've come to learn a few universal truths. You cry only the first time your new boots get soaked by the spray of a swerving taxi (you then proceed to stop wearing nice boots), you start blaming the train for, well, everything, and—the biggest lesson of all—alcohol will eventually somehow infiltrate itself into almost every aspect of your life. Yes, typing that out sounds bleak, but I'm facing up to the fact that most of the socializing I partake in ends up involving alcohol.
First date? Tequila soda. Catching up with an old friend? Aperol Spritz. Brunch? We’ll do the unlimited mimosas, thanks. I don’t consider myself a binge drinker by any means, but apparently, I am one: the National Survey on Drug Use and Health constitutes having one drink four to five nights a week as binge-drinking, and of that, I am definitely guilty. So what if you want to see your friends, go to happy hour, meet up with that Raya guy—but you don’t want to imbibe? Honestly, in a city like New York (and I’m sure many others), it’s really hard.
(Case in point: my vow to partake in Dry January…that I immediately broke by January 6th. What can I say? It was a tough week.)
This all goes to say that when I received an email in my inbox about a beverage that uses "a blend of botanicals, nootropics, and adaptogens" to give you a buzz without actually containing any alcohol, I was intrigued—then dubious. It sounded too good to be true. Was it full of drugs not yet regulated by the FDA? Isn’t this what people said about LSD at first? I pondered this for about five minutes—then I took the meeting (obviously).
This is how I found myself giggling in a conference room with a stranger at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday. Kin Euphorics co-founder Jen Batchelor had just poured me a “cocktail” made with Kin Euphorics and a blend of...other things people used to make cocktails with (honestly, I don't remember, because I was too busy feeling very happy), and suddenly, everything in life was amusing. The drink didn’t taste amazing—like a slightly-bitter blend of herbs—but then again, neither does a Casamigos on the rocks (at first).
But I didn’t care about the taste. I was more marveling at the fact that it felt like someone had pressed a button and tension that I didn’t even know I was holding suddenly flowed out of me. My mind felt…light and exuberant. Unlike the unfortunate edible I had junior year of college, this “high” feeling didn’t make me want to close my eyes sleepily and cocoon myself for the next few hours (it was a full 24, if I remember correctly).
Instead, I found myself smiling like a Cheshire cat and talking animatedly with Jen about how exactly Kin works. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to talk forever. I can best compare what I felt after a Kin cocktail to a combination of being wine-buzzed while also taking half a shot of espresso. After experiencing Kin for myself and understanding how it works, I can firmly say: Kin Euphorics might just make the world a nicer place. Also, I'd like another glass, please.
Keep scrolling to find out what exactly Kin Euphorics does and how it works.
First things first: what exactly is in Kin? The website claims it’s made with a blend of “mind-nourishing nootropics”—like GABA, phenibut, 5-HTP, tyrosine, and more—and the “body-balancing adaptogen,” Rhodiola Rosea. Plus, a whole bunch of “replenishing botanics,” like hibiscus, orange peel and licorice, and some natural sweeteners. All of these have been carefully chosen and work together to give you the most relaxing, mood-boosting effect.
Jen tells me that nootropics and adaptogens can both be helpful in reducing stress, but differ in a couple of major ways. “Nootropics are geared towards optimizing neural chemistry and performance, while adaptogens are geared towards balancing the adrenals, thereby returning the system to physiological homeostasis,” she explains. In layman’s terms: nootropics are meant to boost your brain function, while adaptogens balance your brain and body. The science behind all of this is murky at best—there have been some studies about the effect of adaptogens on stress, but they were done on animals, while the American Medical Association explicitly says there’s no such thing as “smart drugs” that improve cognitive function.
But Kin doesn’t claim to make you smarter—rather, all it wants to do is make you feel good.
“Where most supplementary nootropics usage is intended for daytime focus and performance optimization, at Kin we use nootropics to activate brain functions that produce feelings of bliss in the brain,” Jen explains. “It's important to note that our nootropics don't act alone in this. Our proprietary nootropic, adaptogenic, and botanic blend of functional herbs are combined to incite a replenishing dose of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA in the parts of the brain responsible for helping us feel relaxed, open, curious, and connected.” Honestly, if I hadn’t tried Kin firsthand, I would’ve called B.S.
But considering the fact I was suddenly feeling very relaxed and blissful at work—I mean, does that happen to anyone, ever?—I now consider myself Team Nootropic for life. And Team Adaptogen. And Team Kin.
As I sipped my happy juice and smiled like someone had just told me I had won a free year of unlimited McDonald's, Jen continued to tell me more about her journey to Kin. She had worked in the wellness industry for years, and was growing tired of the whole “detox to re-tox” cycle. You know the one: you wean yourself off something unhealthy for a few days or weeks, only to reward yourself for all of your valiant efforts with a well-deserved drink (which usually leads to another, and another). Around the same time, she noticed more and more friends posting solo shots in the bathtub, usually with a glass of Merlot in hand.
“Social media was making us less social, while making drinking more glamorous? The irony was heartbreaking,” she tells me.
Thus, her mission was clear: create something for stress relief that was fun and sophisticated, and wouldn’t leave you with a raging hangover the next day. And thus, Kin Euphorics was born.
That was two years ago. Since then, she’s tested hundreds of variations of the product and narrowed it down to three functional favorites. From there, she shared the three concoctions with a couple of hundred people through a secret beta program, and finally came to market with just one. The Kin product you can buy currently is called High Rhode (a nod to Rhodiola, its star ingredient), and your best bet for trying it yourself is purchasing it through the website. If you’re in New York, you can find it at the bar in Café Clover in the West Village, though Jen promises you'll find it on the menu at more bars and hotels in the coming months.
And yes, note that all of the place Jen hopes to offer Kin are places you'd gather with friends.
Because, at the end of the day, Kin is meant to help you connect. “The world is becoming ever more lonely,” Jen says. “Kin is aiming to be a remedy for this by creating a new revelry experience, one that taps into our bliss network—allowing us more opportunities for pleasurable exchanges, curiosity, enhanced cognition, and long-lasting memories.” In other words, all the nice feelings you’d get from catching up with a close friend over a glass (or bottle) of wine, with none of the negative effects.
A hangover-free world where people are nicer and more open? Whether or not you believe in it, it’s still a happy thought.
You can read more about (and purchase) Kin Euphorics on its website.