Even before a global pandemic made staying healthy a primary concern, there's no denying that the idea of "wellness" has been on the forefront of the collective mind for some time now. Over the past few years we've seen this shift come in the widespread acceptance of natural mood-enhancers like CBD, and even in the legalization of cannabis (welcome to the age of "California Sober").
With more and more people abandoning bad-for-you substances in favor of feeling good, this mindful movement has even made its way to the landscape of drinking. Mixology is still on the menu, but alcohol, it seems, no longer has to be.
At the forefront of this so-called Sober-Curious movement is Jen Batchelor, an early innovator of booze-free spirits who founded her revolutionary beverage brand, Kin Euphorics in 2018. Equal parts new age-y and indulgent, Kin's chic concoctions are made up of healthy adaptogens, botanicals, and nootropics (ingredients which are said to improve brain function) to give sippers a blissful, natural boost - without any next-day regrets. No wonder it's been instantly embraced by cosmopolitan crowds of cool kids.
We caught up with Jen to learn all about the secrets of euphorics, the keys to socializing sans alcohol, and her favorite ways to mix up a "Kintail" at home. Who knows? She might even inspire you to clean up your bar cart.
As CEO of Kin, what do you hope to achieve with your brand?
I hope to awaken people from their daily stupor and inspire a little joy along the path to conscious revelry, or as we call it at Kin “a state of euphoros.”
What inspired you to create a non-alcoholic spirit?
My own new non-negotiables in life, namely that I wanted to stop subscribing to a culture that wanted me numb all the time to have “fun.” Also, a lack of options at the bar that made me feel smarter for drinking. The Aha! moment was realizing that not a single drink maker seemed to care or know that the brain is responsible for 100% of the moods we feel. And I don’t just mean the brain in our heads - by now we are all very versed in the mind-gut connection, the importance of healthy hormone balance, etc. Then why do we only think of the liver when we talk about alcohol?
Alcohol is a neurotoxin, yet no one ever mentioned the brain when they talked about the after-effects of drinking - I wanted to get to the bottom of how I wanted to feel and determine on my own terms what I was willing to pay to get there. Sugar is also a neurotoxin, so it pained me to know I wasn’t even in the clear with mocktails. I once went to a bar in NY with a nutritionist friend of mine and she’s like “You know there’s at least 35g of sugar in that $18 mocktail of yours.” UGH!
The simple notion of nourishing the brain in a social setting - this just wasn’t done or thought of before we came on the scene- and when I realized we could help people achieve a sense of relaxation and even revelry without hurting their minds, hearts, skin, integrity, or endocrine systems, I made it my life’s mission to bring this to every human.
How would you describe Kin?
In its simplest form: Kin is a sippable breathwork. This is also telling of how powerful breathwork is. It’s all about that prana flow.
What are Euphorics?
A new category of adult beverage designed to empower an elevation in mood, consciousness, and spirits without the need to poison our power supply i.e. “revelry sans intoxication.”
You grew up in Saudi Arabia, where alcohol is not legal, do you think that impacted your relationship with alcohol at all? If so, how?
Absolutely. My dad was the town bootlegger. I had access to every kind of homebrew you can imagine, and also got to see the process from seed to sip. He learned from my grandpa. As a third generation moonshiner, you learn reverence for the craft (think “Fear of God”) but you also learn that the best nights shared over drinks are done so with good people and great intentions. When consciousness left the building, shit got ugly. It inspired me to craft a new way to revel, one that matched the standards of my own generation of conscious consumers, one that put the drinker in control and not the other way around.
Do you have any morning and/or evening routines or rituals that help you mindfully start and end your day?
I do, but they always fail me if I’m not properly hydrated. I would say my number one tip for zen is to stay well-lubricated. Mornings I love to journal and meditate, more often than not I’ll take my first few calls on a nature walk. Nights I love to get my reading on with a warm glass of Dream Light with oat milk. Breathwork and prayer happen multiple times a day on my best days. I’m always reading a business book, a spiritual text, and a novel at the same time. Curbs the urge to Netflix and waste hours of life on food porn.
What is your favorite way to indulge in self-care after a long, stressful week?
People tend to drink more alcohol in the colder months and since the start of the pandemic many people have leaned into alcohol, what is your advice for them during winter?
Winter is the absolute worst time to over-imbibe because we have about 30% less sunshine in our days therefore we’re naturally producing more melatonin. Melatonin and alcohol do not play well together, it’s a recipe for depression and anxiety. Best thing to do is stock up on a selection of non-alc tipples that satisfy your craving for your go-to default drink of choice. Get some gorgeous glassware and make it a ritual. Sweat as often as possible throughout the week as this is our first line of defense against toxic cravings. Do anything but over-drink, this really goes for any season but with everyone’s obsession with collagen these days I’m always shocked to learn how much beauty buffs drink when alcohol and stress are the two biggest thieves of the best collagen on the planet - the kind we produce naturally through good sleep and hydration! Not to mention, winter is so drying! If you want great sex in the winter with your hibernation buddy, break up with booze.
You’re not 100% sober but rather sober curious, how is sobriety different through the lens of Kin?
With Kin it’s not about whether you’re drinking or not drinking “at the time.” People aren’t reaching for a Kin Spritz when they’d really rather be having a stiff whiskey, they’re grabbing it when they want to feel great. So it’s really about what’s additive in your life. For example, since the pandemic our Kin Spritz sales have grown 400% - when I looked into why it’s because most people have realized that euphorics (which help us achieve flow and hormone harmony) are also great for facilitating focus and energy. Why wouldn’t we want that during our day when work has become so monotonous and coffee dates are dead? Sobriety takes on a whole new meaning when it’s not centered on what you’re depriving yourself of but rather what you’re adding to your life.
What is your go-to hot winter Kintail? A Kin spiked hot chocolate? Kin apple cider? A Kin toddy? Inquiring minds want to know.
We’ve been experimenting a lot with mulled wine spices and High Rhode at my place lately. Because of its traditional aperitif taste profile-with clove, orange bitters, ginger, gentian, and licorice as key components- it’s super simple to transform our High Rhode euphoric into the mulled wine of your dreams. All we do is add some star anise, cinnamon, touch of organic apple cider, and maple syrup, warm it up in a saucepan and add some fresh orange slices and you’re good to go. If you want it sparkling, a little ginger beer goes a long way with this one too. This is for social hour, since High Rhode is primed to make your spirits bright. For slower, late night rituals I can’t get enough of Dream Light with a touch of alc-free egg nog. Topped with nutmeg and marshmallows if I’m going nuts, it’s the ultimate nightcap for winter bunnies.
What are some ways people can use Kin to enhance self-betterment during the winter and throughout 2021?
Kin exists because we believed people everywhere deserved to take back their agency and self-respect when it came to recreational rituals. Our guests have proven us wrong in that they’re constantly showing us new ways they’re using Kin to get an edge even when they’re working, parenting, crafting, or performing on stage - this has inspired us to think about the impact euphorics can have on everyday moments. Ultimately, whether it’s with Kin, or breathwork, or a good night’s sleep, we encourage everyone that’s interested in leveling up over the winter and throughout 2021 to take stock of their habits and the folks they keep around them. Protect your energy and it will propel you places you never thought imaginable. Kin, Kin!
[Photos via @jenofkin/courtesy Kin Euphorics]