Suffice it to say, NYC is home to the greatest artists, club kids, DJs, drag queens and personalities the world has to offer. So we asked some of our favorites about their most beloved things to do in NYC, from low-key thrift shopping to all-night partying. Heed the masters!
Going to bars to get drunk is becoming less popular as the wellness trend continues to thrive in New York. One of the pioneers at the helm of the booze-free scene is beverage brand Kin Euphorics (kineuphorics.com). Cofounded by alchemist and health savant Jen Batchelor (age 34), Kin’s High Rhode libation is a delicious elixir that’s concocted with adaptogens, nootropics and botanics that replenish, nourish and balance your mental state.
The product gives sippers all the warm-and-fuzzy feelings one may enjoy from a little bit of alcohol (minus the hangover). “The theme is the feeling of breathing fresh air,” says Batchelor. “You are naturally in tune and feel like you just woke up from a great nap.”
Important: Kin is not anti-drinking culture. The bevvy, which was released to the public December 5, 2018, acts as either a replacement or buffer for alcohol, to give revelers an elevated experience—one where they’re fully present and conscious of their actions during a night on the town. And Batchelor admits she still imbibes in a very rare but occasional glass of wine at her local stomping grounds in Williamsburg.
Folks looking to rise instead of feeling worn down can experience the benefits of Kin at health-conscious eatery Cafe Clover. The West Village restaurant serves the euphoric—not to be confused with mocktail, a non-alcoholic substitute that is generally overloaded with sugar—called the Citrus Social. The drink is made with Kin High Rhode, ginger juice, lime and mint ($16).
Earlier in June, Kin debuted its dreamy Moon Rise Studio (its New York headquarters, essentially), which acts as a space for friends, clients and more to experience the drink. “When you’re not consuming alcohol but are still getting those blissful effects with Kin, you’re free to move and activate your sympathetic nervous system where love, arousal, creativity, empathy and that feeling of connectedness can actually be felt,” states Batchelor. “In that case, the bar dynamic changes. You’re no longer sitting around and shooting the shit or giving your sob story. Instead, you’re ready to dance, paint, play music and create. Moon Rise was very much created around that mindset,” she adds.
And that’s not even the most exciting launch this month. Last week, the brand unveiled a new product (the Kin Spritz) that allows sippers to enjoy Kin on-the-go. Go mobile with the pre-mixed cans and bring the high vibes to New York beaches and beyond! For more on Batchelor, we chatted with the creative about how Kin was spawned including some of her favorite hangouts and shopping tips in New York.
What inspired you and your business partner [Matthew Cauble] to create Kin Euphorics?
The inspiration came from many places, but I would say the main one was at the bar. We were putting so much money, time and effort into our wellness routines. I was very invested in my meditation practice, yoga and all the various supplements, smoothies, shakes and tinctures I would make for myself to maintain my everyday holistic practice. For him [Cauvel], he was trying to bring more balance and focus into his life. You can go through those motions throughout the day, but once you go to the bar, you drink them all away. There really isn't anything outside of alcohol that can help you get a lift and feel good without compromising everything else you’ve worked so hard for before that point. So, to really solve that problem, we had to figure out what the behavioral psychology was behind the energy shift when you’re at a table and a bottle of champagne lands as opposed to a bottle of Evian.
After a work day, most people’s instinct would be to go for the champagne. So why should they consider drinking Kin?
That’s what made our position and our design of the product so unique. We aren’t coming at this problem with ‘alcohol is bad.’ The question is: What about the alcohol experience is worth preserving? It’s the sense of relaxation and helping people take the edge off. Everyone deserves to feel relaxed and more themselves after a long day. It took a good two years to get a formulation that actually facilitated that experience for your body and brain in a way that was safe enough so you could sip it and enjoy throughout the night. Once people feel it for themselves, they have free reign to do with it what they want. A lot of folks I know, especially in the agency world, start every night out with Kin. They’ll have a few glasses of wine, and then end the night with Kin. That book ending ensures your neurotransmitters are protected, and the herbs will round out any depletion or taxation of the liver that alcohol might be creating. One thing we do caution is that you don’t want to mix alcohol with Kin. It just doesn’t make sense.
Do you identify as sober or are you adopting the term and book title “Sober Curious,” coined by your friend and author Ruby Warrington?
Yeah, I think that’s the best word for it for the moment. We’re still seeking that perfect catch-all phrase. I still love a delicious glass of wine here and there. And I have high respect for the craft—especially the makers that are really doing things right on the manufacturing and developing front. It’s mid-June, and I can tell you how many drinks I’ve had this year. That is new for me. When you take full inventory of the things in your life, it really gives you a sense of grounding and power, you know?
I suppose that’s sort of similar to the benefits of the Marie Kondo method, yeah? When you can calculate what you intake by the numbers, that acknowledgment makes you feel like you’re more in control of your life?
Totally. People are spending a lot of money to find peace this day in age. Peace really just comes from being more intentional about your decisions and also being able to gift yourself agency. When we’re in control of our decisions and how we choose, we’re in a place of truly knowing ourselves. That makes a dramatic impact on people’s lives.
Who are some of your teachers and how did they help you navigate your wellness mission?
I’ve always just been an old soul. My mom was seventeen when she had me, so I think I just popped out of her like a scolding, older sister. Life was a really good teacher for me early on from the trauma and the stress of living with a single mom. I also think your Saturn Return is such a beautiful exercise to review. It’s such a period of transition and finding yourself. At 28, I was building a business and thinking that was the cool and prudent thing to do. But I was with the wrong business partner, and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I was working in the wellness industry (ironically enough), and I was super miserable. I started putting plans in motion to exit the company. I ended up getting a scholarship to join the School of Ayurveda & Yoga, and I just immersed myself in the world of the practice. I started to learn a lot about the psyche and how deeply rooted our belief systems are. It’s all tied to the first traumas you experience between the ages of one and seven. Through these teachings, I found a lot of grace for myself. I found a lot of forgiveness for my mom and my circumstance. Only I can control what I can control, and that’s myself and my decisions. It was from that foundation that starting Kin made all the sense in the world. I wanted to be able to give everybody the choice of agency through an alternate option for alcohol—one that was sophisticated enough for someone who is ready, but is still familiar and honors the ritual of building a social connection at the bar.
Jen Batchelor's New York
Her neighborhood Haunt: Pheasant
“I love this Mediterranean bar. They know me by name, they know my drink order, and they play amazing music—it’s mostly stuff you can sing along to. It’s very chic, but then, all of a sudden, the whole bar erupts into Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody,’ and then it goes back to playing Bon Iver.” Williamsburg (pheasantnyc.com)
Her ideal green spaces: Various locations
“It’s a real treat to hop over to McCarren Park (nycgovparks.org) and go to the farmers’ market on a Saturday. There’s always something fun going on at North Brooklyn Farms (northbrooklynfarms.com). I go there to pick wildflowers; it’s just the most beautiful setting. I make a monthly pilgrimage to Brooklyn Botanic Garden (bbg.org) to see what Mother Nature has created. To me, that is everything.”
Where she goes treasure hunting: Artists and Fleas
“I recently went to Artists and Fleas in Soho and met this woman who sells these incredible vintage earrings with little people attached. They were crafted in China, but she hand-painted them. I love it there; it’s like going to a shoppable museum.” Soho (artistsandfleas.com)
Her source for primo vintage: A Current Affair
“I am a big vintage person. I will wait to shop until the vintage show A Current Affair comes to NYC. It carries top-tier vintage—even New York’s brick-and-mortar stores will wait to sell their best stuff here. They just had one at Industry City. It’s two times a year, unless there’s a special show.” Various locations (itsacurrentaffair.com)
Her go-to indie theater: Nitehawk Cinema
“I love the small little cinemas. Nitehawk is an awesome theater. They always screen incredible films, independent and otherwise.” Williamsburg (nitehawkcinema.com)