In place of the familiar ethanol kick, though, High Rhode, the creation of a New York distiller called Kin, delivers licorice, gentian root and caffeine, along with Goop-ish additions like “nootropics” and “adaptogens” and a priceless mixture of sensuality and virtue.
“We weren’t interested in making another bubbly water or a flavored ‘mockery,’ just as we weren’t interested in drinking them at our favorite bars,” said Jen Batchelor, 34, the founder of Kin, issuing a subtle dig at the reviled term “mocktail.” “We wanted to feel more, not less — to wake up fresh and ready to take on the day, in full consciousness, clarity, peace of mind.”
She calls her spirits “euphorics,” and, in a sense, High Rhode is to liquor what CBD is to marijuana: a buzz-free buzz, vaguely akin to a CBD “body high.” (Imagine dropping an Advil with a mug of green tea in a warm bath.)
Ms. Batchelor enjoys wine with a meal maybe once a month. “I’m pretty resolute in my decision to consume with intention, or not at all,” she said. But she is well cast to sell the idea of sobriety chic. An Ayurvedic herbologist and entrepreneur, Ms. Batchelor grew up in Saudi Arabia, where her father was a bootlegger who made his own sidiki (basically Gulf-style bathtub gin).
She recently opened Kin House, an invitation-only sober destination in a West Hollywood bungalow, as well as a speakeasy-style tasting room in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, inspiring Vogue to call her “the poster girl for L.A.’s zero-proof party scene.”
Ms. Batchelor envisions High Rhode as a bracing alternative to an Aperol spritz for young professionals just like herself in those moments where “it’s 4:30, you’re looking at your calendar and you’re like, ‘Oh no, I have a drinks date in an hour and I’m just exhausted from the day, and I don’t want to reach for that extra coffee, but I still want to feel a little something to recalibrate.”