After throwing a daylong graduation party and cooking dinner for guests, requests for cocktails might have seemed daunting in the past. Even if I had the ingredients to make an old-fashioned and a margarita, I might not have had the energy or inclination to whip them up.
But, a new Atlanta cocktail company, Post Meridiem, made my bartending easy and enjoyable. “Coming right up,” I said, as I grabbed a couple of cans from the fridge.
Serving craft cocktails was as simple as pushing the crushed ice button, shaking a can of the real lime juice margarita, and pouring it over the ice. Plop a large cube from the freezer into a cocktail glass, shake a can of double old-fashioned, and pour. Voila.
The founding of Post Meridiem Spirit Co. owes something to the smooth sounds of Yacht Rock Revue. At a concert featuring the band’s soft rock tunes, Andrew Rodbell said to friends, “Why can’t I get a good cocktail here?” The discussion turned to dreams of sipping a mai tai from a can at concerts and sporting events.
“It’s the one we talked about first and inspired the pathway to the rest,” Rodbell said.
Canned cocktails in the past often have been syrupy sweet and artificially flavored and preserved. Most were made with malt beverages, rather than being spirit-based, due to regulations regarding government-mandated sizes and liquor taxes.
Rodbell has 20 years of experience in marketing and product development with Coca-Cola Co., Georgia Pacific and Cartoon Network. Co-founder Charles Sain is a self-described serial entrepreneur in e-commerce and finance. They set out to fill a void in the market for a ready-to-drink, bar-quality cocktail. “Our approach is recognizable cocktails as effortless and accessible as beer and wine,” Sain said.
“We want to hit all sensorial cues,” Rodbell added.
Transparency and authenticity are important to the duo. “We can disrupt the category with a product that is real,” Rodbell said. The focus is on quality ingredients. They use 100% real citrus juices, carefully matched bitters and distilled spirits, and imported liqueurs.
Their Hemingway daiquri includes two ounces of different rums, real lime juice, cane sugar syrup and a maraschino liqueur imported from Italy. “You can’t cut corners on that,” Rodbell said. “This is how we want to drink our drinks.”
He said they worked with mixologists to make sure they had the right balance. Biltong Bar Beverage Director Sean Gleason was a consultant for the line of canned cocktails. “It was an interesting challenge, with the limitations of canning a product — definitely not what I am used to,” Gleason said. “I’m happy with the final products.”
Post Meridiem’s Westside manufacturing facility has a custom-built canning line for filling the 100-milliliter steel cans. Steel protects the beverages’ flavors, and stores well.
It’s easy to set up a bar when all you have to do is shake a can and serve. A double old-fashioned at a bar would cost more than twice the $3.99-$4.99 price tag for a can that includes 3 ounces of bourbon, bitters, demerara syrup and orange zest oil.
There currently are five cocktail flavors (47-74 proof): real lime juice margarita, double old-fashioned, Hemingway daiquiri, lemongrass vodka gimlet and that first thought, the 1944 mai tai. They debuted this spring, and each medaled at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
There are lots of ideas on the horizon, and “robust plans for venues,” Rodbell said. The founders have charitable organizations like Atlanta’s Giving Kitchen in mind as well, saying they want to be good stewards of the community that is the company’s hometown.
Post Meridiem Spirit Co. 1303 Logan Circle NW, Atlanta. postmeridiemspirits.com.
$3.99 - $4.99 per 100-milliliter can.
Peachtree Road Liquor Store. 1895 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-355-4990, peachtreeroadliquor.com.
Sprayberry Bottle Shop. 2692 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta. 770-973-7073, sprayberrybottleshop.com.
Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits. 2161 Piedmont Road, Atlanta. 404-881-0902, towerwinespirits.com.
Westside Beverage. 3310 Drew Campground Road, Cumming. 470-695-7627, wsbeverage.com.
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