Reisman and Cohen grew up in Atlanta, went off to college and worked in the music industry in New York. They saw that most music venues and festivals offered beer and wine, as well as what they call the “and” drinks — whiskey and Coke, vodka and soda. “We knew many people preferred cocktails, and we saw that was a gap we could fill,” Cohen said.
Coming back to Atlanta to start their new company, they collaborated with mixologist Miles Macquarrie of Watchman’s and Kimball House to develop the recipes for three classic stirred cocktails: a Manhattan, negroni and old-fashioned. It took 18 months of recipe development, trying different spirits, and making sure the ingredients were balanced, to have a product ready for store shelves. “These are the trifecta of proper poured cocktails, and they’re the type we enjoy,” Cohen said.
Now, they’ve added a line of shaken cocktails: a daquiri, margarita and bee’s knees.
There’s a reason those Tip Top cans are so tiny. “When we first started out and were doing customer sampling, people would ask about the size, but after they took a sip, they quickly understood,” Reisman said. “These are strong cocktails. Think about how you make a Manhattan. It’s 2 ounces of rye, an ounce of vermouth, some bitters, stirred over ice to dilute, so just a little over 3 ounces. That’s the size of our cocktails.”
That raises the question of how to enjoy a Tip Top cocktail. “We’re not trying to change the way you drink these classic cocktails,” Cohen said. “Pour it into a glass over a nice big whiskey ice cube. The ice dilutes a little as you sip the drink, and that opens up the flavor. I’ve been known to use a Yeti tumbler when I’m on the go.”
They are working on recipes for drinks created specifically to be served super cold and straight from the can, but that’s not to say you can’t enjoy one of their current line of cocktails directly from the can.
As for other places their cocktails might be served, Reisman and Cohen can see hotels offering them in their gift shops, or from the poolside bar. “We’re not the product for a fully equipped bar with its own cocktail program,” Reisman said, “but a satellite bar with ice, some glasses and cans? That’s the place where we fit, offering the chance to serve a quality cocktail quickly and efficiently, where otherwise they may just have been serving beer.”
The Tip Top owners also see their cocktails as a good fit for events such as weddings and corporate parties. “The pandemic has helped us all think about how to be more efficient and low-touch,” Reisman said. “You want to be able to serve cocktails quickly, and not have people standing in line for an hour to get their drink. Quality canned cocktails can do that.”
Talking about area people and companies who helped them get to where they are now, Reisman and Cohen mentioned childhood friend David Stein; the people of Athens-based Creature Comforts Brewing Co., for their advice and guidance; and their design team at Sasso & Co.
Asked if they have a favorite cocktail, they reacted as if having to name a favorite child. Cohen did say eventually that, at the moment, he’s really enjoying the negroni. As for Reisman, it’s a Manhattan.
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