Made in Georgia: Local company’s line of canned cocktails now flying high

Tip Top Proper Cocktails recently added three shaken cocktails to its product line: a daquiri, margarita and a bee’s knees. Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tip Top Proper Cocktails recently added three shaken cocktails to its product line: a daquiri, margarita and a bee’s knees. Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

Tip Top co-founder Yoni Reisman said that’s just one of the places he and co-founder Neal Cohen imagined their ready-to-drink cocktails being served. “When we started the company in 2018, we wanted to make high-quality classic cocktails that could be easily enjoyed away from home,” he said. “One of our goals was to make cocktails more accessible, and reach a wider audience. To be recognized by Delta is pretty amazing.”

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Tip Top Proper Cocktail co-founder Yoni Reisman grew up in Atlanta and returned to the city to start his business with friend Neal Cohen. Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tip Top Proper Cocktail co-founder Yoni Reisman grew up in Atlanta and returned to the city to start his business with friend Neal Cohen. Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

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.

ExploreAtlanta-based Tip Top Proper Cocktails launches a new line, takes flight
Tip Top Proper Cocktails launched with three stirred cocktails: a Manhattan, negroni and old-fashioned. Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tip Top Proper Cocktails launched with three stirred cocktails: a Manhattan, negroni and old-fashioned. Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

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.”

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While Neal Cohen was working in the music industry, he saw an opportunity to produce canned cocktails to be enjoyed in venues like music festivals and concerts. Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
While Neal Cohen was working in the music industry, he saw an opportunity to produce canned cocktails to be enjoyed in venues like music festivals and concerts. Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

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.”

Tip Top Proper Cocktails now offers tiny cans of six cocktails, with more in the works. Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tip Top Proper Cocktails now offers tiny cans of six cocktails, with more in the works. Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

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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