Adventures In Jelly Shot Slyness: A Day In The Life Of A Covert Drinker

We’re not encouraging you to do any of what follows — that’s important to remember. Just because we’re showing you that sneaking drinks around can be done, doesn’t mean it’s a great idea. That said, sneaking booze into a place might save you some money, make you some new friends (ref: airplane section of this piece), or help you get the good stuff into places where the good stuff doesn’t exist. While there is a copious amount of upside, the downfall of getting thrown out is worth noting. It may be embarrassing to sit on the curb in front of the laser tag place you tried to “liven up” while your buddies have sober fun.

With the success of products like Lolo lids (a beer koozie disguised as a coffee cup) having a drink while performing your favorite tasks has never been easier. But you walk a very fine line. While some are cheeky and lighthearted, portable beverages like Beerbelly and Winerack might cause the night (or… the day) to escalate a little too quickly. One minute you’re laughing with your buddies about the time you snuck eight extra beers into the Yankees game, and next you’re getting kicked out of your nephew’s graduation for having a fake bra full of Riesling.

That being said, we decided to test our new favorite under-the-radar pre-packaged booze, Ludlows Jelly Shots. Their website invites surreptitious sloshers to “join us as we try to be a little disruptive in the ‘spirits’ industry.” We took their message to heart and slipped a few jello shots into our pockets, all in the name of journalism. It was one hell of a day:

11 AM Beach:
Sea Bright, NJ

It’s upsetting that you can still get a ticket for drinking on the beach in the States, New Jersey especially. We only have five months of proper beach time, so why can’t we enjoy it fittingly? (Answer, because as a culture NJ has collectively proven we can’t handle it.) Regardless of the “laws”, we decided to enjoy a few Jelly Shots on the shore and slurped happily while sitting surf side. It was the perfect beginning to what east coasters call “local summer” lasting from Labor Day through Halloween.

1 PM Work:
Asbury Park, NJ

Ok, so “work,” in this case, may have been in a surfboard shaping room. Surfboard shaping is very cool work, but it’s still work. I wish I was better at it. I know people who have been at it for years and are still honing the craft. That being said, the dudes at Rozbern in Asbury Park, NJ, work their asses off to pump out quality board shapes daily. When I offered a mid-afternoon diversion, they were very stoked about taking an extended lunch break.

The comment was made that doing shots mid-day was an activity none of us had partaken in since college, but with our newfound maturity and professional endeavors being what they are, craft cocktail-inspired jello shots like Planter’s Punch and Moscow Mule seemed fitting. They may have also been metaphors for the progression of said maturity and professional endeavors. We’re trying to grow up, but pretending to be in your early 20’s again tastes so delicious.

6 P.M. Bar:
Brooklyn, NY

After leaving the surf shop, the perfect field test dawned on me: the one thing I hate more than anything is paying too much for a drink. It’s inexcusable. Yes, some craft craft cocktails with jalapeño-infused Tequila or a house recipe homemade bitters are that good and therefore worth a few extra bucks. But the classics? An old fashioned from the well for $12 dollars? Come on.

In preparation for an early flight, I met a good friend for an early night cap. We had one normal drink and then slyly threw back two old fashioned Jelly Shots. They were as good as the liquid drink and a fraction of the price. In order to polish off the night, one last standard, liquid old fashioned was required. While sipping my fourth and final drink of the night, I was overcome with a flashback of my earlier years — tending bar and the joy I took in creating drinks. I had to concede, the jelly shot served its purpose for a quick, discreet buzz, but it couldn’t hang with a well made drink. (At this point I was drunk, but my conscience was also pinging at me.)

I hate paying $12 for a beverage, but I’d kill for the atmosphere and the company. Isn’t that what you’re actually paying for when you’re sitting in a bar? If you’re in a club trying to save a few bucks, by all means, sneak in as many jelly shots as you can. But sitting at a bar with a good friend talking about life, love, and the human condition? Pay the damn $12.

7 A.M. Flight:
Somewhere over Pennsylvania

I was hungover. As it often is, the fistful of drinks the night before an early flight was good in theory but very poor in practice. Luckily, I had some very jiggly hair of the dog to smooth out the morning. The TSA barely took note (I also forgot the shots were in my bag), and after brushing my teeth in the bathroom and finding what smelled like the best breakfast burrito this side of the East River (like most airport-related decisions, the burrito also proved to be good in theory, poor in practice), my swimmy head was almost gone.

I even sobered up enough to strike up a chat with that stereotypical cute blond you always see while sitting at your gate but who never actually ends up sitting next to you. The chat was standard (Where are you from? What do you do? You also had breakfast here? My condolences), but she actually did end up sitting next to me. After a nervous proposal, for fear of coming off like a complete disaster of a human, Jelly Shots were had by all. Was any of it necessary? No, of course not. But it was fun, and responsible-ish.

Mission complete.

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