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Ready To Day Drink: Tastebuds Now Sells Potent Take-Away Cocktails In Plastic Bags

Apr 7, 2020 | 17:16 Tue
There are worthy endeavors, noble efforts to further the human spirit, and then there's this. In times of gloom and despair, Daniel An (Arch, Atelier, Antique) and his co-conspirators have opened a cocktail dispensary a stone's throw from Xintiandi and Found 158, with the express mission of getting people okay with the idea of day drinking. It's called Ready To Drink (RTD for short). It's possibly — think the math checks out — the cheapest way to get tastefully plastered any time of the day.


Daniel and his cronies say they're hoping to ease alcohol into the average Shanghai resident's daily diet. Can't rely on self-medicating foreigners forever, I guess. Apparently their strategy to convert non-drinkers is to put a bar in a mall, and disguise it to look like a future-tech HEYTEA.

Right by the entrance to Theater X and the delightfully mistimed Corona Bar (closed), RTD looks like a rejected Bill Nye set from his alcoholic years. A rotary evaporator, laboratory beakers, and a line of taps enclosed in glass box, manned by a person in an actual flight suit, look like they're doing rocket science in there.

It's not rocket science! It's My First Alcochemistry Set. The taps run six juices ("Bitter Sweet," "Pink Grapefruit," "Bubble Aloe," etc.), each 25rmb for a cup, which you can then spike for an additional 10rmb. Add Jalapeno Tequila to your Pink Grapefruit, or Earl Grey infused gin in the Rose Cranberry, unless you'd prefer Kaffir Lemon Gin instead. There are between one and five options for each. You could call it "how I mix drinks at home" but dressed up with beakers, fancy infusions and a touch-screen to order from, it becomes "modular mixology."

The recipes are rejiggered, replacing fresh citrus with citric acid, for example, but at 35rmb for a regular cup, it's a cost-effective to enjoy Tastebuds-quality (read: "good") drinks. Still not the cheapest way to get drunk at RTD. This is where the plastic bags come in. The other half of the concept is pre-made cocktails that might be familiar to fans of An's other spots, like the Shanghai Mule or the Coffee Negroni (weighing in at a doughty 22% ABV). They all come in vacuum-sealed 100ml plastic sleeves — just under the limit for, just saying, airport security — and at 25rmb each, are dirt cheap. With Windows Scoreboard upstairs and this place on the ground floor, Theatre X is now my go-to spot to get hammered on a budget.

Sorry Family Mart. You keep running out of Jameson.

I'm not sure that's going to catch on with the people they hope it will. Although, God, if there was ever a good year to start day drinking regularly, 2020 would be it.


RTD is launching a miniprogram on April 8, which will, of course, include delivery. Find it by searching "RTD" in WeChat.


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