They were taunting me, all six of them. A pack of low-key elegant, matte pastel Recess cans just sitting there on my desk, looking like the sunset-hued cure to everything that ails me. All my stresses; all my New York City lady doin’ it for herself woes. My looming deadlines? My Bumble conversations? The unpaid bills?
The cans contained the clarity I needed. I was sure of it.
So there at my desk, in the middle of a coworking space in the middle of the day, in Midtown Manhattan—I cracked one open.
Produced in New York’s Hudson Valley, Recess is one of the trendiest (and for sure the most “millennially” packaged) luxury carbonated beverages of the moment. Each can is infused with 10 mg of hemp extract, aka CBD, and costs about $5.
Yes, largely unproven claims be damned, CBD is still here to save us all, and look cool doing it.
I went for the pomegranate hibiscus flavor first—something about the deep coral hue of the can piped up just a little louder than the others. Right below the description of what exactly Recess is—“sparkling water infused with hemp extract and adaptogens”—I found what I was after. “Calm cool collected,” its tagline reads. As I was, at that moment, desperately trying to find the motivation to finish a story about leather jackets (maybe you read it?) it seemed like as good a time as any to put that catchphrase to the test.
I poured the pretty, fizzy pink drink over ice, put on one of Spotify’s “Focus” playlists and opened the still barren Google doc. I sipped and wrote, sipped and wrote. The drink was so damn delicious—tart, sweet, effervescent—I found myself wishing I had more long before I reached my final graf. But, I figured the faster I drank, the sooner I’d arrive at “calm cool collected.”
Recess claims its ingredients will make you feel “not tired, not wired.” The hemp extract is supposed to calm the mind and center the body, while ginseng (200 mg per can) aids in focus and improves your memory. 130 mg of L-theanine reduces stress. (Don’t worry, I’d never heard of L-theanine either, it’s basically an amino acid that’s often combined with caffeine to enhance your cognitive abilities and can improve your sleep! Nice!)
So essentially, this is a drink designed to help you feel… Slightly better than normal. And you know what? I did feel slightly better than normal! I’d had a delicious little treat of a beverage and was able to write the shit out of that leather jacket article. There was no buzz, no frantic energy, and no signs of that gloomy “I just can’t” mindset that seems to set in when I have an outstanding deadline in the middle of the afternoon. I did not feel tired, I did not feel wired, and I turned in the article on time!
A few days later, I popped a can of peach ginger Recess in my tote bag before heading home from work. It was unseasonably warm for the beginning of March, and I was feeling frisky. When I got home, I flung open my patio door, plugged in the string lights that line the fence and put Golden Hour on my Sonos.
With Kacey’s chill vibes taking over the apartment, I set to making myself a cocktail. Without much effort or forethought, I ended up with a shot of vodka, a splash of Aperol, and half a can of Recess in a mason jar (obvi) over ice. I topped the whole thing off with some 2-day-old champagne I found in the fridge and took my bubbly orange elixir out to the patio.
Guys. That drink—which I’ve coined “The Slow Burn,” natch—f*cked me up. About halfway through, I guess I was singing along so loudly to “Velvet Elvis” that my neighbor came along and very forcefully shut their window. I retaliated by making myself a cheese plate to luxuriously nibble on between belting along the chorus to “Space Cowboy.”
Later, I ordered six tacos from Otto’s Tacos and ate them while watching at least four episodes of Schitt’s Creek. Looking back, everything I did that evening felt like a sunset-tinged, perfectly soundtracked, light breeze of a dream. I wasn’t buzzed, but I was in a pleasant state of buzzy relaxation.
Listen. A can of Recess costs $5, which is probably still less than you’d spend on a rail liquor cocktail at happy hour. And I just noticed those gorgeous, colorful cans in the fridge at my local bodega. A sales rep was sampling little jello shot-sized cups of Recess at the grocery store up the block. It’s right there next to the coconut water at my yoga studio. At least in New York—I’m pretty sure Recess is about to be a thing. (So far you can only buy it IRL in the Northeast, but you can shop online and ship anywhere.)
So go for it, I say! Again, there’s little science to back up the benefits Recess is supposed to deliver, because cannabis is so heavily regulated by the government. (Adaptogens are a murky-yet-trendy category, too). But friends, I don’t really care. I enjoyed drinking it, I felt good, I got my work done, and I’d do it all again any day.
Think if it like a luxury La Croix with benefits—you get the pleasing fizzy drink and a jolt of mental clarity. I should probably have one or two while I do my taxes next month, now that I think of it...