Miles Teller Explains the Appeal of a Decades-Old Finnish Cocktail
The actor tells us how he fell in love with The Long Drink
“I’m gonna have to send six-packs in Ubers to my friends’ houses to keep ‘em hydrated in these quarantine times.”
Miles Teller is following the same stay-at-home orders we all are. But the actor (Whiplash, Top Gun: Maverick) is using his downtime wisely: he’s ramping up hype for the The Finnish Long Drink, a new canned cocktail with a decades-old backstory. There’s also a good chance he’s doing it with no pants on: turns out “pantsdrunk” — drinking in your underpants, more or less — is both a very real Finnish tradition and the new marketing strategy for the Long Drink.
Last year, Teller became co-owner of the new ready-to-drink cocktail, which is now available in four varieties. It’s a fruity, gin-based beverage that’s sessionable while being fairly high in ABV. My impression? They’re all good, with the original flavor resembling something akin to a gin paloma or a carbonated greyhound. We were especially fond of the Zero version, a rare low-cal take on a drink that actually replicates the original without cloying.
The backstory on the Long Drink is that Teller happened upon the drink while hanging out with friends in New York. Smitten, he eventually met up with the founders (Ere Partanen, Sakari Manninen, Mikael Taipale and Evan Burns) and soon took an interest — and a financial interest — in the fledgling brand.
As for the recipe itself, “long drink” originated when the Finnish government needed to create something refreshing, quick and easy to distribute for visitors to the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. Long drink, which is made with grapefruit, gin and juniper berries, is what they came up with.
We called up Teller during the quarantine to get a better idea of what he’s drinking … and how that #pantsdrunk buzz is going.
InsideHook: Did you want to get into the spirits industry?
Miles Teller: I constantly turn down endorsements. And when this came along, I wasn’t looking for anything. When I tried it for the first time, the founders were just getting the ball rolling. I actually came to them and said, “How can I be a part of this?” It was all serendipitous.
And now you’re a co-owner.
Which is great! I don’t really get paid, but I do enjoy it.
What made you like the founders so much?
It was a gut feeling. I like them. They left everything behind in Finland, their friends, girlfriends and family, to go do this and make a seven-day-a-week job and go around the country and introduce this to bar owners. I really appreciate that.
Were you a fan of canned cocktails?
Well, the hard seltzer thing, it has a time and place for me. But I’ll drink to whatever the situation is; I’ve got a wide palate. I also love beer, but I have to stay in shape.
But the canned cocktail wasn’t anything I was really curious about. It’s hard to replicate drinks you like in a can. But they’re convenient and millennials want instant gratification, so you gotta give ‘em what they want!
I’ve also never been a big gin guy, but I was a fan of greyhounds [a grapefruit-based cocktail with either vodka or gin]. This drink, though, it gave me a premium buzz when I tried it (laughs). The first one I ever tried went down pretty good. A few more, and I actually felt like it was a refreshing drink. I kind of see these as thirst quenchers.
Describe that buzz.
It’s a frickin’ Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, mother of invention type of buzz! It’s a feel good thing, and it also feels hydrating. My buddy who’s an ex-bartender thinks a gin kick is supposed to be the best buzz.
You went to Finland for the first time last year. What did you do while you were there?
I had a bunch of long drinks. We also did karaoke and we went to the sauna. Did you know they have saunas in some of the nicer restaurants? But it was like 30 degrees out, so we’d get in these really hot saunas then go outside and jump in the Baltic Sea. I did that for hours.
What I really liked about Finland is that everyone seemed to be in the same socioeconomic middle class. Everyone was working from the same means, and there was no rich or poor way of living. And everyone seems to have a small cottage where they can get away. I really appreciate that. It was beautiful.
How do you usually drink when you’re back home?
I used to hit up a lot more bars, but I got a house recently. I’m slowly turning a dining area into a bar, much to my wife’s chagrin. And I just like to hang with a couple of buddies I’ve had since I was a teenager.
Do you have a favorite in the Long Drink line?
Love the cranberry one. The light one doesn’t lose any taste and the strong version is … well, that black can should come with a cautionary tale about what somebody did when they had too many. So I’d maybe start with the original.
A lot of celebrities have been getting into the booze business. How do you think you’ll separate your product from theirs?
I think people are tired of being advertised to or sold to, especially on social media. I don’t even have Instagram! And, again, I’m not getting paid to do this. I hope to build a certain trust with fans and have a reliability and dependability associated with my name. I’m very involved with this. I care about this as much as any movie or anything else I put my name to. So I’m very comfortable being in front of this.
My friends, who would be the first to say, “This is shit, Miles,” they like it and ask me to send them some. So for me, this is personal.