Paul Scheer, who has a recurring role on VEEP this season, along with his mixology partner-in-crime, award-winning bartender Pam Wiznitzer celebrated the launch of 1893’s two new flavors – Black Currant and Citrus Cola at The Dead Rabbit in New York City.

Paul channeled his best Tom Cruise impersonation, serving guests modern interpretations of cola-based cocktails made with 1893, Pepsi’s newest beverage line, inspired from the company’s earliest recipes (dating back to 1893).

Paul was shaking and serving guests behind the bar with Pam, blending to perfection the 1893 Kalimotxo (Spanish red wine and 1893 Original Cola) from a porron, a Spanish traditional glass wine pitcher, as well as building everyone’s favorite, the Moscow Mule with 1893 Ginger Cola.

Chilled spoke with Pam about mixing with 1893 sodas.

Talk to us about the new 1893 flavors, Black Currant and Citrus.

The new Black Currant and Citrus flavors are very exciting for 1893. The idea is to show to how the kola nut, as opposed to the idea of kola flavor, can work well with other ingredients (in this instance, fruit) to create a dynamic cola offering. Both new varieties add distinct nuances to a drink allowing you to get creative. With the addition of Black Currant Cola and Citrus Cola, the range of 1893 opens a new door into the next generation of colas, from the spiciness of the Ginger Cola and the robustness of the Original Cola to the Black Currant, which I find tends to be really great when mixing with rye in a highball. The Citrus works so nicely with mezcal or tequila.

Tell us about the growing trend of top-shelf modifiers.

In this day and age in bars, we are constantly looking for ways to make cocktails exciting. I am also seeing large success with the highball, a drink that is two ingredients mixed together. Putting soda in guns saves bartenders a lot of time but sometimes the quality is not necessarily the same as something coming out of a really nice bottle or can. We want to ensure that there is quality, so we are looking for products that have great ingredients or are craft. It’s nice to have new offerings for the soda or pop category, ones that are really great to mix with and have base ingredients you can really stand behind.

What would you like bartenders to know about mixing with 1893 sodas?

I have always mixed with sodas. I make a Ramos Gin Fizz variation with root beer on my menu at Seamstress. I have made sodas the base of cocktails and built the ingredients around the flavor profiles. I think we should not be afraid to use soda as a really great additive to a cocktail. I think when it is utilized correctly, whether that be as soda itself, potentially reducing it down to a syrup, using it to soak garnishes or crystallizing it, cola can add a lot of really great flavors and creativity to a drink. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about soda in drinks. Hopefully we are past that pretentiousness nowadays. Using sodas that are more sugar-based instead of corn syrup really does have a flavor change. I have found it really fun to work with as a product.

Talk to us a bit about the cocktail recipes you have created.

I tried to create a wide assortment of recipes along with my 1893 Top-Shelf bartenders from across the country. We were tasked with the idea of taking the four flavors of 1893 and pushing the boundaries in styles of drinks whether that be a different style of highball to seven ingredient cocktails that have a wow factor. For me, I wanted to hone in on a few classics alongside ideas that are really new and innovative that people will enjoy. I worked alongside trends of drinking from across America, focusing on whiskey cocktails and agave cocktails and incorporating ingredients you can find at home to make sure these are recipes that can be replicated in your own kitchen.

The intimate gathering celebrated 1893’s new unique flavors and their ability to be enjoyed as a delicious stand-alone beverage or as the perfect enhancement for top-shelf cocktails. The new line brings together premium ingredients and more than 100 years of cola-making expertise to present a great-tasting fusion of the past and present. Inspired by the original recipes created in 1893 by Pepsi founder Caleb Bradham, 1893 is a bold blend of premium kola nut extract, real sugar, and sparkling water, with four current flavors: Original, Ginger, Black Currant, and Citrus. The event demonstrated that a premium spirit is best enjoyed with a premium cola.