Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us. As of this writing, tracking numbers indicate that cases are on the rise in Canada, and have been for some time. The hope is still that precautions and vaccinations will curb the spread, but for now things are still not “back to normal.” In some respects, we are handing the situation better now than we did a year ago. We understand the precautions, and those who make the decision to be responsible can follow them with relative ease. This includes knowing how to socialize and enjoy leisure activity without necessarily getting together with others in person. Even if we’ve figured out how to socialize remotely though, there are never too many ways to get together for a drink with friends. And since those “Zoom happy hours” have grown a bit stale, we thought we’d suggest a few fresh ideas to help people get through the next few months. Whether you’re trying our Poppin’ Merlot Sangria, whipping up some Irish Cream Inspired Dessert Coffee, or just cracking open beers, consider some of the following as fun ways to share a beverage over digital space. 1. Play Games (With Headsets) Video games became go-to solutions for social activity early on the pandemic, and it’s no wonder why. They give people a ready-made, thoroughly enjoyable way to get together over distance. Furthermore, today’s multiplayer gaming landscape seems to have something for everyone. Alongside the standard adventure, shooting, and sports games, CNET recently highlighted games across a range of fun genres that are built for multiplayer. Looking through these games (Scrabble GO, Animal Crossing, Among Us, The Escape Game….) it’s clear that you can basically pick and choose what kind of gaming experience you want to have. But once you’re in a game with friends, and you have headsets on to communicate while you play, you can enjoy a casual drink and hang out as long as you like. 2. Hop Into a Bingo Room Bingo may make you think of your grandparents’ community home, or perhaps a cruise you took as a kid, but in online circles the game has been updated in distinctly modern ways. Gala Bingo demonstrates the cutting edge of what the category has become, with rooms like “I (Heart) Bingo Beats,” “Deal Or No Deal Bingo,” and even “Prosecco” — all of which work vibrant visuals, background themes, and even audio pacing into bingo games. Friends can now find bingo rooms like these across the internet and jump into them together to enjoy a bit of playful gaming. Some bingo rooms have built-in chat rooms to facilitate hangouts, but you can also run a side chat and share some banter and drinks remotely while you play. 3. Watch a Film The idea of watching a film (or streaming a TV show) with friends over distance actually came about just before the pandemic. It was initially a Netflix feature in Google Chrome. Over the course of the pandemic though, we saw this concept evolve to the point that there are now multiple platforms that enable friends to get together and pick something to watch at the same time. It makes it easy to really do the activity together, and in some cases there’s even a chat box on the side enabling groups to chat about what they’re watching (or anything else they like) in real time. There aren’t too many more enjoyable ways to pour a drink and link up with buddies over the internet. 4. Take a Course This is less of a “ready-made” activity, but it’s still something you and some friends can arrange together over cocktails. The idea comes from the simple fact that there are now all kinds of fun classes you can take online. Whether it’s a Masterclass course on visual art, a YouTube series that teaches cooking, or anything else of the kind, you and your friends may be able to have quite a lot of fun going through it together — chatting and drinking on the side, of course. 5. Do Some Trivia Trivia has also been a popular activity throughout the pandemic, to the point that there are now multiple prominent trivia games people are relying on online. Whatever game or game platform you choose though — Jackbox Games, Houseparty, or even a Zoom breakout — this remains a fun and surprisingly natural way to hang out across distance. It’s not quite the real pub trivia many of us can’t wait to get back to, but it’s not a bad simulation. Hopefully this has given you one or two new ideas to try! Hopefully virtual hangouts won’t be necessary too much longer. In the meantime though, stay safe, try to have some fun, and check back at EATABLE.com now and then to catch a fun new drink recipe!