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- Dating online can be awkward even in the best of times, but especially while social distancing.
- Online dating platform Hinge paired with Uncommon Goods to create a virtual date kit to enhance connections.
- Inside, you’ll find cocktail ingredients and conversation starters to enjoy while on video chat.
Online dating can be a learning curve even in the best of times, but during social distancing that long list of date ideas can slowly dwindle down into video chats and walks outside. Luckily, online dating platform Hinge recently partnered with Uncommon Goods to create a Virtual Date Night Kit that helps singles swipe, share, and say goodbye to their profiles that much quicker.
For $30, you and your date will receive a box filled with conversation starters and a make-your-own cocktail kit that includes mixology tools and three recipes to follow. It’s a unique activity for two that you can enjoy while on FaceTime or Zoom.
“Throughout the pandemic, our goal has been to help our community continue their dating life in safe and fun ways,” said Logan Ury, Hinge’s director of relationship science. “Two out of three users have felt a growing connection with someone they met over video chat, and partnering with Uncommon Goods to help singles have a shared experience over video was the perfect collaboration.”
The pandemic and all its associated awkwardness hasn’t stopped folks from dating, in fact, Hinge has experienced recent growth, which is in part what led to the inspiration for this kit. According to Ury, Hinge saw a 63% increase in downloads globally and a 14% increase in dates compared to 2019.
As someone who met their boyfriend on Hinge amid the pandemic (we’ve now been dating for nine months), I was instantly curious about the Hinge x Uncommon Goods collaboration. My boyfriend and I wanted to take note of how the kit measured up to our on-app experience. Though we’ve already covered most of the first, second, and third date topics, the Virtual Date Night Kit let us mix things up, literally, with a build-your-own mixology kit and activity. We assessed the quality of the cocktail ingredients, the conversation starters, and pretended how it would be to experience as a first date if we took a time machine back to June 2020.
Whether it’s your first time communicating without message bubbles or you’ve been in a year-long relationship, the Hinge x Uncommon Goods Date Night Kit is a fun and fresh way to connect.
How it works
Let’s start with the basics. The kit includes the following:
You can purchase the kit here. They are buy-one, get-one, exclusive of shipping for each order. Alcohol is not included.
Once the “date planner” orders their kit, Uncommon Goods will e-mail them a unique redemption code to share with their date. This means no mailing addresses have to be exchanged between the two singles.
The second person on the date will then order their kit by entering their redemption code at checkout, where it says “Uncommon Credits.” Within a week, both singles will receive their kit.
Our review of the Hinge x Uncommon Goods Virtual Date Night Kit
Even though I just turned 21, my boyfriend and I opted for the mocktail version (that is, omitting either rum, tequila, or vodka from our mixed drinks). I appreciated that the included recipe pamphlet – which also has the nine conversation starters on the flipside – labels alcohol as “optional” and outlines steps to skip if a mocktail is desired. Hinge x Uncommon Goods definitely gets brownie points for being inclusive of singles’ diverse preferences, whether they don’t drink alcohol or are a social drinker.
The kit categorizes three different cocktails for the type of date night ambiance you want to create with your new connection:
My boyfriend and I have since advanced from the virtual-only dating scene, but we thought it best to try the “More Than a Mule” drink because it sounded like something many folks would prefer for a first date.
The mini potion-like bottles of ginger-lime simple syrup and lime bitters made me feel like a bartending pro, and I liked how the kit amped up the typical crack-open-a-bottle experience. The opportunity to virtually create and mix a drink with your date makes for an easy way to beat the awkward silences that typically accompany Zoom dates.
Though the kit was a throwback to mine and my boyfriend’s first few days on the app, I was a bit disappointed with the lack of instruction on the kit’s outside label. To make testing it as realistic as possible, we opened the box virtually on the night we wanted to try the activity. As we were concocting and mixing, we realized that we both didn’t have lime juice on hand. I recently ran out of orange juice in my refrigerator as well – an ingredient to make the other two drinks in the recipe pamphlet – so I had no other choice but to make the “More Than a Mule” drink. And, even for that recipe, I substituted the lime juice for lemon juice, which turned out to be pretty delicious. Thankfully, I was fully stocked on club soda.
My boyfriend and I didn’t use the stainless steel jiggers because we mixed up a mocktail, but they would be useful if creating a cocktail. The included drink stirrers were a nice touch as well.
To top it all off, we appreciated the dried lime slices to feel like we were at a tiki bar. They made our small glasses look dynamite and, if you’re a lover of all things citrus, you can munch on them, too.
An overview of the conversation starters
As someone who loves finding getting-to-know-you questions online and playing them with my friends and family, the fact that this kit only includes nine conversation starters was kind of a letdown. Sure, if you’re getting to know someone, one question can slowly turn into a half-hour discussion on your cherished memories and favorite sitcoms. But, because my boyfriend and I adored The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D., on our video chats sprinkled throughout the week, we weren’t huge fans of the handful included with the kit.
Even though the $30 cost covers you and your date, it would have been nice to see more questions for the price. Regardless, it’s still a great concept and it was a great way to lead the discussion throughout the evening.
Should you buy it?
Buying the kit depends much on preference, how long you anticipate the video chat being, and most importantly – planning ahead. Since it takes about a week to ship, you’re going to have to keep the conversation going, whether it be on-app messaging, social media communication, or personal phone number exchanges.
It was nice to see a dating app go above and beyond the typical video chat or on-app prompts. However, opening your favorite bottle of wine and perhaps purchasing The Book of Questions makes for a similar experience.
I recommend this kit solely for privacy reasons. If you want to treat a potential suitor to an enjoyable, lighthearted date but aren’t up for meeting in person just yet, this is a great option. No shared addresses means you have more flexibility when it comes to establishing boundaries in the early stages of getting to know each other.
The bottom line
While it was exciting to receive my Hinge Virtual Dating Kit in the mail, the $30 price point for nine questions and no alcohol included doesn’t give me a strong push to recommend it. Again, if keeping personal information, like your address, private is of high priority, definitely go for it. It’s a great business model to help aid online daters, but it’s not all that necessary – unless you’re really wanting to do a hands-on activity, like mixing drinks, virtually.
Pros: Amplifies the online dating experience, includes conversation starters to get to know your date, no sharing of addresses required
Cons: Doesn’t include alcohol and some other ingredients for cocktails, not many conversation starters