My father is a well-known gadget man. The kitchen of my suburban childhood home is full of odd-looking (often Kickstarter-funded) contraptions, including a hole-punching cherry pitter, a Strategist-approved herb stripper, and — my personal favorite — a flat-folding juicer, so I thought I’d seen it all. But a few months ago, while visiting my parents for dinner, I discovered a peculiar new device in the drawer under my dad’s bar counter: A chunk of plastic about the size of a Ouija-board planchette with spring-loaded “wings” on the sides. On the back there was a QR code and a question: “Need help?”
A quick scan linked me to a 60-second YouTube video, where I learned this tool is called the Draft Top Lift, and it’s designed to remove the entire top of aluminum cans. So I gave it a go on 12 ounces of Canada Dry, and within seconds I was sipping my favorite pop from, essentially, an open metal cup.
The Draft Top Lift is sort of like a fancy can opener with a rotational blade that sits inside the rim of the can to cut and lift out the top — pull tab and all. You position it over the can with one hand, holding the base of the can with the other. (If you hold the can in the middle, you risk crushing it and causing your drink to overflow.) Then you squeeze the spring-loaded handles and twist it all the way around until you feel the top separate. There’s sort of a learning curve to how much force to use, but as long as you gently cradle the base of the can in your palm, you can pause or adjust your grip as needed. Once the opener is turned counter-clockwise for at least 360 degrees, you simply pull up — true to its name, the Lift lifts the top out of the can to be recycled, leaving you with uninhibited access to your beverage of choice.
Yes, I too was worried about nicking my mouth on the edge of the can. But after cautiously risking injury by running my finger around the brim, I was impressed by how dull it felt. Each time I repeated this touch test on a new can, the opener had created a surprisingly smooth edge.
I was so taken with the newness of drinking from a wide-open can that I ordered my own Draft Top within a few days. Not only does it make a great party trick, but it has elevated the flavor profile of all sorts of beverages. Who knew that getting a big whiff of what you’re drinking could so drastically change how it tastes? Plus going lidless makes it easy to garnish La Croix with sliced orange, add ice to a lukewarm Diet Coke, or mix gin into Schweppes tonic water. Best of all, the Draft Top has let me overcome my ultimate Midwesterner fear of gulping down a yellow jacket that has found its way inside my syrupy soda. (No more turning your tab around as a safeguard against sugar-seeking vespids.)
Now I take it nearly everywhere — it’s lightweight and inconspicuous enough to carry in my tote bag for picnics at the park or inside my purse for outdoor sporting events. At my family’s first spring barbecue this year, we even used the handy Lift to eliminate Solo cups. And forget about breakable beer bottles at the beach or on the pool deck; this works on tall boys up to 16 ounces and slimmer eight-ounce coolers. Call me a can convert — as long as I can saw the top off first.
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