Thursday, December 24, 2015

What's with all the flavored booze?

The S.O. and I are not particularly into alcohol. We both went through the party hard stage in our misspent youth but never did get into hard liquor much. Oh, there were a few years where I had a strange liking for metaxa but at some point when the bottle I had ran out it never got replaced. Ditto whatever rum or vodka happened to be in the house. At the moment our liquor cabinet, such as it is, holds two bottles: a decanter of Kentucky bourbon that is a zillion years old but still at least 1/4 full and a bottle of cheap tequila. The only time the caps come off either is when a recipe calls for one of them as an ingredient. The Old Fitzgerald gets made into sauce to go with bread pudding; the tequila is used in a grilled chicken recipe. I don't think either of them has ever been consumed as actual booze.

In short, we don't go wandering the aisles in the liquor section of the supermarket very much. We have no reason to. We have, however, noticed a strange trend: flavoring stuff that never used to be flavored. I think it started with vodka, which kind of mystified me. Why buy flavored liquor when the whole point of doing mixed drinks is to mix booze with something like orange juice? And, given all the concerns about people abusing alcohol, why add flavors that would serve only to encourage people to do straight shots? But, okay, I get it. Vodka tastes a lot like kerosene so flavoring might persuade some consumers that the crap was actually drinkable after all.

And then last night the S.O. and I saw an ad that just totally baffled us. Crown Royal Regal Apple. Why on earth would distillers of a premium whiskey feel the need to introduce a flavored product? Have younger consumers gotten so used to everything they drink being loaded with sugar and artificial flavoring? Does everything have to taste like a soft drink? And then there was the Guinness ad. . . that was really strange. I'm still not sure if it was pushing beer flavored whiskey or whiskey flavored beer, but in any case it was odd. Do they think people have become too lazy (or cheap) to drink a boilermaker the old-fashioned way? There is hop-flavored whiskey being sold by a number of distilleries, so maybe boilermakers really have become passe.

Personally, I'm thinking that maybe the flavoring is a distillery's way of getting rid of the stuff that for whatever reason didn't turn out to be as good as it was supposed to be. You know, the swill that failed the quality control tests so really shouldn't be sold at all except maybe as paint remover. But what the heck -- if it's not good enough to sell straight, then dump a lot of spices and artificial flavors in, give it a nifty name, and gullible consumers will buy it. But then I tend to be cynical about marketing in general because all marketing is intended to separate gullible consumers from their money.

I will refrain from speculating too much about a possible relationships between the existence of peach-flavored whiskey (a real thing, unfortunately) and the End Times. It does, however, strike me as being just the sort of abomination that could bring on the Apocalypse. . .


  1. About the only liquor I consume on a regular basis, other than beer, is Aquavit. Just for cultural and medicinal reasons, of course. I would think the best marketing scheme would make everything taste like Mountain Dew. It would encourage under age drinking for growth in the future marketing of whatever crap they want to sell.

  2. I think all the flavored liquors are to cater to the taste of young people who haven's acquired a taste for booze. As the pious claimed about pot: it is a gateway drink to slugging down tequila shots with a lime.

    Young boys will try anything - vodka enemas - but for girls it has to taste like soda, or at least something sweet and exotic.

    Being an iconoclasts (old fart) I think there are too many choices in everything. You pick up a can of tuna and when you get home you find it is 'light tuna' - what the fuck is light tuna??? or salt free.

    The younger generation will be known as the consumer generation - buy a new one - buy a different one...

    It is like texting: I don't get it.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  3. I like a cheap bottle of plain brandy on occasions like this.

  4. I remember an old joke about a guy taking his wife to a bar. He tells the bartender to give them both a shot of whiskey. His wife drinks hers, chokes, sputters and gags and says, "My God, that's terrible!" The guy says, "See, all these years you thought I was having fun!!"

  5. Mixing drinks is only for those who cannot afford good booze. Putting anything in Scotch other than a little water, unless it is JW Red Label is sacrilege. Same with Vodka. Last night we were drinking Nemiroff Red Pepper Vodka, good stuff, straight up, 50 gram shots. I am only good for three which is the polite limit.


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