Monday, October 22, 2007

The New Milk

I could never be confused as a man’s man.
I was relatively short until my mid teens, and even as an adult I have small hands and feet and a slight build. I had a squeamishness of dirt and muck when I was young, a fact often pointed out by my family when I visited my great Gran’s farm, and I’ve never been interested in sports or cars. I’ve only been in one real fight, and that was with my dad, but he was pretty drunk so I don’t think it counts.
I also had little time for beer, as growing up I saw booze solely as a vehicle to drunkenness, and therefore was not interested in the taste of the liquids in question, especially when they tasted of stale dog’s piss. Luckily, my teenhood coincided with the great British introduction of the alcopop, allowing me to sup a tipple without resorting to spirits and mixers, seeing as spirits are absolutely vile and taste like the poison they are. To this day I don’t see the attraction of any alcoholic drink as a drink in and of itself, devoid of the inebriating affects, and I can’t help but believe that teenage boy after teenage boy inures himself to the foul taste of beer and lager as part initiation rite, part peer pressure and part machismo posturing. Thousands upon thousands of men will argue that they enjoy a beer for the drink itself, vast industries and even festivals are devoted to beer as if to underline the legitimacy of the beverage, but how do you argue that you are excluded from social conditioning? “Oh not me, I actually like the taste”.
Even wine, some variations of which could realistically be described as potable, has embedded itself within a vast web of self-conscious maturity, as so-called connoisseurs whip up in a frenzy about the myriad tastes and textures for what is a drunkenness tool. Sure, you may prefer a certain flavour to convey you to the point of pissed, but that’s all it is.

I am probably coming at this with a skewed vision however, as I don’t see the fuss in food and drink and don’t get excited by it. Of course I prefer some tastes to others, but given the choice I could do without the bother of eating. Most of the time it’s a chore that I have to get through in order to continue functioning, and I often put off meals until later because I can’t be bothered with the preparation.
At times I feel like an atheist in a world of believers – I don’t really believe in food.

But that’s another topic for another day.

Ironically enough this topic came up thanks to a flavour that I do enjoy.
I posted last year about the limited edition diet Vanilla Coke, lamenting its demise, when recently I came across a vanilla flavoured Absolut vodka. Of course I have known about flavoured vodkas for years, but as they do not tend to be stocked down the local supermarket, and I haven’t been as interested in drunkenness for some years, I never sought out such a thing before.
I happened upon the stuff while looking for something else, and decided it might be a decent substitute when mixed with diet Coke, with the added value of tipsiness. At this point I had already been on the hunt for cream soda, and specifically a diet variant, to fill my vanilla coke hole, but I had been stumped at every newsagent and supermarket until I came across Sainsbury’s own brand stuff.
Not a match on what I wanted, but it was close enough to bring the memories a touch more vividly to the surface.
Needless to say I set about my Absolut/Coke mixing with some mild excitement, and this is what happened.

Here are the ingredients with which I hope to resurrect the soul of Vanilla Coke, even if it is a shambling, undead version of the glory it once was.

Diet Coke you know, the non-sugar variant of the world’s most widely known beverage after water, and a poster-boy for global capitalism.

The Diet Cream Soda is a Sainsbury’s own brand, and purports to have ‘only natural flavours’, self-consciously jumpiing on the current organic/carbon neutral etc. band wagon. As I’ve said it’s been hard enough to find any Cream Soda, let a lone a diet variety, so it really has no competition in my search for sugar-free vanilla-pop.

Absolut Vanilla is Absolut vodka, with vanilla in it, and neat it’s probably the only spirit I can keep down, but still not an experience I’d enjoy repeating. There’s something perversely enjoyable in the feeling of spirits burning the throat, but being no fan of vomiting I don’t want to take the risk.

First up: Absolut Vanilla with Diet Coke.

This is a hard one, as I don’t want to use too much vodka. True, I’m a wuss, but also too much vodka will make the mix too alcoholic and therefore ruin the desired affect. As it is, even with this small measure of vodka, the taste is evident in amongst the coke, and the vanilla flavour is perhaps too natural, too sweet, to bring back the memories. It reminds me more of vanilla ice cream than vanilla coke, but even then the vanilla taste is still sweeter than a coke float – perhaps because there is less dilution?
Not what I was after, then, but nevertheless an effective way of getting vodka down you very, very quickly.

Second up: Diet Coke and diet cream soda.

As neither of these is likely to be dominant, I feel it’s safe to go for a 50/50 mix as we want both flavours present.
Unfortunately, this tastes just like the Absolut and coke, only without any alcoholic kick. The sweetness is a little softer, but it’s still far from whichever dark chemical the Coca-cola company saw fit to brew up. It probably doesn’t help that I already feel a little tipsy from my one drink, I could probably be out-drunk by 12 year olds at this point.
But no, the cream soda taste is fairly strong and is clearly eclipsing the coke, and yet if I balanced the mixture in the coke’s favour then I risk dwindling the vanilla input, which defeats the whole purpose of this jaunt.

Third and final: Coke overcomes the cream.

A mix more in favour of coke may help, but I didn’t hold out much hope. And actually, it’s just weak, a dilution of each half, this is the worst of both worlds.

For the moment I’ll just have to hope that Coke get bored with their orange variant and bring back the vanilla to its needy public.

And now you can see that, rather than living alone in order to avoid other people, it is more my selfless gift to everyone.

Here’s a Kids in the Hall sketch that I think is relevant at this juncture. Despite tonnes of KITH clips on the ubiquitous Youtube this particular one has been pulled by The Man, so it has to be a link rather than an embed, I’m sorry to say. Clicky!

Girl drink drunk