Anyone who has the misfortune of knowing me personally knows that if there is one thing in this world I can’t live without, it’s women who have no qualms about displaying cleavage. But if there’s anything else besides that, it’s pop, of which, I swear, I drink easily six hundred gallons of Diet Pepsi a day. Some day on the autopsy table they’ll crack me open and look at the inside of my stomach, and it’s going to look like the carcass from Alien before Sigourney Weaver tossed a mortar shell in there. That was Alien, right?
Anyway, I decided to take a long look at any drinks available for me that are not of the carbonated nature since some day when I actually go to a doctor and he tells me that I either give up soda pop or die, I will have an alternative than waking up one day with my insides hollowed out.
7. Sweet Tea
The cause celebre of the south—you know, besides Nascar and slavery—is sweet tea, a cheaply made beverage that overly defensive southerners will proclaim to the heavens above to be the single greatest drink ever concocted. The one and only time I ever drank sweet tea I immediately deduced its secret recipe: 1) one part non-fluoridated water (don’t want to be a communist, now); and 2) about six billion parts raw sugar. I’m not a big tea drinker myself—I still want to show those limeys a thing or two—so perhaps it’s an acquired taste that is lost on me. Though I doubt it; I just think most southerners need something strong to wash the taste of Vicksburg out of their mouth.
6. Off-Brand Energy Drink
I’ve already detailed my adventures with Red Bull elsewhere, so in the interest of product diversity (and not paying two bucks for sugar water with ginseng) I have sampled a rather large variety of different energy drinks, all with completely insane names that have little to do with the beverage industry, the ingredients, or, for that matter, anything about energy at all. I’m not a fan, since the stuff tastes like I’m drinking liquid aluminum and as I’m drinking it I can actually feel my prostate expanding to the size of a cantaloupe.
5. Pink Lemonade
This actually includes all those –ades that don’t actually, you know, exist. Things like limeade and orangeade (which I kind of assumed was, you know, orange juice, but I was wrong, so terribly, terribly wrong…) and other artificially created drinks. I also include the incredibly odd Gatorade, which for all its bravado of being the ultimate sports drink is able to replace electrolytes and whatever nonsense it is athletes think it is they need is actually just salt and table sugar and some five year old thinking up a variety of names that vaguely sound like activity-related concepts even though they all pretty much taste like watered-down Hawaiian Punch.
4. Vitamin Water
Seriously. Everything that Gatorade is, vitamin water is even less off. Unless the “less of” ingredient is “water,” which there’s a lot more of. I’m not sure if they just make Citrus Flash Gatorade then dump about a thousand gallons of water in the vat then sell it, or if they just get a thousand-gallon vat and dump one bottle of Citrus Flash Gatorade in there. Either way, they’re making a ton of money labeling tap water with a slight taste of whatever was in the cup last and a dissolvable Centrum AD to pass the FCC’s rigorous labeling regulations.
3. Little Hugs
I know different parts of the country call these things by different names, but their content is unmistakable. The recipe is as follows:
1) Get some sugar
2) Pour this sugar in a plastic jug shaped like a barrel
3) Throw some food coloring in there
4) Add varying amounts of water, so the consumer is either going to get colored water with no taste, or thick raw syrup that suspends dramatically in a nearly solid form as it slowly drips into their mouth
5) Slap labels on them with different “flavors.” This is for cosmetic purposes only.
Seriously, the variation on these things is crazy, and it’s like the world’s most diabetic lottery.
For some unknown reason I always thought sarsaparilla was a product of our Southern neighbors. I’m not certain why; probably some long-forgotten association with mint juleps and cotillions. Imagine my surprise when I find that the glorious refreshment known as sarsaparilla was actually a thoroughly WASPish concoction, meandering from the historical blue-blood neighborhoods of the mid-Atlantic all the way to the western part of the mid-Atlantic area. Basically, it’s root beer for those who want to stand on street corners playing checkers in a barrel of horehound bulk candy with elderly men and feel it necessary to radiate a self-assured sense of pretension. Still, it’s good.
It’s also carbonated, which should disqualify it for this list, but I forgot, so it stays.
1. Coffee That Is Actually Candy
I’m looking at you, marble mocha macchiato with coconut shavings and low fat soy milk. Why low fat? Seriously, why bother? There are more calories in that “coffee” than the entire defined jurisdiction of Hershey, PA, and you’re suddenly worried about fourteen seconds into placing that order that maybe you shouldn’t be depriving some Zambian kid of an additional two months of survival just so you can drink something that is maybe 10% better than that packet of freeze dried Chase & Sanborn that fell behind your basement cupboard during your bicentennial celebrations. But at least you’re paying the average GDP per person for it, so that makes you feel oh so much better, no?