Smirnoff Tuscan Lemonade, as reviewed by Tuscany
Hello, my friends. It is I, Tuscany.
Yes! Tuscany, the well-known region of Italy. I speak to you directly now, the embodiment of all the beautiful culture, geography, and architecture spread out across 23,000 square kilometers and several thousand years of history! Indeed, I am the anthropomorphic personification of all those things, reaching out to you through the internet. Truly, it must be a great pleasure for you to meet me.
Ha ha ha! I kid with you. It is just my way of joking: Of course it is a great pleasure for you to meet me. Naturally! I am the birthplace of the Renaissance! Waypoint for pilgrims and center of trade in the Mediterranean for many ages! And most importantly — did you not know that I, Tuscany, am the new Provence? Indeed it is so! There was a time when Provence went from an understandably-appreciated gem to an over-hyped, highly-romanticized, tourist-crushed cliché; but now, it is Tuscany’s turn!
Do you doubt me? Perhaps you are not a fan of the works of a certain American super-star by the name of… Diane Lane?
I trust I need say nothing more. If this star of stage and screen and cosmetics commercials for older middle-aged women cannot convince you, then there is very little we have to say to each other. After all, the capitol of Tuscany is Florence, a hub of culture, history and art for hundreds of years. What do the French have to offer? Marseille?
Ha ha ha ha, of course, I do not mean to be so cruel. Of course, France features several beautiful places, including Paris, the city so nice that they surrendered it at least twice. But is it Tuscany? Does it bring life and love back to Diane Lane’s broken heart, in the form of a disembodied arm offering sunflowers? Let us not kid ourselves.
But I have not summoned the incredible magical spirit to personify myself in the form of a blog post just to discuss the fine, exciting career of Diane Lane (though did you see her in Unfaithful? Damnation!). Rather, I have manifested myself specifically to address a most unsettling development, one presents the greatest threat to the reputation of this region since General Mills first brainstormed the concept of Tuscan (later changed to “Toucan” after a lengthy law suit) Sam.
Yes, I am referring to Smirnoff Tuscan Lemonade, Flavored With Real Limoncello.
Before I go on, permit me to offer a few words of background on the topic of Limoncello.
- Yes, limoncello comes from Italy.
- Yes, it is a liqueur that is made from lemons — and also sugar, 96% alcohol, water and that’s about it, so what we’re really dealing with here is moonshine that’s yellow like the daylight.
- Yes, it is sweet, because it is made from the lemon rind rather than the fruit, so the bitterness of the juice does not carry over.
- NO, it is not made in Tuscany. It is generally distilled in the South of Italy, so YOU’VE GOT ME why it has anything to do with me.
- Avril Lavigne drinks it, and then is inspired to write “music.” So much for Tuscan culture.
So, even while the allegedly fine people of Smirnoff are happy to smear my good name across their bottle, as well as some perverse, ghostly apparition of my most famous landmarks, they aren’t actually willing to do fifteen minutes’ worth of internet research. Would it be so awful for them to pay attention to the fact that Tuscany is too far north for this kind of drinking? That Tuscany is well-known and heavily-visited for its wine-growing and gastronomic culture, and that you will be regarded as a contemptible backpacking tourist if you order a cocktail anywhere within my borders?
And worse yet, I would perhaps not be nearly so insulted if the drink were actually good.
Among many other vendors, Smirnoff has decided that the drinking population is too mentally challenged to take a bottle of liquor and combine it with a dilution of some sort, thus producing a cocktail. Never mind that even young children, penetrating their parents’ liquor cabinets from the age their hands can first turn a knob, very quickly grasp that no liquor can be enjoyed in volume without some measure to off-set violently spinning heads and rebelling stomachs — oh no, rather the population should fork over a premium for “prepared cocktails”, which are essentially vodka coolers in larger bottles. Has drinking liquor really become so much of a challenge?
This is hardly originality that will knock me over with a feather. Leonardo Da Vinci invented the concept of a tank during his lifetime, and I’m supposed to be impressed that Smirnoff came up with a Mike’s Hard Lemonade knock-off, poured it into a large container, and decided to brand it with my name because nobody knows where Amalfi is? Do I need to send Diane Lane to speak with all of you?
The truly epic tragedy to all of this is, of course, that the drink is middling at best. Vodka should taste like nothing at all, and even the finest limoncello is going to have a combination of flavors as delicate as a lemon dipped in window cleaner and then set on fire. So either this should be blowing a drinker’s collective eyelids off of their heads, or else it should be not unlike every other lemon-hinted vodka beverage that’s out there — and somehow it manages to be neither.
No, indeed, instead it is rather like someone gathered a group of flavor scientists into a room — none of whom have actually ever had liquor before whatsoever in any capacity — and then provided them a written description of limoncello and vodka, paperclipped with a picture of Siena and a note saying, “Go for it guys, we believe in you. P.S. Your research budget is five hundred dollars, and this note cost three hundred and fifty to write.”
What the drinker is left with, then, is a bottle of not-even-carbonated highly-sweetened yellow-ness. It taste nothing like actual lemonade or limoncello, but rather like someone did their best with those flavors based on notes given from a committee, translated into German from Japanese and then to English, and then shot through with not nearly enough alcohol to make it worth the twenty dollars it costs.
And then slapped the word “Tuscan” on it, because apparently “Pathetically Failed” didn’t fit on the bottle. Just about anyone with a can of Country Time and a bottle of Grey Goose (don’t get me started on the French again, though, honestly) could do better, have more fun, and deliver a more successful party than the sad soul who brought a bottle of Tuscan Lemonade.
Believe me! I am the textual embodiment of the region! And when I say this drink has absolutely nothing to do with Italy, and only seeks to cash in on a trend that until I recently could only do good for me, you need to listen very closely! If you want Limoncello, buy it and get all blood-poisoned Avril Lavigne-style to your heart’s content — the Southern Italians will thank you for it. If you want lemonade, brew it up and load it down with whatever you like — Campari, if you’re really interested in being Northern Italian, and you can stand liquor that doesn’t taste like candy.
But if you want authenticity, that’s how it actually is. Wines are the mild beverage that everyone can enjoy from childhood, forming an appreciation that lasts a lifetime; liquors are the formidable, complicated drinks that test your mettle and force you to re-evaluate your palette with every sip. Smirnoff’s Tuscan Lemonade is neither, instead choosing to be middling one-glass party fare to satisfy the guests you’re pretty sure will leave before the sun goes down.
Whatever the case, it has nothing to do with me — and definitely nothing to do with Diane Lane!
I bet Provence never had to put up with this shit.
Rating: 1 Diane Lane out of 5