What to Drink This Week – April Fool’s edition

There is a good chance that if you live in the Northern hemisphere and you look at the window right this second, it’s probably raining.  That’s what the last week of March and the first of April are all about:  gray weather, as all the moisture that was trapped on the ground gets up into the air, and then decides it really just wants to pour back down onto your head again, so up yours.

It’s among those times of year where perspective is absolutely impossible.  Yeah, rain is beneficial to the soil or whatever; sure, the moist climate now means that the gardens and parks will bloom all the more fully a month later.  But who cares?  All the end of March has to offer anyone is slightly less snow, and April Fool’s Day.

And let me tell you, THAT IS OF NO COMFORT.

April Fool’s Day enrages me like no other event on the cultural calendar — even the people who celebrate Star Wars Day on May 4th cannot raise my ire the way that April Foolers do.  This is for a number of key reasons:

  1. April Fool’s jokes are predicated entirely on embarrassing the gullible,
  2. I tend to trust everyone I meet, because people are basically good at heart after all, right?
  3. You do the math.

So, when you figure in the fact that cruddy weather grants no distraction to the wicked aside from the contemplation of jack-assery, you can see why I tend to dread this week on the calendar.

This is a week when there is a need for Things to Drink.  Let us explore just what they may be.

Alive Vodka Beverage

Normally, the marketing around a product like Alive would make me want to punch it in the nose, if marketing could coalesce itself into the form of a human being long enough for me to launch a clumsy physical attack.

I’m not normally a person moved to violence, but for Heaven’s sake, look at that graphic up there.  She’s a hip healthy blonde with what are surely natural highlights, living life to the max(imum demographic reach)!  The three flavors of grapefruit, lemon-lime and berry are perfect for her lifestyle of yoga and boyfriends!  80 calories means she can enjoy them 25% more than a beer!  SHE FEELS ALIVE AND YOU SHOULD BY EXTENSION!

It really is a relief that I came across the actual product long before I saw the advertising, or it’s entirely possible that I’d have refrained from buying it purely out of hateful spite.  Instead, I saw a little 4-pack of Cool-Shots-style cans that were full of something other than beer, and thought, “I bet these would be fun to drink in the shower.”

Before you start with your JUDGING ME again, I merely pose that as one application among an infinite number for lightweight drinks like these.  At a relatively small portion size (a 300mL can) and a nice portable profile, they’re the kind of quickie cocktails that are ideal for, say, sharing on a sunny patio or sipping while you flip through a magazine or after you’ve been sanding drywall for an afternoon and you really deserve a bubbly reward during a long, hot shower.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Yes, they are fizzy low-cal pre-mixed cocktails that are friendly to Celiacs — but the important thing is that these are soda-pop light, the flavors are bright and remind me happily of popcicles, and the alcohol content floats happily in the Strong Beer Zone.

Well worth the ten bucks, if you can find them.

Goat-Roti

Isn’t it great that we don’t have to feel guilty about buying stuff from South Africa now?  Or at least, no more guilty than most post-colonial countries, if you’re willing to turn a relatively blind eye?  Like, how when you think about most South American wineries you’d probably start making wine in your basement just to avoid the moral confusion?

This got depressing fast, huh?  Let’s try again.

Goats Do Roam is a South African winery that offers inexpensive, pretty good wine — the kind of competent and affordable stuff that people brought to parties long before Fuzion ever burst onto the scene.  The wine itself has no grand ambitions (embodied perfectly by its friendly “Côtes du Rhône” pun), and is just exactly the kind you share around with everyone while dinner is getting ready.

Building on that reputation, Goats Do Roam has been escalating its profile into a slightly more premium space.  First came The Goatfather, which had a similarly cutesy premise but promised a more complex blend; and now they’ve  come out with Goat-Roti, a three year-old mix of Syrah and Viognier with nice hints of fruit and a slightly spicy base.

Goat-Roti is definitely a big step away from the twelve dollar every-wine that established Goats Do Roam as the Goat-To wine (that pun was for Tina) for party guests and BBQ hosts.  It costs half again as much, the label doesn’t feature goats doing anything adorably saucy at all, and it’s entered into a fairly competitive space for drinkable reds.

Happily, it succeeds.  Just like its less-expensive cousins, Goat-Roti is solid and enjoyable, the kind of red that can be busted out for guests regardless of what else you might be serving.  It’s full-bodied enough to complement appetizers, but fresh enough to stand on its own.

It may seem like “dependable” is faint praise for a bottle like this, but no wine rack should be without a no-fail red — Goat-Roti is that and more, and may well end up being among the bottles you ferret away in your private stash.

Wittekerke Rose

As much as I detest blatant marketing, I am truly spellbound when it goes crazy and haywire and wrong.  Such is the case with Wittekerke Rose, which is a fruit-infused beer not unlike Früli, except injected with raspberry and hilarious ad copy.

The result is a bright pink beer that comes in small servings, aiming at that precarious point where a drink teeters between being pleasing and cloying.  Rose does quite well, but tries so hard to be female friendly — and yet, clearly not — that I am overcome with joy.

Let’s look at some excerpts from their press release:

The slender ice-cold ROSÉ can, with the sensual image of the long legged lady, is very appealing and stands out on the dance-floor under fluorescent light. The alcohol content is very low, only 4.3 percent by volume, which allows for a long night of joy, action and fun. The designers in Belgium did a great job. Look at the handy six-pack. Isn’t that selling it self off the shelves?

Well, isn’t it?  If there’s one thing that dudes really like, it’s holding a bright pink can on a nightclub floor with the outline of a long-legged lady on it.  It shows that they enjoy in their beverages what they seek in the women, am I right?  Sleek… uh… fruitiness?

ROSÉ was launched in Belgium during the summer of 2004, and two remarkable things happened. First, people who had never drank beer before because they didn’t like the hoppy bitter taste, wine drinkers for example, and let’s admit it, mostly women, showed a real interest. ‘Now, that’s a beer I like!” is a frequent reaction, and the wine glass is often replaced by the Fruity Pink.

So… no, then.  Clearly it’s women who like glowing pink cans with sexy women on them, just WAITING for an excuse to ditch those wine glasses and express gratitude for a beer they actually like.  Finally, a beverage with the courage to tell women what they should look like, right on the package!

Or is it?

Second, young folks growing out of their sweet soda habits, venturing into the ‘adult beverages’, are very pleasantly surprised by the full round taste of the ROSÉ, and consider it their beer of choice. Especially the cool looking can, ice cold, becomes an instant hit in the clubs, and at inside or outside parties. Wherever young people have fun and mingle.

So really, Wittekerke Rose is for anyone who likes silhouettes of naked chicks on their packaging — which itself should be highly visible in nightclubs so that everyone can know what they’re drinking — particularly if they’re women or teenagers who grew up chugging Mountain Dew.

And best of all, it’s a drink you can learn from:

So remember Americans, if you’re looking for the most U.S.-like nation in Europe, it’s the one that has legalized marijuana and prostitution — JUST LIKE YOU!  Clearly, you’re the ideal market for the pink raspberry beer that’s popular with club-going studs, soft-drink addicted teens and women who are tired of wine and ready to seek self-image guidance from a beer can.

On top of all this absolutely stellar positioning, Rose is actually an enjoyable beer, and one we clearly need to support.  Served in just the right portions, with a pleasant mix of Dutch wheat beer and real raspberry juice, it’s a refreshing enough drink — but combined with the insane, no-stone-unturned marketing, this is a product we cannot afford to let go unrewarded.

I mean seriously, they went back to 1683 to find a reason why Americans should buy their fruit beer.  We must reward their efforts.

Yes, the first week of April is a tough one at best, but we can make it through together.  Between happy fuzzy cocktails, dependable red wines and batshit crazy novelty beers, there are plenty of reasons to smile through these drizzly weeks.

Never mind how the office jerk toilet-papered your desk!  This is what to drink!

  • http://muskegharpy.blogspot.com/ Jacquie

    As a person who has spent more than an afternoon sanding drywall, the only job that could beat insulating for dusty horror, I can tell you that refreshing isn’t necessary but mind numbing is. I don’t want to feel Alive I want my shoulders to stop screaming and to forget that I only did about 1/16 of my walls. The only cure for that is bourbon, straight.

    I would, however, welcome that Alive blond woman over to help. I bet she is full of energy.