After a few days under the weather, I'm back up and in the saddle. I celebrated with some Champagne last night. No, no- I don't often bust out the good stuff for getting over the sniffles. It's just that I haven't had Champagne in such a long time, it seemed like the right thing to do. Whenever I want to bring my palate back into focus, I go for the bubbles.
While I was chatting with my bartender about the particular bubbly I was drinking, I overheard two guys next to me order shots of bubble gum vodka. At first, I thought it was a type of shot. You know, like the chocolate cake shot, or sex on the beach- well, you get the idea. But, they asked for and got what they wanted: Three Olives Bubble Gum flavored vodka.
*One eyebrow creeps up slowly*
Flavored vodka isn't new. It's everywhere. In fact, Three Olives from the U.K. alone makes these other flavors: root beer, tomato, espresso, watermelon, grape, chocolate and cherry. What is particularly disturbing is the combination of vodka and chewing gum.
Haven't we all been there before? You walk into a bar, order a martini and the thought of putting perfectly delicious vodka and briny olives in your mouth at the same time gum is sloshing around in there is, well- repulsive. We ball it up in the napkin that came with our drink, and off we go. So, they ordered a shot. A sensible way to go, I suppose. See what it's all about before you go head first into ordering, say, a full on bubblegum cosmo, bubblegum and tonic or the soon-to-be famous bubblegum rickey. I mean, why waste your money, right?
The first guy said, "Hmmmmm- tastes like Trident."
Do you think they aimed for that specific flavor or were they going for the Double Bubble sugar blast? Maybe this guy doesn't know his gum flavors? Anyway, a minute later, I overheard the other guy said he "burped and it tasted like gum". Well- there it is, folks: the ultimate compliment. Maybe he could do an ad.
When I was growing up, they made kids' candy in the form of cigarettes and cigars out of bubblegum. They were even cleverly laced with powdered sugar in the wrapper so you could take a puff and fool your grandma into thinking you stole one of her smokes. Miniature record albums were collectibles, too; I had all the Beatles original albums in miniature LP covers with bubblegum discs inside. My favorite, however, had to be the Oscar Meyer Bologna bubblegum. It looked just like a slice of bologna taken from the bright yellow OM packet. Didja notice the slogan "blow your lunch"? Yeah- I think after four or five slices of this stuff, you're gonna blow your lunch, allright.
But, we're talking about an adult product in the form of a kid treat. Bubblegum vodka is the kid treat in the adult product. Campuses everywhere this fall are going to reek of bubblegum and vomit. And, if there was ever any chance of the estranged college kid returning home for the holidays to bond with the parents over an adult cocktail, those chances are now shot to hell. I guess they couldn't make Southern Comfort taste any more like bubblegum, so they started over.
The hook here is definitely to get the beer and Smirnoff Cooler crowd over the fence to the big kids' booze. "Say, if you hate vodka, you'll LOVE this!" And since the vodka is clear, you'll no doubt have to mix something pink with it to make it just a little less threatening (as if). Yeah- I could rake in some tips with this stuff. Here then, are some off-the-cuff recipes I came up with if I were bartending a college party:
1 part bubblegum vodka
1 part sweet vermouth
2 parts chewing tobacco
Spit between sips.
1 shot of bubblegum vodka
1 shot creme de minthe
Serve straight up, garnish with bubblegum cigar.
Sip between spits.
Fill a glass with soda and ice
Add 2 shots bubblegum vodka
Refreshes while it cleans your teeth and gum.