Thursday, May 12, 2005

Nectar of the golf gods

I am always thirsty. Literally. Maybe its because I smoke, maybe I've had infected tonsils since I can remember, but if I am awake, I am thirsty. So I drink Diet Coke all day and water all night.

It also means that I can wax rhapsodic about all sorts of nonalcoholic beverages, since I've had ample opportunity to try as many as I can. From Blenheim ginger ale (and Vernors and Jamaican ginger beer) to Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Soda to sweet tea, if it's cold and tastes more interesting than water, I'll give it a shot.

But now I've found it. I've found the drink I can take with me to the grave. Because now they're putting Arnold Palmers in cans. An Arnold Palmer, in case you don't know, is a mixture of half tea, half lemonade, and is without question one of the best drinks on earth. I was introduced to them when my friend Malcolm Gay (who just picked up a James Beard award ... nice work there) ordered one at the legendary Blueberry Hill. Since then I've been an avid fan of the drink.

Look: lemonade is a great drink, but it is flawed because its overwhelming sweetness and tartness make it difficult to quaff in quantity (the citric acid can also cause a little problem). Ice tea is drinkable unto infinity, but even with a twist of lemon and some sugar, it kinda just lays there. Oh, but the Arnold Palmer! A strong tea bite with mellow lemon sweetness as an aftertone. A nice jolt of caffeine, but nothing you couldn't drink all day. And I do. The canned version, produced by canny Arizona, is even made with Splenda, so it's pretty low calorie. (I know, talk of calories is against the ideals of this site, but I'm looking for an all-day drink here).

The website says they're planning on making one-gallon fridge-ready jugs. Oh, boy.

(speaking of drinks, Randall Roberts, another friend (and a James Beard finalist himself), writes the popular Drink of the Week column for the Riverfront Times. This week sounds pretty sinful. Check it out.


Blogger Elizabeth said...

Mr. Sin,
We've been dating for 3 years and I didn't even know we shared this hobby.

Some people base their gas station choice on gas prices. I like to base mine on drink selection. Quick Trip is something of a Mecca, but nothing compares to a drink I found at a 7-11 near the Mexico-California border in the beautiful, sun-scorched town of Calexico, to be specific.

The words on the fountain were all in Spanish, so to this day I have no idea what it really was. It was light, yet creamy- the consistency of Yoo-hoo, but tasted like my grandmother's bianco mangiare: stick cinnamon, nutmeg, milk and honey. And Christ- you could get it in double big-gulp form. My only regret that is that I did get it in said quantity and regretted it all the way down (restroomless) highway 8.

My recent trip to New York also expanded my beverage horizons. Vitamin Water is big there, and while most of it is no better or worse than Gatorade (if you disqualify VW's hip packaging), the somewhat obscure green-tea flavor was refreshing, with a slight medicinal taste from ingredients like rose hips and lavender. Plus you get about half of all your daily allowances. Also getting high marks was Fuze's banana colada flavor. It had a texture similar to the Calexico Mystery Beverage- sweet and smooth. It also offered up some vitamins, but with it, more calories.

My only gripe- none of these were caffeinated.

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