My recent adventure with my good friend Glen Bear and a mickey of POLAR ICE vodka was certainly a good time. Enormous Glen, who could probably take down a baby walrus, totally lost control in our house and caused a lot of damage. So I thought I’d include him in my next vodka tasting because it was so much fun.

Next on my list: SMIRNOFF vodka, a new-world product based on an old-world recipe. A readily available and affordable vodka.

But first I needed to Glen-proof the house. You see, my parents had told us they don’t want to go to JYSK to replace things that we wreak while inebriated. They just want our house to stay peaceful and keep standing. They really didn’t want Glen involved. To be honest, they didn’t want me sampling vodka either, but I told them I was going to get famous as a vodka reviewer and make them rich. I said I was going to be a Useful Animal and monetize my website by featuring thoughtful reviews that people would seek out.

They countered that I might do better to peddle my ass downtown.

I countered that I do not even have a working anus.

And so I was allowed to have a vodka tasting, as long as I kept it civilized and avoided breakage. They urged me not to include Glen Bear, but I really like him, so I promised we’d be careful. But you know how polar bears are.

Actually, polar bears are in deep trouble. Two-thirds of them are expected to disappear by 2050 due to habitat loss caused by global warming. They are officially a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act.

I wasn’t sure if this was a reason to give Glen vodka or not, but the SMIRNOFF bottle was sticking innocently out of its paper bag, calling to us. It was the one with the red label, the bottom-shelf variety that’s ubiquitous at bars and restaurants.

So how does it taste?

The first sip is inoffensive and almost flavorless but is followed by an acrid, saliva-evaporating throat-burn. It demands a mixer, so we get ourselves some Tang. I look at Glen and think about his habitat getting inexorably warmer. A bear like Glen just wouldn’t know what to do about the ice floes receding, and vodka can’t help.

We continue to drink and find ourselves accepting SMIRNOFF’S bitter notes, almost savoring them now that we’ve lowered our expectations. It does taste fine with Tang, and in a pinch you could use Mountain Dew or lemonade—anything with a sweet tartness to offset the bitterness. I wouldn’t do a greyhound, though.

SMIRNOFF has been pretty intuitive about the flavors it needs to mask, producing a full line of flavors that include citrus, blueberry, black cherry and who the hell knows how many others. The SMIRNOFF people know what they’re doing; they know their vodka isn’t top-tier, so they’ve made it pocketbook- and user-friendly. They’ve also tapped into the marketing genius of variety whereby competition can be harnessed within their own brand. When I think of this principle I think fondly of Malcolm Gladwell’s talk on marketing. I like his hair so much; it is at least as undisciplined as my fur.

So, what kind of shape is our house in?

Well, it looks like a freaking bomb hit it, but that’s because my mum is too busy doing my typing to clean properly. She has to; my paws are more like little nubs than hands, and I don’t have any patience. I just want to be famous, one drink at a time. Oh, yeah, and my mum is lazy.

And how is Glen doing?

Glen lumbered off after one or two cocktails. He wasn’t too excited about SMIRNOFF, but worse still, he’d had no idea about polar bears being threatened, and he was totally freaked out when I told him. I said the two of us should do something for polar bears, like send them money or tell people about global warming. A big guy like Glen Bear, who can pack an Arctic seal under one arm while yanking at a helicopter pontoon, shouldn’t be lying around cowering and retching up orange-tinted SMIRNOFF. We should be parlaying our web infamy into charitable activities.

So we’ll start by encouraging our readers to click on the World Wildlife Fund widget on the right. It’s one small action to show we care about the environment. Go ahead—do it! And then grab yourself some Tang and SMIRNOFF.


My Fellow Inebriates,

I received the nicest message today from Julia, the Business Development Manager at BROKER’S GIN, commiserating with me over the absence of that wonderful crystal elixir from my neighborhood booze shop, and reassuring me that Canada has not in fact been cut off.

For those of you who haven’t met Julia Gale, she is the most delightful person. In fact, today she is my very favorite person, because she has injected some hope into my existence.

If you haven’t read my previous lament about BROKER’S GIN, I’ll fill you in on the crisis. About two years ago I purchased it out of curiosity and because I liked the hat/top. A couple of days later, the whole bottle was gone! Where did it go? It just went, because it was that good. Before discovering BROKER’S I’d been loyal to TANQUERAY (the original, not TANQUERAY 10 because it is too clean to be interesting), although honestly I’d try any gin once and many of them repeatedly. Long story short—I’d tried a lot of gin brands before encountering BROKER’S, and BROKER’S held its own against all of them.

So I was abject when I saw it had disappeared from the shelves. I think my fur started falling out.

And today lovely Julia visited my page and lit up my world again by telling me that there is BROKER’S GIN in Ontario.Ontario!

How far away is Ontario?! I immediately wondered.

Turns out it’s pretty freaking far away, my friends. I’d forgotten, because I so rarely leave the house or occupy myself with anything outside of liquor, that geography is very large and complicated. Not only is Ontario very far away; it is also full of polar bears like my friend Glen Bear, and obviously they are getting all the gin.

Now, I do have an aunt in Ontario, but she doesn’t believe in bears, alcohol-consuming or otherwise, and thinks my mum is a space cadet for humoring me by doing my typing. So I doubt very much that she’d do any liquor shopping for me. She certainly couldn’t be expected to send me a bottle, especially if I told her I needed it to take care of some tremors.

I started trying to convince myself that BROKER’S wasn’t all that. I reckoned that if I could find some ho-hum or even negative reviews of it, then maybe I could just gently forget about it and move on. But instead I found nothing but raves. And I had to admit that BROKER’S GIN is too magnificent to forget.

So I’m hoping Julia can tell me where to buy some product in BC. She has been very friendly, so my paws are crossed. Stay tuned, peeps.