ASTROLIQUOR for March 22 to 28, already in progress—What the stars say you should drink!

My Fellow Inebriates,

Your booze horoscope is still a mess. I have to admit, dry weekdays are totally getting me down. I can’t even get up in the mornings, never mind figure out what the stars have to say. But finally—the weekend having officially been kicked off—I have a glass of wine in my paw, and the stars are forecasting. (But they are still full of shit.)

Aries, be careful with first impressions this week. It’s fine to be nude at home, but it’s no way to greet new acquaintances. You can stay in touch with your spiritual side without swinging your thing(s) around in public. In fact, you can change mentally. People are starting to recognize depth in you that wasn’t visible before. Could it be that you’re lucid this week? You got it, Aries, you’re this week’s Designated Driver.

Taurus, we all have responsibilities, and lately you’ve been keeping tabs on everybody else’s. Let go of the urge to compare, Taurus—you know other people are often douchebags and they will get away with whatever they can. It doesn’t have anything to do with you and your own objectives. Once you stop monitoring other people, you’ll feel free to go after what you want in life—i.e., Smirnoff with triple sec and Mountain Dew.

Gemini, your week promises to be free of f#ck-ups. If you play a sport, you’ll excel in it. If you go trawling the bars for a hook-up, you’ll find it. You might even get a job this week—but only if you book your interviews for the morning (assuming you can hold off till afternoon to pound that vodka-tequila shot). Life is good.

Cancer, crappy times are finally ending and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. As you transition to a happier, saner life phase, people will seem more warm and colorful, and sleep will come more easily than it has in months. But life won’t be perfect! Something in your house will break (the stars don’t know what; they are just stupid balls of gas so they can’t be specific). And an Aquarius will be skulking around—maybe even stalking you. Do NOT share your Captain Morgan Tattoo with this person. Pour some Dr. Pepper into it and slam it back alone.

Leo, you’ll espy something beautiful and be overcome with desire. Whether an objet d’art or a pricey Champagne, you’ll insist on having it immediately, with no regard for financial consequences. But you should save some money this week, Leo, because something in your house will go on the fritz. Maybe an appliance, maybe your computer. That’s the thing about the stars; they like to be unspecific so they can say they were right—especially if you take their prediction as license to go apeshit-drunk in your house and wreck something.

You’ll encounter a stranger this week, Virgo, but a combination of peach schnapps, amaretto, Southern Comfort, and apple schnapps will ensure the two of you do not remain strangers. And the plot will thicken as you discover mutual acquaintances, enmeshing you in a prematurely complicated relationship. Who knows—maybe the two of you are even long-lost siblings? (Ew.) Your new involvement will keep your thoughts occupied all week, and maybe that’s a good thing.

Libra, you’ve got nuthin’ going on this week. The stars have literally nothing to say about your chart—nothing out of whack, no nutjob stalkers, no strangers stepping into your steamy shower. For some people a boring calm week is a comfort. For you…? Oh, for crying out loud, at least mix yourself a bizarre cocktail. Blend this up with two cups of ice:

  • 3 oz creme de menthe
  • 3 oz cinnamon schnapps
  • 2 oz cream
  • 20 of those little cinnamon hearts that hurt your tongue

Memory lane reaches out this week, Scorpio, especially if you are over 40 years old. Whatever age you felt best at, you’ll behave accordingly. And if you’re a young Scorpio with no drunken good times yet racked up, why not bust out this week? Either way, a lot of Scorpios will get involved in feats of immaturity this week. Mellow out afterwards with equal parts Kahlua, Bailey’s, and Frangelico (unless your drunken activities land you in jail, in which case…I once saw this movie in which a character made Merlot in the toilet, so you probably can too).

Sagittarius, negotiations look excellent this week, especially for big-ticket loans like mortgages. Don’t be afraid! You can make the payments, although you may have to settle for cheaper gin and whiskey. The stars see you sitting on your new porch drinking a Bud and telling yourself you like it. That’s awesome! It’s the North American dream. And you’ll have lots of friends too, but you must remember to phone them.

If you’re having a tough week, Capricorn, you should consider telling a stranger about it. There’s no sense laying all your shit on a friend or relative; find somebody on the subway and tell them all about your hemorrhoids. Then again, you could see a doctor, but a medical professional might tell you to lay off the Scotch. And for a final piece of astrological randomness…buy someone some flowers.

Aquarius, a nagging problem has started to seem insurmountable. Even when you read about global misfortunes in the newspaper, you still feel whiny and sorry for yourself. Perhaps you need a bizarre sexual adventure; these can be great distractions, and they tend to dovetail nicely with Cointreau and triple sec. Post the pics on FB.

Pisces, you’ll realize suddenly that you have been pretending—who knows for how long? Check yourself out in the mirror and look at all the things that have happened to you. OMG, was that bit there before? What about that pendulous thing? What is it exactly? Realizations such as these are the bane of the sober mind. The antidote is a tub of Sangria, so find some crappy Cab and throw a bunch of brandy and fruit into it. Or hell, just drink the wine.

How Smirnoff keeps us young

Our bank is right beside the liquor store.

For some people this would be a problem, and for us it is. How does one deposit a cheque and then walk or drive past the liquor store without stopping in?

Today there was the added draw of a Smirnoff sampler table featuring Fluffed Marshmallow and Whipped Cream vodka.

OMG, I have always wanted to try these silk purses made from the jaggedly nasty sow’s ear that is Smirnoff.

Don’t get me wrong—I totally love Smirnoff, my fellow inebriates. If my parents ever kick me out and I have to live on the curb beside the liquor store (beside the bank), Smirnoff will be my brand. With its compulsive diversity and unfailing appeal to sophomoric binge drinkers, Smirnoff enraptures attention-deficient vodka lovers everywhere. Why have a different Smirnoff every day of the week when you can have a different one every day of the month?

So, needless to say, I was totally pissed that my parents’ banking errand turned into a bear-less vodka-tasting adventure at the Smirnoff counter. Even when they described the shot measure (or “dosage,” as my mother called it) as minuscule, I felt totally burned. You see, we’re never going to buy these products for our home, so unless I get invited on some future liquor-store foray, I’ll never taste them, people.

But wait, let’s back up. This wasn’t my dad’s first tasting of Fluffed Marshmallow and Whipped Cream Smirnoff. He had it last night when he was in the store and came back raving about it. He totally loved it. He said if it had been available in mickey size he would have bought it. But today he went there with my killjoy mother, who compared both varieties unfavorably with liquid antibiotics and poisoned his mind against frivolous vodka flavors.

I had no idea my mother could be influential at all. I mean, my dad bought our last car without consulting her. How could she possibly have changed his mind about Whipped Cream and Fluffed Marshmallow Smirnoff?

Last night my dad said these products were creamy and smooth—delicious enough to be enjoyed straight-up and (particularly the Whipped Cream) perfect ingredients for a Creamsicle cocktail.

Today he said they were TOO SWEET.

“What the hell?” I asked, and he said:

“Last night my tastebuds were in a different place.”

Like, not with my mum! His tastebuds were in a good place! In a place his tastebuds should have stayed until he felt ready to complete a transaction and bring some silly-flavored vodka home. OMG!!

Here Smirnoff does this awesome thing: It takes its crappy bottom-shelf base product and adds exciting, ridiculous flavors to it then markets the shit out of it, effectively transforming caterpillars into bright, beautiful butterflies in Blueberry, Cherry, Citrus, Coconut, Cranberry, Dark Roasted Espresso, Grape, Green Apple, Iced Cake, Kissed Caramel, Lime, Mango, Melon, Orange, Passionfruit, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Spiced Root Beer, Strawberry, Vanilla, Watermelon, Fluffed Marshmallow and Whipped Creamand using vibrant packaging and savvy marketing, Smirnoff persuades a guy like my dad that its product is actually yummy, so much so that he’s considering going back to buy a bottle…and…and.

My mum comes along and wrecks it.

I was bereft, so I got one of my hobo friends to take me to the store for a sample. (This might have been a hallucination, but I still came away with tasting notes.)

“Confectionary” flavors raise obvious concerns because of their attractiveness to underage drinkers and bears. I bet five- and six-year-old V and P could put away a shot each without complaint—that’s how sweet the vodkas are.

Whipped Cream Smirnoff is much more redolent of Cool Whip than whipping cream; its production couldn’t possibly have taxed any cows. It’s is suitable for shots, special coffee, and cake flavoring, as, despite being an indubitably chemical creation, it suggests food.

Whipped Marshmallow Smirnoff isn’t much different although it has a bit more complexity. The marshmallows are s’more-like: toasty campfire marshmallows rather than plain marshmallow fluff or Peeps. Either way, this product suggests childhood. On a 0-10 sweetness scale it gets an 11.

Despite the sense of being trivialized as a consumer and manipulated with the illusion of product diversity, I love knowing the Smirnoff people are always thinking creatively. But, just like in V’s favorite Robert Munsch story about the 500 marker colors, one day they will run out of ideas and resort to a vodka flavor like “cow plop.” Until then, there’s definitely a place in everyone’s liquor cabinet for stupid vodka flavors like Whipped Cream and Fluffed Marshmallow.

Who says cotton candy’s just for kids?

My Fellow Inebriates,

You’d think there’d have been something interesting in the backpack my parents used throughout their day at the Pacific National Exhibition, but its contents were in fact so boring that no one bothered to clean it out. Still, it seemed sensible to check for some booze. Could they really have managed eleven hours of kiddy rides, farm animals, dog shows, and carny people without a flask? I didn’t think so.

But apparently they had drained the flask while walking the fairgrounds. Typical. I clambered right into the pack and found nothing but old popcorn and pink cotton candy. This latter item my dad immediately grabbed. He needed, I kid you not, something that wouldn’t require chewing for breakfast before a 10 a.m. root canal, and he thinks oatmeal is really gross. (I do too, but have you ever tried adding a tablespoon of Jack Daniel’s to your bowl? Try it.)

Most people, when they see cotton candy, do one or even several things:

  • They salivate, imagining a much yummier product than it actually turns out to be.
  • They wonder how many insects have gotten swirled up into the floss.
  • Their teeth hurt. They they wonder if they need a root canal.
  • They wonder which is worse: denying the kids a quintessential carnival treat, or letting them consume a bag of sugar, additives, and stray bugs.
  • They wonder how a bag of it can cost five freaking dollars.
  • They wish cotton candy contained at least a little alcohol.

Okay, maybe most PNE visitors don’t think that. For those who do, there’s a post-fair solution. Get the kiddies into bed and whip up a Cotton Candy Martini.

Now, you can’t get cotton candy just anywhere—at least not near LBHQ—so if you’re going to pull off this drink, you’ll have to visit a fair. Perhaps a relatively mainstream one like the PNE, or maybe a nasty little midway with multi-nippled circus geeks gobbling chicken heads and gropists throwing knives at each other. Either way, be sure to escape with some candy floss.

One other piece of foresight is necessary: have some sub-zero (sub-32 if you prefer) Smirnoff in your freezer. After a day of freaks with meter-long armpit hair offering you deep-fried Mars bars, you’ll want that vodka to be ready. And Smirnoff is only really tolerable when it’s near-freezing.

If, unlike my parents, you have any sort of respectable bar, you’ll have all the other items, or at least improvisational ones. Grenadine? Coca-Cola? Vanilla rim sugar? Sure…. Not at my house, perhaps, but I hope this stuff is at yours. Here’s the recipe:

  • 8 ounces of freezing Smirnoff vodka
  • 1 tablespoon of cola
  • 1 teaspoon of Grenadine
  • A chunk of cotton candy (about 2″ x 2″)
  • 2 small chunks of cotton candy for garnish
  • Vanilla cocktail candy rim sugar

Rim the glasses, load your martini shakers with ice, toss in the first four ingredients, and close tightly. Shake it like a carny wigging out on paint thinner. The cotton candy will disappear like a pickpocketed wallet. Strain the concoction into your sugared martini glasses and garnish with tufts of cotton candy. UNLESS your dad ate all of it for breakfast before having a root canal.