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.