I like a drink when I'm writing. It oils the wheels of imagination and sets a limit to working time, so that I sleep at least once in any 24-hour period. The imagination-oil eventually clogs up the works to the point where my mind is thinking something but my fingers are just making pretty shapes out of letters. Then I go to sleep.
It would be wonderful to have something that tasted like whisky, real whisky, but which could be used interspersed with real imagination-oil to extend writing time. Then again, that might send me into sleep deprivation and I'll get into that whole 'am I awake or dreaming now?' issue. Still, it would be worth a try.
So it was with some interest that I read about a synthetic whisky substitute that allegedly tastes just like whisky but has no alcohol in it at all. Aside from supplementing real whisky to extend finger control, the prank value is enormous, especially if you transfer it to an empty whisky bottle.
You could sit in the garden, wait until a neighbour is watching and sink the whole bottle in one go. If you drive, you could take a swig at traffic lights. When you later get stopped and breathalysed, whoever reported you would be forever branded a liar. You could get an incredible reputation at parties by taking a bottle, drinking it all and still being sober. You could give it to visitors and test their gullibility by measuring how drunk they think they are.
It's also certain to absolutely enrage the Righteous because being alcohol-free, cheeeldren can have as much as they want. As we all know, if a child so much as smells whisky, they will be lying drunk in the gutter the next day. I've met people with PhDs who genuinely believe that anyone taking a puff of steam from a nicotine-free Electrofag will inevitably become hooked on smoking, even in the absence of nicotine or smoke. So I welcome this whisky-flavoured soft drink, even if it's terrible, simply because it will enrage so many who deserve to be enraged.
The Halal bit is a little strange though. I was not aware that ritual slaughter applied to either malt or grain. Is it in the way they kill the yeast after fermentation? The drink seems to be made entirely out of synthetic chemicals. If those are listed in the Quran as approved for consumption, I will be mightily impressed.
The drink looked like fun, but there are two reasons why I won't bother trying it. One is that it's American so it's most probably modelled on bourbon. I have an unopened bottle of Jack Daniels that's been here for two years. I bought it because of imminent visitors who, in the end, didn't drink it. I have nothing against Bourbon, it's just not my tipple of choice. I'll open it one day - or maybe sell it. The way prices are going I'd make more on that bottle than I would in any savings account. If the Puritans get their way, by the time I retire it'll be worth more than my house.
The second reason is this:
The drink - which will be sold in cans for £4 and bottles for £10 - will go on sale worldwide on December 1,
just in time for seasonal festivities.
The can looks to be 330 ml, I'm guessing the bottle will be 700-750 ml.
If you've tried Shloer grape-juice wine substitute you'll know that it's not much like wine but at least it's only about £2 a bottle. If you have a Lidl nearby you'll know you can get Glen Orchy, a reasonable single malt, for about £12-£13 a bottle. If you want a soft drink you can get two litres of lemonade for 99p. (addendum: if you want bottled water, £4 will get you around 52 litres if you buy two-litre bottles, more if you buy 5-litre ones)
Ten pounds for a bottle of a soft drink? I don't care if it tastes like angel's tears, I'm not paying that for pop. As for the cans, £4 gets you four cans of Blackthorn cider, nearly eight of that Tesco cider that tastes just like Blackthorn, anything up to 12 cans of Fanta depending on current offers or one can of this whisky-flavoured pop. No contest.
Fair enough, if you don't drink, you can join in at a party with this pseudobooze but if you don't drink, you probably don't like the taste of whisky anyway. It's not to everyone's taste. Many who do drink don't like whisky. Even if you take a sample entirely composed of hardened whisky drinkers, they will have preferences for particular types or brands. As I said, I wouldn't be keen on bourbons and I'm certainly not forking out ten quid for a fake whisky flavoured as one I don't like. If they made it taste like Islay malt and priced it sensibly I'd try it, but I have whisky-drinking friends who wouldn't because they prefer Speyside or Highland.
I can't see why a non-drinker would choose a non-alcoholic whisky. It's a strong flavour. A non-alcoholic beer or lager with a milder flavour, maybe, or non-alcoholic vodka which comes out of the tap for free. I really can't see why anyone would want to pay that price.
Overall then, it looks like a fun idea but I think it'll go the way of hedgehog flavoured crisps once the novelty wears off. At the price, the novelty will wear off pretty fast.
I still think it was worth putting it on the market just to push Righteous blood pressure into dangerous levels, but come on, £10 for a soft drink?
Cheeeldren won't touch it. They'll stick with their Special Brew.