Girl Drink Drunk is a regular column that features your host, an adult male who prefers bourbon and beer, exploring the sugary, sweet world of “girly drinks” for your edification and entertainment. He promises not to barf on you. Enjoy.
Marketing to people in their early 20’s has got to be just the worst job. I mean… no, it’s not cleaning up a parking lot after a country music concert (SO MANY EXPLODED DIP CUPS) or working 50 hours a week in a telephone call center (you can only get hung up on so many times before all the rejection makes your soul implode like a decommissioned sports stadium), but still. Having to design advertisements that specifically attract men and women in their early 20’s is awful, because you’re trying to market to a group of people who don’t even know who the hell they ARE. Think back to your early 20’s… what kind of person were you? What were you into? What did you stand for and/or believe in?
If you were anything like me, the answers to those questions are, respectively, “an awful person,” “whatever, man,” and, “my right to party.” HOW DO YOU MARKET TO THAT??? Early 20’s men and women are emotionally malformed, half-humans who are still trying to figure out how you do adulthood. Everything is exciting! Everything is terrifying! Everything is the best it can possibly be, and the worst it has ever been, all at the same time. Trying to figure out what those people want, and how to make them buy it, is akin to killing the Rancor in Return of the Jedi; sure it CAN be done, but you basically have to be a Jedi to do it.
(For the non-nerds reading this, the above translates to: “Doing something impossible, but only because you’re a person who is literally magic”)
So when you market to people in their early 20’s, you basically have to take the scatter-shot approach. Spray the bullets in a wide enough pattern, and surely you’ll hit SOMETHING that draws blood. And so what you end up with is stuff like… say, an AXE body spray commercial that star an anthropomorphic armpit. Or endless ads that feature a DJ as a lazy shorthand for THIS IS WHAT’ COOL LOOKS LIKE. Or, if you’re Kinky Liqueur… the subject of today’s Girl Drink Drunk… you cram a whole bunch of Sex and the City-style sexual innuendo into a bazooka, then fire that fucker at a laptop fully loaded with Photoshop capabilities. What you get is this:
Flirty, lingerie lady with bottles of booze in her hair? SURE LET’S GO WITH THAT. This will make the young ladies want to drink our cartoon beverages, surely! This girl is what ALL girls aspire to be!!! Look at her! She’s having SO MUCH FUN!!! Just livin’ life, putting liquor bottles in her hair, for some reason. Probably SUPER FUN reasons! CAN I MIX YOU UP A KINKY-TINI???
Anyway, what Alcoholic Medusa up there is trying to sell you is this:
The Girl Drink(s)
Kinky Liqueur and Kinky Blue… booze that looks like liquified Snorks, shown here with a quarter for scale. I really don’t want anyone to think I actually bought whole bottles of this stuff. This is what they purport to be:
Kinky Liqueur (the pink one): It’s a little bit of vodka… distilled 5 times, the copy says, because THAT fucking matters after you dump an entire sand dune of sugar into it… as well as a lot of flavoring, dye, chips from a hunk of radioactive uranium, ground-up members of the Tinkerbell family, and, of course, pure, uncut, CLASSINESS. This one supposedly tastes like, again… deferring to the copy… “succulent mango” (as opposed to shitty mango), “blood orange liqueur,” and “passion fruit.”
Kinky Blue (the blue one): Same thing with the vodka… they are VERY proud of their distillation process, which is a bit rich, seeing as how their product tastes about as filtered and distilled as a piece of Laffy Taffy, but WHATEVER. This one is going for a “tropical and wild berry flavor,” because… I don’t know… that’s what blue flavored stuff tastes like now? Back in my day, blue meant razzberry (not raspberry; spelling is key) and that’s how we liked it!
Taste Test – Straight Up
It became pretty clear, after doing shots of Kinky Liqueur and Kinky Blue that I was really not supposed to do that. These are mixers… drinking these straight is like throwing your french fries in the trash and just squirting ketchup in your mouth. However, doing shots of Kinkys Liqueur and Blue DID give my tongue an up-close, TMI look at what, exactly, they taste like. Surprisingly, I only hated one of them! Kinky Liqueur (the pink one) is sweet… god, so sweet… a Capri-Sun times a million… and it packs a wallop of synthetic fruitiness that is unmatched by even the most engorged Gusher… but it kind of didn’t taste all that bad. Maybe it’s the subtle tartness from the blood orange liqueur that makes it a little more palatable… maybe it’s the fact that the predominant flavor is passion fruit, which I happen to tenderly love (TASTES LIKE HAWAII, BABY). Whatever the case, Kinky Liqueur wasn’t the worst.
Kinky blue, however, WAS the worst. They had a good thing going with the Kinky Liqueur, and they got greedy. “LET’S MAKE ANOTHER ONE! The kids like blue… I’ve seen ’em wearing jeans!!! OUR NEW PRODUCT IS KINKY BLUE!!! PASS ME THAT STILETTO FULL OF COCAINE.” Despite what the copy would have you believe, this junk tastes nothing like anything remotely tropical, or any sort of berry that grows in the wild. It tastes EXACTLY like grape Bubblelicious. To the point where I feel like there’s some kind of weird, corporate synergy going on here. Bubblelicious is the shadow hand behind Kinky Blue! YOU HAVE TO READ BETWEEN THE LINES, YOU SHEEP. YouTube conspiracy theory video forthcoming!
Oh, and acid reflux. Kinky Blue also has subtle notes of acid reflux on the back end. I get why they don’t mention that, though. The word “vurp” rarely appears in packaging copy.
Taste Test – Mixed
I also thought it would be fun (using the loosest, most free-form definition of the word) to try the two Kinkys mixed together, but otherwise straight-up. I was wrong, of course… as I always am about these kind of things… but learning from your mistakes is for DORKS.
First off, it came out the same color as the bruise you get after taking a softball to the thigh:
I’ve put a lot of unpleasant-looking liquids in my mouth (which probably explains why MY early-20’s remain kind of a messy swirl of colors and lights), but this has got to be a Top Ten finalist. Anyway, the Kinky Mix tasted like total sensory overload. Imagine watching a Japanese anime on Adderall that you washed down with a tumbler of 5hr Energy Shots. That’s as close as I can get to pinning down the flavor.
Mostly, it just tasted like bad choices.
Taste Test – W/ Soda Water
I was too strung-out on the Kinky Mix to remember that I was supposed to be photographing everything, so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. Imagine slightly less pink and slightly less blue liquids in larger glasses with some ice. You’ve got the idea.
These were a little better. Not so much a head-on collision of flavor; more like minor fender-benders. The fizziness helped cut through the sugar, and the neutral mixer made them not taste like you’re drinking cotton candy barf. They did, however, taste pretty watered down (SHOCKING)… kind of like how Vitamin Water ALMOST tastes like something fruity, but not quite.
Pretty uninspiring, frankly.
Taste Test – W/ Clique Vodka
Clique Vodka is thing I bought for a future installment of Girl Drink Drunk, mainly because it looks like this:
I feel like if you replaced the word “vodka” with the word “eyeliner,” you could use the exact same packaging for make-up. Smaller bottle, of course. Anyway, I bought it because it looked SO CHICK-LIKE, but then I tried it and… well, it just tastes like vodka. Not very exciting.
However… seeing as how one of the (many) suggested uses for the Kinky brand is the aforementioned “Kinky-tini,” which is a word (?) that makes may teeth itch when I say it out loud… I figured we could just fold the Clique vodka into the mix here.
The Clique vodka… or ANY vodka, I’m sure… is the code-breaker. THIS is how the Kinky line of beverages is meant to be consumed. The vodka mellows out the harsh acidity of the Kinky beverages; it makes them smoother, and more drinkable. Despite looking like a set dresser’s idea of a “futuristic cocktail” from the kind of cheap-o, sci-fi schlock you used to see on USA’s Up All Night, the Kinky-tinis (ugh, I’m dizzy now) aren’t total garbage. The pink one, anyway. The blue one still tastes like grape Bubblelicious, but without that swallowing-lit-matches reflux taste. Honestly, the Blue Kinky-tini (ouch, my pancreas!) tastes like what a 10 year old would drink after a hard day of playing Freeze Tag and kicking ass on the monkey bars. The pink [brand name martini]… sorry, can’t say it again, I’m starting to go numb below the waist… with the inclusion of the vodka, just tastes kind of mildly fruity and, well, girly. A good starting point, adult beverage-wise, if that’s the kind of life you want to lead.
And if you DO want to lead that kind of life… that VERY SPECIFIC kind of mid-20’s lady life… I guess you could do a lot worse than the Kinky line of products. They’re better than, say, Smirnoff Ices, because at least they’ve got a little punch to them, and they’re not as of yet directly linked to the assorted frat parties and bro-downs that happen at that stage of the game. But… and this is just a little free advice, from someone who’s already walked down that weird, scary road… don’t let the branding of products define who you are. Don’t aspire to be a lady with liquor bottles in her hair, or an anthropomorphic armpit (or whatever those images represent in the real world). Your early-20’s are ridiculous enough on their own.