Cheers: Adultery

The march of progress, which has yielded the frozen waffle, the Hubble Space Telescope and nose hair clippers, for centuries exercised restraint with respect to popcorn, dish detergent and vodka.


But, inevitably, flavored popcorn oozed onto the mall scene in the 1970s. And though it has since retreated, a great deal of damage was done. Dishwashing detergent (as well as laundry detergent), which had forever borne a normal, soapy smell, suddenly needed perfume: autumn mist, rain, orange, lemon fresh.

With the lumbering arrival of coffee brandy, the world of convivial libations was put on notice: your basic beverage is about to be messed with. Unadulterated vodka went over to the Dark Side in a big way. Absolut took the first, tentative steps by adding subtle traces of citron, then l’orange. When the dam gave way altogether we were up to our ankles in various vodka brands bearing accents — if not dollops — of pepper, lemon, lime, apple, black cherry, honey, mandarin, caramel, raspberry, espresso, buffalo grass, spice, pear, passion fruit, cucumber and — I swear to God — bacon (

The proof went down, the sugar went up and the vodka went out the window.

It was a tragic end to a noble beverage that, at its purest and most Spartan, is made of potatoes and water.

Colorless, odorless and (allegedly) tasteless, vodka always invited a mixer, such as tomato juice or orange juice. That’s one thing. But quite another is the infusion of the mixer right into the vodka. It was an alarming violation.

Standing above the fray was Cold River Vodka, made in Maine with Maine potatoes and Maine water. It seethed virtue.

But even Cold River has taken a stab at flavor. It has done so in a loyal and admirable fashion as a true Maine vodka should. Introducing Blueberry Flavored Vodka.

What marriage could be more natural or wholesome? Maine potatoes, Maine blueberries, Maine water.

While most flavored vodkas lower the proof and increase the sugar, Cold River Blueberry is 80 proof and just 1 percent sugar. The blueberry flavor (an infusion of frozen Wyman’s blueberries) is subtle but unmistakable. It is not unpleasant.

We wish Cold River success with its new product line.

We wish the good people there prosperity and good fortune.

And we wish they hadn’t bothered adulterating the best vodka in the USA.

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