First Taste

Alcohol-Infused Whipped Cream: Just Say No

​Some things are not meant to be.

It's hard to find anything that the staff at Phoenix New Times agrees on, but we are in lock step on one thing: Whipped Lightning is terrible. Beyond terrible. It's like eating flavored lighter fluid. And not in a good way.

"No." That was one colleague's response -- it was all he could say, after yesterday afternoon's impromptu taste test. We couldn't even find anyone willing to do a whip-it with the stuff.

​First, even before we tried it, we were all stuck on the fact that Whipped Lightning is not supposed to be refrigerated. A dairy product that decomposes when chilled? Um, no thanks. And it has a supposed shelf-life of an entire year. That just seems wrong.

The can promises that it contains "neutral grain alcohol". There's nothing neutral about it. We tried three flavors: pumpkin pie, hazelnut espresso and German chocolate cake. The consensus was that the chocolate was by far the worst -- but the other two weren't so good, either.

We ate it off forks, straight from the can, and wondered if that was the problem, but no one could come up with an option (on pumpkin pie? in coffee? hot chocolate?) that sounded any better.

And to the colleague we tricked, the one who arrived late and happily stuck the can of hazelnut espresso in his mouth and squirted with abandon, after we'd all promised the alcohol-infused whipped cream tasted really great? Um, we're really, really sorry. Particularly since we're well aware that payback around here is quite a bitch.

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at