Part of writing this column, and of bartending, is keeping abreast of booze trends. One would have to live under a rock to not know that flavored vodka is massively popular. Take a look at almost any back bar in town, and there's a wide array of flavors from classic (vanilla, citron, orange) to creative (passion fruit, cucumber, huckleberry) to "Are you fucking kidding?!" (PB&J, glazed donuts, Swedish Fish). Who the hell comes up with these? Do they start focus groups by getting everyone stoned out of their minds?
Pardon me, I'm getting a little tangential. This week, my booze screed covers what I believe to be one of the most insidious marketing ploys I've seen in a long time: Reduced calorie vodka. French brand Voli was the first on the scene a couple of years ago, but they barely made a splash. Now, spirits giants Diageo and Beam both have energized their marketing juggernauts.