REVIEW: Mott’s Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink (Canada)

Mott's Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink

Mott’s Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink is the worst thing I’ve ever had. Note that I didn’t say that it’s the worst alcoholic drink I’ve ever had. Or even the worst beverage I’ve ever had. It’s so much worse than that. It is the worst thing I’ve ever ingested — and as a kid I ate an entire sample-sized tube of toothpaste on a dare.

Yes, eating toothpaste straight from the tube is better than this.

I honestly don’t even know how to describe the flavour. It’s piercing and relentless. It is a dentist’s drill, screaming into your taste buds, forever changing you. Haunting you.

It starts with a base of the worst tomato juice you can imagine. I guess that’s just Clamato — however, I felt compelled to try Clamato on its own for the purposes of this review, and it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t good, certainly, but at least I could drink it without triggering my gag reflex.

The ingredient list contains both onion and garlic as well as onion powder and garlic powder. This is stuff that can be quite tasty in other contexts, but here it seems laser-honed to make this drink as astringently foul as humanly possible.

Worst of all is the face-slappingly aggressive fake bacon flavour. You don’t notice it right away, but then it comes in hard and fast, lingering on your palate long after it has worn out its welcome. If you’ve tried one of those fake bacon products that were all the rage a couple of years back (bacon salt, bacon mayo, etc.) then you basically know what to expect — only multiplied ten-fold. This is extra strength fake bacon flavour. It is in your face and out of control. It will make you wonder why you like bacon in the first place.

Mott's Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink Closeup

I will say that the other flavours here (the disgusting ones) are so powerful that you can barely even tell you’re drinking alcohol until the buzz starts setting in. I’m sure the vodka adds some additional bitterness, but it’s so thoroughly masked by everything else that you’d have a hard time placing it. So if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like the taste of alcohol, well… Nope, I can’t finish that sentence. Even if you dislike alcohol, you’ll dislike this more. Because it is the worst.

I don’t think I’ve adequately described the horrors of this drink. I don’t have the words. Each sip was seemingly worse than the last. I knew that, for the purposes of the review, I needed to take at least one big swig rather than the tentative sips that it otherwise demanded. The prospect of this terrified me. No good could come of it. Eventually, I gathered up my courage and took a big, hearty gulp; it was like an assault. I let out a primal, guttural groan. I wanted to pass out from the awfulness.

Mott’s Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink filled me with a kind of existential dread; if a mass-market product this horrible can exist, what does it all mean? What’s the point of even getting up in the morning if a big company like Mott’s can inflict something so odious on the public with such shocking ease? A product this bad is criminal. I demand public trials and jail sentences.

I will admit that I’m not a big Caesar guy, but I had a couple of other people try it as well (because misery loves company), including one person who has Caesars semi-regularly. Both agreed it was the worst. One person decried that his taste buds were forever ruined; the other took one swig, shook his head with a very declarative “No,” and dumped the rest down the sink.

The issue of how best to remove that taste from our mouths was discussed. We all agreed that a thorough toothbrushing followed by mouthwash was probably the best course of action. Even then, the taste lingered. It’s gone now, but the memory remains. I will carry it with me for as long as I live. I will never forget.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on can.)

Item: Mott’s Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink
Purchased Price: $2.80 CAN
Size: 458 ml can
Purchased at: LCBO
Rating: 0 out of 10
Pros: It is so unspeakably awful it will give you an added appreciation for everything else in your life; after all, no matter how bad things are, you could be drinking this drink.
Cons: Horrible aftertaste. Horrible duringtaste. Horrible everythingtaste. If there is a hell, this is all they serve there. If the worst pain you’ve ever experienced — emotional or physical — could be distilled into a flavour, it would taste like this.

REVIEW: Bud Light Lime Limited Winter Edition Cran-Brrr-Rita

Bud Light Lime Limited Winter Edition Cran-Brrr-Rita Case

I have very strong opinions about booze. My bourbon should be neat, my martini should have gin, and for the love all that is holy and 86 proof in this world, stop making flavored liquor.

I have watched and seethed as Absolut developed 700 different vodka flavors, then watched as this phenomenon spread like a virus to other liquors, to the point where there’s cinnamon whiskey and watermelon tequila.

Furthermore, every time I see a bottle of Pinnacle Vodka, whether it be whipped cream or cheesecake or confetti or whatever the hell their newest abomination is, I want to go insane and trash the entire booze aisle, sending glass bottles of infused bullshit crashing to the floor.

In other words, I think Ron Swanson and I would get along nicely in a bar situation.

These vehement opinions extend to beer, also. I’m not talking about things like Sam Adams seasonal beers; I’m talking about…well, a fine example would would be Bud Light Lime Limited Winter Edition Cran-Brrr-Rita.

You’d think this would not make me the best choice to review this product, but I disagree. I enjoy challenging my worldview and my objectivity, and I think this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

I also drank my fair share of Boone’s Farm and Bartles & James in college; then again, I also got a degree in Fine Arts, so I can’t really say I had the best judgment back then.

In my defense, I have actually tried Bud Light Lime before, and it wasn’t so bad. See? I’m not a total snob.

Bud Light Lime Limited Winter Edition Cran-Brrr-Rita Can

When I first poured my Bud Light Lime Limited Winter Edition Cran-Brrr-Rita from its petite eight-ounce can into a glass, it looked and smelled rather similar to cranberry soda. With the holidays just around the corner, it looked like a cheery refreshment that would look right at home at a party.

I tried it straight from the can first, and my first thought was, oh, hey, this isn’t so bad; it tastes a lot like cranberry sod…oh god what is happening.

What was happening was three worlds colliding – cranberry, Bud Light, and lime. I realize that this is a duh statement, but just think about that for a second. Bud Light and lime are acceptable together – while not quite like shoving a real lim e wedge into a light beer, it comes close enough.

Bud Light Lime Limited Winter Edition Cran-Brrr-Rita

But somehow, the addition of cranberry and the substitution of higher-proof malt liquor instead of light beer ruined everything. That one second of cranberry was quickly overpowered by the taste of beer. Let me amend that – it was overpowered by the taste of cheap, stale, incredibly skunky malt liquor, like a half-empty 40 of Mickey’s that had been left on your dad’s work table in the garage for three days.

As that taste sensation lingers, add some artificial lime. The aftertaste is a combination of sticky sweetness, tartness and stale malt liquor put together, which is just has appealing as it sounds.

I’m not sure where the Rita comes into play here, as a margarita contains tequila and I couldn’t detect any taste of that nectar of agave.

Bud Light Lime Limited Winter Edition Cran-Brrr-Rita actually tastes better if you drink it ice cold and out of a glass. The packaging ordered me several times to try it over ice, but I had no ice cubes handy, so I just put a can in the freezer for a little while (keeping a very close eye on it, because the last thing I wanted was a skunky, sticky cranberry malt liquor explosion all over my Stouffer’s lasagnas) and the cranberry seemed to overtake the stale 40 taste. I suppose it’s not a ringing endorsement when a high point of your beer product is that you can’t taste the beer (or, in this case, malt liquor) as much.

I really did go into this objectively, and unfortunately, I came out of it hating Bud Light Lime Limited Winter Edition Cran-Brrr-Rita and the fact that I still have 11 cans of it.

I think it’s cute that Bud Light tried to make a Limited Winter Edition…thing (what else can you call something named “Cran-Brrr-Rita”?), but combining sweet cranberry soda flavor with stale-tasting beer and artificial lime was a bad idea. Brrr-utally bad. I’m sorry, I use puns to cope.

On the plus side, if you leave this out during your holiday party, a child might mistake this for soda, take a drink, and instantly hate malt liquor forever, which means you’ll never have to worry about them passing around a brown paper bag containing a 40 of Colt 45. Then again, it might drive them straight into the arms of whipped cream-flavored vodka.*

*This author in no way endorses leaving booze out where children can accidentally ingest it. Or adults, in the case of Bud Light Lime Limited Winter Edition Cran-Brrr-Rita.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 ounces – 197 calories, 0 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Bud Light Lime Limited Winter Edition Cran-Brrr-Rita
Purchased Price: $10.99 (on sale)
Size: 12-pack/8 fl oz. cans
Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Festive color. The idea of having a drink with Ron Swanson. Tastes better when very cold. I guess Cran-Brrr-Rita is kind of a cute name for a limited winter edition alcohol. At least it was on sale.
Cons: Malt liquor tastes skunky as balls. Reminding me of the uselessness of my Fine Arts degree. Too sweet. The trend of infusing flavor into every liquor on the market. Cranberry, malt liquor and lime should never come together again. Having to buy 12 cans.

REVIEW: Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita

Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita

Now I know what urine tastes like from that magical flying ugly dog/dragon-thing in The Neverending Story. Of all my fantasies involving Falkor the Luck Dragon, guzzling its piss was not one of them.

Look, I understand some of you out there need something sweet to choke down alcohol (I’m staring at you underage high schoolers, college kids, and my friend Addam). However, like those awful Transformers movies, too much is really too damned much!

I’m embarrassed to say, for a martini sipping/microbrew slugging/aperitif in a small glass snob, I do like my cans of Bud Light Chelada. Maybe it’s the sweet clam and tomato juice or the salty brine that pats my tongue assuring me my secret is safe with Chelada, but me loves that beer. My wife, before celiac dropped in and ruined the party, liked Bud Light Lime.

So how bad can Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita be? You mean in addition to the stupid name?

Really bad.

I’m talking American Pie sequels direct-to-video bad. I’m telling you it’s worse than Billy Idol’s misguided technorock “Cyberpunk” album and WWE’s botched “Invasion” angle when they went to “war” with WCW and ECW. This Straw-Ber-Rita is Dis-gus-ting.

Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita Can

I was first annoyed at how small the cans were. They are only eight fluid ounces, but after a taste I wish they were even smaller. Occasionally when something smells bad, it probably tastes bad. As we get older, our taste buds become more complex and we want complicated flavors, so we sometimes ignore the smell and go to town.

Yet, when something is bad, it strikes like a hammer to the forehead. I should have known by the repulsive, sickly sweet smell emanating from the dark hole on top of the can. It could only be compared to somebody melting an entire bag of Starbursts or Strawberry Shortcake and Blueberry Muffin having sex, then farting after a good lay.

I noticed it was not very carbonated, which threw me off, but my mind melted at how sweet it was. It tasted like fruit punch spiked with grain alcohol minus the strength of grain alcohol. It took me back to the days of a college freshman trying to get smashed on ripple and dumping as much Gatorade or Hi-C to drown out the weird bitterness.

I could not taste the lime or the mock tequila. The only thing staring at me was the wall of sugar and cloying syrup that remotely tasted of candy-berries (You know that fake flavor of candy strawberries we all hate? I do anyhow). I imagine this is what cartoon characters drink when they are done filming another show. They probably kick back, do some purple colored poopies, and grab a cold Straw-Ber-Rita from their strange orange egg-shaped fridge with zany sound effects.

Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita Color

Additionally, the color is also off-putting. It was a reddish pink that looked like clay or sand from a cheap science fiction film that’s set on Mars. I understand Chelada from the can looks similar, but hell, that tastes good and it’s freaking “clamlicious!”

Anheuser-Busch lets you know that it is 8 percent alcohol, but I think there is more in my Burberry cologne because I could not taste it. The can also stated, “Margarita with a twist,” but that’s an understatement. It’s really a margarita that will make you question the faith of mankind and have you ask yourself, “Can I punch a dog in the face and get away with it?” No. Can this dreck call itself a margarita and get away with it? Double No. The box also suggests I try it on ice. I suggest nobody try it, on ice, without ice, as a body shot, or in the can itself.

As you know, you’re reminded to enjoy alcohol responsibly. The only responsible thing I can think of in regards to Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita is to walk away…walk away very fast from this concoction.

(Nutritional Facts – 8 ounces- 199 calories, 0 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita
Purchased Price: $11.99
Size: 12-pack/8 fl oz. cans
Purchased at: Publix
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: That the cans are only eight ounces, so if you are forced at gunpoint to drink this, it’s kind of a win. Surprisingly low amount of carbohydrates for a malt beverage. The Neverending Story theme song, get out of my head! No wait, come back!
Cons: It is deadly sweet. It does not taste like a margarita. That this actually exists. Direct to video sequels. Did I mention how sweet this is?

REVIEW: Magic Hat Saint Saltan and Ticket to Rye

Magic Hat Saint Saltan

I know you all think the life of a part-time junk food/fast food review writer is incredibly glamorous, but really I’m exactly like you.

I spent my Sunday working through a totally normal checklist. Doing some laundry. Catching up on the last few episodes of Top Chef. Carefully inspecting all the frozen food aisles at ShopRite and harassing the stock boys. (“Do you have the newest flavors of Ben & Jerry’s, and if not do you know when you’ll get them, and if not can I speak to ShopRite’s manager of frozen confectionery products?”)

I couldn’t find a good item to review, so I reacted much as you would to minor inconveniences – I shrugged my shoulders and went looking for my favorite beer.

Luckily, my search for a 6-pack of Magic Hat #9 guided me directly to a solution. Magic Hat has released a spring variety pack that introduces two new brews, the German-styled Saint Saltan and Ticket to Rye, an IPA. And since “I have to drink all this beer for work” is an excuse my girlfriend somehow bought, I’m now able to review these new seasonal products.

I started with the lighter Saint Saltan. It’s a Gose, which is a type of German beer that I’d previously never tried before. A quick Wikipedia search told me to expect saltiness and helped explain the origins of the Saltan name. The beer was a clear golden yellow with a white head and smelled heavily of coriander.

Taste-wise, it was very crisp and refreshing with moderate carbonation. The coriander was again a primary flavor, yet I could definitely taste the sweetness and maltiness from the lemon and wheat flavors, respectively. The saltiness manifested mostly in the after taste, which certainly made the beer more interesting but didn’t spark some divine revelation of a beer-drinking experience.

At 4.6% alcohol by volume, the Saint Saltan goes down very smoothly, almost like a wheat ale. I could imagine myself throwing one or two back on a hot summer evening, but I could just as well imagine the salty flavor losing its appeal very quickly.

Magic Hat Ticket to Rye
Moving on to the second new offering: even the most casual music listeners would recognize “Ticket to Rye” as a play on a song title, but Beatles fans might remember that the phrase was rumored to be the original title of “Ticket to Ride,” with Rye referring to a small town in England. I don’t know which reference Magic Hat intended, though I do know that I intend to come off as both a beer snob AND a music snob in this review.

In any case, Magic Hat’s “Spring Fever Mix” variety pack’s packaging is very much music-themed. Their marketing has always been fun and a little wink-wink, and I loved all the small touches on the box that represent performing equipment and radio buttons.

As for the actual beer, I thought Ticket to Rye was very, very solid. It was a dark amber color with no haze whatsoever in the pouring. As expected from an IPA, it smelled hoppy but also had a nice pine scent with some spiciness from the rye. The first thing I tasted was the spiciness, which was followed with some pine and citrus and maybe a little bit of caramel. The beer was nicely hoppy without being overwhelming so, but I thought it lost carbonation a bit too quickly. Anyone who generally enjoys IPAs would definitely find that this one goes down easy, though at 7.1 percent ABV, you’ll want to take it slow.

I enjoyed both of these new offerings, and along with the old Magic Hat standbys of #9 Not Quite Pale Ale and Pistil Dandelion Beer, they make for an excellent variety pack. These Magic Hat 12-packs were on promotional display at my local ShopRite, so you probably won’t even have to harass the stock boys to find them – go pick one up the next time you’re at the supermarket or liquor store.

Other Magic Hat Saint Saltan reviews:
Behind the Tap
Good Beer Better Hats

Other Magic Hat Ticket to Rye reviews:
Behind the Tap
Good Beer Better Hats

Item: Magic Hat Saint Saltan and Ticket to Rye
Purchased Price: $12.99 (Spring Fever Mix Variety 12-pack)
Size: 12-pack (12 oz. bottles)
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Saint Saltan)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Ticket to Rye)
Pros: Saint Saltan was light and crisp. Nice coriander and lemon flavors with interesting salty after-taste. Ticket to Rye was nicely hoppy with great rye spice, pine, and citrus flavors. Magic Hat marketing and packaging. Top Chef on the DVR. The glamorous part-time junk food/fast food reviewer lifestyle. My girlfriend doesn’t actually mind drinking on Sundays anyway.
Cons: Saint Sultan’s salty aftertaste could lose its appeal quickly. Ticket to Rye lost its carbonation a bit too quickly. Not finding any of the new Ben & Jerry’s flavors. I don’t really know anything about music.

REVIEW: Michelob Ultra Light Cider

Michelob Ultra Light Cider

There’s something paradoxical about summer, and I think I’ve pinpointed it. See, it’s the time of the year when you’re showing the most skin, and thus need to be in your best shape; yet it’s also the season when you’re most tempted to eat poorly.

Oh, I’ll grant you winter has Christmas cookies and latkes (where my interfaith readers at?), and autumn doubles up with Halloween candy and Thanksgiving dinner. But those are isolated foods tied to specific holidays. Summer is an entire three months of cooking out burgers and hot dogs, roasting marshmallows over a campfire or bonfire, and drinking beer.

And oh, there are some great summer beers. I’m not much of a hefeweizen fan myself, but there’s summer ales and pilsners and IPAs to slake your thirst and remind you of how great a dancer you really are. But the fact is, alcohol is fattening. There’s no such thing as “beer abs.”

So if you’re going to indulge your vices while wearing something that makes other people want to indulge theirs, you need a low-calorie option. And Michelob has come up with a new diet-friendly solution they hope you’ll consider, called “Drink ’till your friends take your keys, then walk home.” Just kidding, it’s Michelob Ultra Light Cider, with a third fewer calories than traditional ciders.

I’ve had this drink’s spiritual precursor, “regular” Michelob Ultra, numerous times in the past and enjoyed it well enough by light beer standards. The big problem with light drinks is my child-sized bladder, since their relatively low alcohol content means I spend half of every night in the men’s room without getting even a minor buzz.

A glance at the front of the Light Cider bottle reveals that it’s 4.0% Alcohol By Volume, relatively but not ridiculously low. (For comparison, MGD 64 is 2.8% ABV, or what we like to call “German water.”) Still, this cider is more of an “unwind with your friends after a hard day at the office” drink, not one to get trashed on and send embarrassing texts to your high school crush. (She’s happy with Brad. Move on.)

Michelob Ultra Light Cider Bottle

Admittedly I don’t know much about cider, but as the father of two preschoolers, I have a passing acquaintance with apple juice. And when the first sip hit my tongue, my immediate thought was, “This is apple juice.” That impression didn’t much change as I continued to drink. It fizzes more than apple juice, but other than that, if you’re able to detect the alcohol in this cider, you have better taste buds than I. And not that I would ever try, but I’m 99 percent sure I could give this to my 3-year-old at breakfast and she’d drink it without noticing the difference, at least until Curious George started talking back to her.

You may be thinking, “That’s cool, I like apple juice.” And if so, you probably will dig this drink. But Ned Flanders once taught me if it’s tangy and brown, you’re in cider town, and this product is not brown and only slightly tangy. But it IS sweet and yellow, which typically means you’ve got juice there, fella. The ingredient list is no help, since apparently hard cider is just apple juice concentrate with dextrose and water added. Please do me the favor of mentally putting finger quotes around that “hard” part.

In all seriousness, it’s a decent beverage, though it is kind of disconcerting to be drinking something you know is alcoholic but tastes like kindergarten. Be sure to drink quickly, as this cider tastes worse when it gets warm.

On the other hand, you can probably add a point to the rating if you drink it over ice. It’s also gluten-free, so there’s that. I could see this being a good drink for summer cookouts where you need to keep your wits about you for that beach volleyball game after lunch, or when you want a fruity drink but there’s no little umbrellas around. But I also don’t think light beer has any reason to worry about being replaced.

(At the strong prompting of my wife, I’d like to reiterate that, no, I did not give my child this alcoholic drink. Obviously. Child vomit is just WAY too hard to get out of carpet.)

(Editor’s Note/Disclosure: Drew received free Michelob Ultra Light Cider samples from the nice folks over at Michelob. We did not receive any monetary compensation for this review, but if we did, we would totally disclose that too. Also, please drink responsibly.)

(Nutrition Facts – one 12 oz bottle – 120 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 15 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of total carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugars, less than 1 gram of protein)

Item: Michelob Ultra Light Cider
Price: FREE
Size: 6 pack (12 oz bottles)
Purchased at: Received from nice folks at Michelob
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Doesn’t taste artificially sweetened (because it isn’t). ABV fairly equivalent to most light beers. Low calories and carbohydrates. Good news if you like apple juice. Slightly less girly than an appletini. Christmas cookies and latkes.
Cons: Can’t much taste the alcohol. Feels a little weird drinking cider in summer. Hard to drink a full bottle in one sitting — a little goes a long way. Really tastes and looks more like juice than cider. Tastes definitely takes a nosedive when you let it warm up.