Punch Drunk 

Flavored vodka jumps the Mountain Dew-tinged shark.


Dude, Where's Your Dignity?

Brutal regimes crumble as the tired, huddled masses fight in the streets with stones and fists and weapons originally produced for the Great War. The U.S. military is directly engaged in two conflicts and has its massive paw in another. The recession, which has rendered millions broke and unemployed, is starting to give way to prosperity. Capitalism reigns in booming Communist China. AIDS, nuclear proliferation, tsunamis, Donald Trump!

Clearly there can be no better moment in the history of mankind for the release of something so significant, so mind- and life-alteringly delicious, so ... well, the words to properly describe it just don't exist in the English language yet!

This is Three Olives "Dude" vodka.

Mountain Dew-flavored vodka. From the same marketing acumen that introduced us to Bubble Gum-flavored vodka, we have yet another reason for overweight, soda-swilling, Xbox-playin', acne-ridden, 13-year-old boys to start drinking early. As if getting rejected by every girl in school isn't forcing them to the bottle already.

Flavored vodka has jumped the proverbial drunken shark. And I thought that the KFC Double Down was the absolute peak of the couch-ensconced human's ingenuity.

Three Olives should be ashamed. At this point it might as well start advertising on every billboard within a mile radius of all La Petite Academies. It should hang rattlers on the necks of all bottles. It should sign up Raffi for celebrity endorsements.

Dude. The name alone ... I mean, I'm exasperated. Dude, where's our dignity? Dude, militant Islamic extremists hate us because why? Dude, I can't see my penis. Dude, after we hit the liquor store, lets go by 7-Eleven for some Jolt Cola and Cheetos.

In equally depressing news, I've counted at least 15 area bars that have picked up Dude since it was released in Virginia two months ago. Yes, people are drinking this. Even bartender and local tastemaker Jimmy Budd recently took time away from his nonstop party-producing to post on the Three Olives Facebook page: "Three Olives Dude — where's my car?"

An informal poll of bartenders sitting around me last Monday confirms the Dude's growing popularity:

"Between this and the whipped cream vodka, there's gonna be a lot of drunk 16-year-old girls!" — Jesse Selbert

"Finally! A liquor you can drink while playing Halo." — Kyle Williams

"Inexperienced bandwagon drinkers, ages 19 to 22, will be all over this. I mean, the ones with fake IDs will be." — Dane Acton

"I mixed Dude vodka with half a bottle of Mountain Dew and got stupid drunk! Couldn't even taste the vodka!" — Some drunk guy a few seats down whom I have no intention of ever being friends with.

I'm also deeply ashamed to admit that I have tried the Dude — twice. I tried it with Red Bull, which is akin to grabbing a cheeseburger from McDonald's and then hitting Burger King for the fries. Which, I suppose, is about as American as you can get.

And maybe, when it's all said and done, what Americans need is more distraction, something to take our minds off of bills and wars and work. Maybe that's what the world needs. And maybe, just maybe, now really is the time for the Dude. I mean, Mountain Dew vodka probably isn't the absolute end of Western society. It can always get worse ... right?

Just warn me before it does. I need to book a one-way ticket to Tripoli.

Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback contributes to Mixology magazine in Germany, tweets @jackgoesforth and blogs at jackgoesforth.blogspot.com. Email: bartender@styleweekly.com.



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