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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bros Icing Bros: Our Food Critic Taste-Tests Smirnoff Ice Flavors

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 7:44 AM

Crucial question: What flavor's best for icing? - MARISHEIBLEY/FLICKR
  • MariSheibley/Flickr
  • Crucial question: What flavor's best for icing?
Bro-on-bro icing is the meme du jour. What started out as a fratboy prank in South Carolina has been picked up by Wall Street traders, A-list bloggers, San Francisco hiptards, and Fortune magazine, all within the space of two weeks.
click to enlarge Crucial question: What flavor's best for icing? - MARISHEIBLEY/FLICKR
  • MariSheibley/Flickr
  • Crucial question: What flavor's best for icing?
Apparently, the appeal of forcing your friends to down a 24-ounce bottle of "premium malt beverage" crosses more demographic boundaries than Justin Bieber or baby lemurs.

Background intel: The rules, courtesy of the official Bros Icing Bros site. Some Youtube videos. A website putting Ashton Kutcher on alert.

Here at the SF Weekly, we believe in old-fashioned consumer journalism. We serve at the pleasure of you, the victim/perp/conspirator/all of the above. To wit, yesterday afternoon our excruciatingly trained, highly professional staff conducted a comparative tasting of Smirnoff Ice flavors.

Acquisition notes: Apparently, San Francisco convenience stores are too

classy for Smirnoff Ice. You can find your hefeweizens and double IPAs on every corner, but a bottle of Pomegranate Fusion? Not in this city. While most stores stock 24-ounce bottles of the original Smirnoff Ice ― the .45 caliber of Icing incidents ― more exotic weaponry was harder to secure. It took trips to eight convenience stores and four supermarkets to locate a 24-ounce bottle of Green Apple Bite (FYI: Frank's

Liquors, 1699 Haight), and we found that only the largest Safeways and BevMo carry

six-packs of Mango! and Raspberry Burst. On a personal note, you haven't tasted humiliation until you've approached

the staff person in BevMo's Belgian beer aisle to ask where you can find big

bottles of mango-flavored Smirnoff Ice.

Tasting notes, in order of preference:

Original "Triple-Filtered"

Appearance: Milky

Bouquet: Fresh, grapefruit, lemon verbena
Notes: Initially, the Smirnoff Ice comes across as a cross between Squirt and Lemon Pledge, with a vibrant acidity, abundant effervescence, a grapefruit aroma that grows with every sip,  and considerable sweetness. There is a faint bitterness to the finish, which may be attributable to a) real grapefruit juice; b) the aforementioned premium malt beverage; c) petrochemicals.
Could you chug a bottle of this? Yes, if immediately followed up with a shot of single-estate Sumatran.

Appearance: Clear
Bouquet: Tropical, bubblegum, notes of barnyard dust
Notes: Somewhat controversial among tasters. The chief taster couldn't believe that this unspecifically fruity beverage was being marketed as "mango." Three of the tasting panel, however, expressed surprise at its palatability. A faint impression of alcohol was detected in the finish of this one. Lips emerged from the glass sticky with sugars.
Could you chug a bottle of this? If Rye Crisps or a decent washed-rind blue cheese were allowed between swigs, perhaps.

Raspberry Burst
Appearance: Clear
Bouquet: Raspberry popsicle, spritzed with raspberry car deodorant, with some raspberry incense burning in the background
Notes: Again, the tasting panel was divided. The chief taster, who admits to sucking down Mixed Berry Emergen-C at the hint of a cold or hangover, was not offended by the taste. However, pronounced retching noises were heard among the lesser panel members; most were faked. A spit cup was passed around.
Could you chug a bottle of this? Remind us, what's the penalty for failing the icing? Ostracization? For how long? Because after a few swallows of this, we'd be demanding specifics and weighing options.

Green Apple Bite
Appearance: Clear
Bouquet: Jolly Rancher, chalk, that time we drank two appletinis and got really sick
Notes: Green apple is a controversial artificial flavor, with little of grape or cherry's nostalgia to make it palatable to drinkers in the 21-to-45 market segment. Once again, no taste of alcohol was detected in the sample, partially because half of the tasting panel was pouring out their glass before they sipped and the other half tossed it back in order to avoid letting more than a few drops linger on the tongue. The expressions of disgust were unanimous.
Could you chug a bottle of this? No way in hell. Clearly, we have a winner. 

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Jonathan Kauffman


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