AAARRRGGGHHH! I knew it would have to happen sooner or later. My luck couldn’t last forever. Over the past 6 months or so, I have received some absolutely wonderful hooch to taste and review. The Gins have been great, the Tequilas terrific, the Bourbons beautiful, the Rums robust, and the Vodkas very, very good. And then, along came Pucker Sour Apple Sass.

Now, don’t get me wrong, even though I am a purist by nature, I like infused vodkas. The last good one I tasted was Bakon Vodka, and it was absolutely yummy. However, this stuff is not infused; it’s confused. I also happen to really, really like sour apple vodka martinis. The best I ever had was in San Francisco in a wonderful little bar I used to frequent quite frequently called Martunis. Martunis specializes in martinis, and they do, in fact, know just how to mix up a great one. I was reluctant to try their take on a sour apple martini as anything with the word “sour” was a bit off-putting, but I finally gave in to my curiosity and boy was I glad I did as it instantly became my all time favorite martini.

So, when I peered upon the clear bottle with the huge over-sized green cap and the purple and green artwork and read sour apple flavored vodka, my mouth watered and my mind immediately went back to that city by the bay and that cozy little bar and one of my favorite drinks. When I twirled off the cap and stuck my nose in and inhaled deeply, reality brought me down from cloud 9 pretty quickly. What in the world was that smell? There was definitely something vaguely resembling green apple, but it was muddled and thick and reminiscent of a bad batch of simple syrup. There was also some kind of attempt at the aroma of acidity or tartness, but it just came off like scented finger nail polish remover.

When I took a swallow, I realized that it pretty much tasted like it smelled. It was syrupy sweet and a tad tart and yet strong tasting, again with a nod in the direction of green apples, but there were no clear clean notes of any sort, much less any crispness, and the acidity seemed more chemical rather than natural. I will admit that the underlying vodka to this jumble is quite smooth and might have been a really good stand-alone product. I poured some over ice, a lot of ice, thinking it might open up if it got really cold and was diluted a bit. But, unbelievably, it continued to be just as strong and just as unappealing. I made a martini with it and even after a great deal of shaking, not stirring, it didn’t change its attitude. I tried it with quite a few other ingredients, but nothing improved the flavor and it seemed to dominate any mixed drink I made.

Although this stuff is definitely not to my liking, I do believe that they just might have a winner on their hands anyway. I firmly believe that they can come to dominate the 21 to 29 year old demographic. Move over Jagermeister, there’s a new kid in the neighborhood! This vodka is sweet enough, and just like Jagermeister, weird enough to appeal to young adults transitioning from sugary soda pops to hard liquor. All they have to do is change the name of their product ever so slightly, and I guarantee that every young adult in every bar across America will be screaming out their name. Since this vodka is truly the mother of all sweetly strange drinks, the transition from Pucker to Mother Pucker would be a very natural one indeed.

Just imagine if you will, newly minted men, in bars everywhere, taking up the challenge. “Bet you can’t drink 6 shots of this Mother Pucker without puking”. Young women yelling across the bar; “Hey bartender, another round of Mother Puckers”. This is a product name that young adults will not only embrace but enjoy as much as the product and even supplant Jagermeister as their party drink of choice. It’s a huge market and this Mother Pucker is positioned to dominate it. Party till you puke!

By George Brozowski

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