Les Francais – ahhh! I heart most things French. I’m fluent in the language. I’ve been there several times. Many relatives of mine call France home and I’m partly descended from our infamously frog leg-loving brethren. I’d pick my dumbass up and move there in a hearbeat if I had the balls and wherewithal to uproot my family. The culture is beyond exquisite, the food supremely brilliant and the lifestyle (focus on socialization, eating and relaxation) is the best thing this side of the Pearly Gates.
However, when it comes to France’s mass-produced liquor industry, Old World charm, and attention to detail, have given way to greed on a grand scale. At least, that’s the case for the shit that Big Business has been pushing on us Americans over the last decade or so.
With that, let’s take a look at some brands you should – um – perhaps reconsider carrying. Eh.. to each his own I guess. This is simply my rant on what I’ve come to loathe serving over the years and what will never be carried in the bar where, one day, I will call myself proprietor.
1. Hennessy: Does this really require a description? I think not. Witness: Public Enemy #1. The debauchery, childish behavior and rampant love affair in song for this entry-level Cognac is legendary. Do yourself a huge favor and stock different selections – a series of fine V.S.O.P.s. Carry some Martell Cordon Bleu (my personal favorite) and 2 or 3 top-shelf selections. Hide the Henny-hen-hen in the back if you can. The problem is, Henny is a staple. You can’t run a bar without certain standard selections including: Hennessy, Absolut, Bacardi, Tanqueray, Cuervo, etc. You get the idea…
2. Hpnotiq: This alcoholic Kool-Aid describes itself as a “delicious blend of vodka, fruit juices, and Cognac.” Net net: sweet-tooth fodder for kiddies and hip-hop clubs. These folks make a killing selling unsuspecting goofballs blue crap. Ban #1 and #2 from your bar, and you’ve done yourself a huge favor – banishing the evil Incredible Hulk drink.
3. Alizé: They’re in the same category as the aforementioned Hippie Hip. They market their crap to the same clientele and are also proud to rake in beaucoup dinero, muchacho. Funny thing is, Alizé is quite a nice drink over the rocks on a really hot day. I can picture myself lying on a hammock with a good book sipping the stuff over a few ice cubes. Carrying it at your bar or ordering it out, however, is not a badge of honor.
4. E&J: “American” (yuck!) Brandy. Not French but I threw it in with this group because (1) it’s of French influence and (2) it fits the mold. This pisswater is utter crap. Don’t drink it. Don’t carry it. Blame it on the A-a-a-a-a alcohol – or rather, brothers Ernest & Julio Gallo of Californian wine fame. This greedy Laurel and Hardy dynamic duo spent years fuming mad at all the jummy Cognac and tidy sums being made by France, along with some pretty tasty, competing Spanish brandys. One night in the late 30′s, they said to themselves: “Hey, let’s make us some cheap shit brandy to get all the ignorant and poor feeling all nice. We’ll mass-produce and market it in the inner cities alongside Kennedy Fried Chicken and bodegas. We’ll make a killing beating the French at their own game!” Legend has it that Ernie and Jules ended this conversation with a chest bump and a failed attempt at a Black Man’s Handshake.
5. Cîroc: It’s actually decent vodka – on par with it’s European counterparts like Grey Goose and Belvedere. It’s distinguished from its competition in that it’s distilled from grapes (as opposed to potatoes, wheat, rye or corn). The problem, like all the other brands mentioned here, is their marketing and mass-production. These distillers have marketed their wares to the same clientele as all the others on this list – thus, the problem. Furthermore, these are no small-batches they’re brewing up – and there is usually an inverse relationship between mass-production and quality.
6. White Zinfandel: Arguably, the most popular and sweetest wine on the planet. Although they may be familiar with Sauvignon or Pinot Blanc,those varieties are just not sweet enough. The crowd that drinks White Zin by the bucket usually has never heard of Riesling, Suaternes or Moscat (name fail: too Muskrat sounding to ever gain significant popularity). Lots of mass producers, not just the French, are responsible for cashing in on this craze: Gallo, Mondavi, Beringer and lately, Barefoot (gross) are all guilty of pushing sub-par wine in massive quantities.
Did you notice the similarities between every one of the brands noted here? Guess what? They’re all loaded with sugar. Sugar (like gluten and fried shit) is like crack. There have been noteworthy scientific studies concluding that sugar has similar effect on brain synapses to cocaine – high levels of dopamine and endorphins running around up there. Combined with the depressant alcohol, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a party. The downside, is that these drinks contribute significantly to feeling all zombie-like the next day with massive hangovers. You’ve been warned.