You probably won’t believe this, but back in high school I was a seltzer sort of guy. I know, I know, it’s hard to imagine me — me! of all people! — being one of those walking stereotypes, swilling seltzer, wearing a mink stole, sporting a Prince Albert, growing out my pinkie nail, listening to Kraftwerk and Sheena Easton, driving a Dodge truck … I mean, it’s embarrassing to think back on, but you know, everyone was into that “look” at the time. But even I couldn’t stomach straight seltzer water and had to fake it with flavored waters, which worked out because I had a Price Club card at the time and could pick up entire cases of New York Seltzer and Clearly Canadian.
Unfortunately, these cases were variety packs, so even though I could drink Black Cherry New York Seltzer exclusively, all day all night, there came a time when I had to suffer through Orange or Blueberry. Luckily, these were teeny tiny glass bottles, so at least anything unpleasant was over with quickly.
Clearly Canadian was always my second-choice seltzer, probably because it was closer to soda water than soda pop, Q.E.D. kind of bitter when you get right down to it. But CC has survived into contemporary times while NYS has not, so I picked up a bottle of good old Cherry Clearly Canadian this weekend, letting the sparkling waves of nostalgia wash over me.
Because even though the new bottle design is all fancy-pants, with each flavor sporting a different retro pattern (The Halftone! The Lava Lamp! The Wacky Grid!), the taste is exactly the same: that vague, bitter cherry, distantly medicinal.
So yeah I wasn’t all “there is an early 1960s-style orgy in my mouth and basically everyone is invited” but I still judge it as a Positive Drinking Experience because I felt smooth, sophisticated, and mature while drinking it. This was not an Extreme soda, it was not an unnaturally bright fluorescent color, it did not taste like there was a chemical spill down at Old Man Johnson’s Pop Shoppe. CCC was mild, subtle, elegant — just like the great nation of Canadia itself. And as I sipped it calmly and quietly — not my usual chug-and-gargle, burbling and spewing and shrieking — I found myself laughing, gently, affectionately, at the old selzter-drinking Josh of yore, injecting heroin into his eyes, playing croquet, and befouling himself in the way that only the young, and young at heart, truly can.