Every once in a while, I take a breather from my professional schedule to make fun of Drink Me magazine, which continues to show up in my inbox despite me not subscribing to it and never doing anything but make fun of it, but which I do not mark as spam because I clearly revel in making fun of it.
If you are not familiar with Drink Me, good. If you are familiar with it, but are not familiar with me, it’s probably because you are a serious wine person who cannot take wine writers seriously if they regularly stray from pedagogic, stultifying, big-word wine columns in order to take cheap shots at the columns of other wine writers.
So be it—you’re probably mean to your mother too and have nasty, prurient thoughts involving your friends’ children.
We Doubted it Too, So We Fact-Checked it (Twice)!
But for Christ’s sake, if you do know Drink Me, you know how often they rely on the ol’ clickbait headline to drag you in—the journalistic equivalent of an email from the deposed multimillionaire finance minister of Nigeria—and it may be part of my 2016 weltschmerz, but when I see such cheap attention grabs from a site that sells advertising based on hit count, I’m hardwired to expect total disappointment. So, when I was baited into clicking ‘Five Things You Never Thought Could Be Turned Into Alcohol’ I wasn’t totally disappointed by my subsequent total disappointment.
You Gotta See What Happens Next…!
For the record, though, before I launch my crapulous critique: As far as clickbait goes, the Drink Me headline was pretty bush league. Good clickbait headlines pick up any curiosity stragglers with one of the most effective tools at yellow journalism’s disposal: The sub-headline. The sub-headline is meant to imply to you, the reader, that if you or do not read the entire story from start to finish you will be deprived of something critical to your future happiness or at least, will be left fluttering a handkerchief on the mental platform when the Smart Train leaves the station.
But Drink Me does not employ the sub-headline, and—I suggest—to their peril. I will guarantee you that any curiosity gap not bridged by ‘Five Things You Never Thought Could Be Turned Into Alcohol’ could have been given short shrift had they added the sub-headline, ‘#3 = Gag Me With a Spoon!’ or ‘You’ve Been Flushing #4 Down the Toilet!’
I mean, if you are going to be an annoying, hyperbolic, extortionist, overpromise/underdeliver rag, at least do it right.
Like I do.
Big Wine Publications Hate Him, And You’ll Never Guess Why!
Sure you will. Because I out-absurd the absurdist, out-bullshit the bullshitter and out-bait the baiter. In fact, you might say I’m a master baiter. The Drink Me piece listed the following five alcohol-ready items: Dandelions, oranges, potatoes, spruce and maple sap. Big deal, huh? I would assume most people capable of reading a fourth grade book on how to make Pruno out of cafeteria canned peaches know that alcohol is merely the conversion of sugar, either natural or stirred in with a big spatula, to C2H5OH. Thus, anything with sugar in it, and nothing to inhibit the action of ambient yeast cells, will ferment. This, of course, includes sugar water. Anything added to fermented sugar water (like dandelions, oranges, potatoes, spruce and maple sap) is meant as a ‘flavoring’ agent, so if you have never heard of, say, dandelion wine, it’s because you don’t read Ray Bradbury, and if you haven’t heard of orange, potato, spruce or maple sap wine, it is likely because in a world of Romanée-Conti, Montrachet and Egon Müller Scharzhofberg Trockenbeerenauslese, there really is no need to make wine out of Aunt Jemima or pinecones.
Simply because something can be done does not mean that it should be done, right?
As such, here are five more things that, although they can be made into wine, nobody not incarcerated in a maximum-security third-world prison actually has.
#6: Peruvian Stink Badger Bile: Obtaining the main ingredient may be more difficult than making the sugar water, but anonymous sources tell me that super-adorbz black market Peruvian Stink Badger babies can be purchased from Global Exotics out of Arlington, Texas. The bile, of course, can be found in the creature’s gallbladder, and if you don’t know which one the fucking gallbladder is, buy one of those machines that has a Google inside it, Dr. Moreau.
#7: Fukushima Runoff Water: It’s recommended that you wear a hazmat suit while fermenting this electric elixir, which has the additional clickbait potential of not only increasing your penis size by three inches, but actually growing you additional penises.
#8: Light Sweet Crude Oil: Recipe courtesy the ex-captain of the ex-buoyant Exxon Valdez.
#9: Saliva from Heroin-Addicted, AIDS-Infected Lepers: I didn’t believe it myself, so I fact checked it. Twice. Turns out that among the most amendable substance on earth to fermentation, based the ideal balance of enzymes, sugars, tannins and acidity, is ripe organic grape juice. I know this has nothing to do with junkie lepers, but why in the world would anybody ferment their spit? That would be as gross as fermenting maple sap.
And I know there is no #10. That’s how clickbait works, suckers. Like the Mafia. Just when you think you’re out, we pull you back in. We are on a divine mission from God to see how many cheap emotional ploys, empty promises and worthless listicles you people can endure.
And we suspect that the number is legion.
That said, if you really need to know (and you do) what the number one substance that you didn’t know could be turned into alcohol is, click the hyperlink and receive your super-cute reward.
Onward and upward, droogies.