I always enjoyed drinking Seltzer water at bar and grills. I loved the way it shot out of the gun and how the excitement of the bubbles covered up the nastiness of tap water. In my tinted plastic cup the seltzer crackled away over some freshly machined ice; the evening sun smiled in as the slice of citrus was applied; the straw slid in erotically.
It was a social thing. I would only drink seltzer when I was out with friends, where there was a seltzer gun and ice, and citrus, and straws. When I was at home alone I would only drink Brita water like a normal person. But sometimes when I got home after a hard day, those super fun bubbles would call to me, and one day I broke down. I figured if I bought some fancy fizzy mineral waters like Pellegrino or Gerolsteiner it was fine; they’re European, I was a connoisseur.
Soon I was up to one, maybe even two bottles a day. But my wages were too meager to sustain this expensive Italian habit. So I switched to the cheap seltzers, the Vintage brand, the store brand, but they didn’t give me the same flavor fix that those sweet, sweet minerals did. I could have bought a lemon and recreated the bar and grill experience, but who has time for such an onerous chore. That’s when it hit me: they sold the cheap seltzer preloaded with that tangy citrus flavor. And that’s when my life began its flush down the toilet of flavored seltzer water.
Part two: Enter The Tropical Mai Tai Chamber
Once you go through the gateway of citrus flavored seltzer, you embark on a chemically enhanced odyssey that ends in a pit of Pomegranate Sangria shame. The next step for me was graduating to the harder stuff, the Poland Springs.
Once Perrier came out with Lemon, Lime, and Grapefruit flavors, flavored seltzer seemed legitimized. Poland Spring was a reputable brand, but they did have semi-freaky flavors. I figured, why not. Mandarin Orange? Sounds pretty classy. Maybe getting a little freaky with your seltzer isn’t so outside the mainstream. Before I knew it that was all I drank. I got up in the night for a sip of water: Raspberry/Lime. Now I’ve got a $1.49 a day habit and I’m cruising grocery stores for buy-4-get-1-free specials.
And the whole time I was cruising, there was this ridiculous brand in the aisle called Polar with a rainbow of colored labels and fantastical flavors like Vanilla Orange, Blueberry Lemonade, and Raspberry fucking Mojito. I’d scoffed to myself about how I’d never lower myself to be one of “those people” as I stuffed my basket full of Poland Springs Lemon/Lime.
And then one day, nothing was tangy enough for me anymore, and I was staring at the lemon on the Poland Springs label like Madame Bovary staring at her farting, dork husband. And I thought, “How bad could a touch of Granny Smith Apple be?” It turns out it satisfies every need I never knew I possessed. And that’s when I made the switch to Polar flavored seltzer. Now my life is a wonderland of Cucumber Melon, Mango Papaya, and Vanilla Pear. It’s a dream I hope I never wake up from.