This year has given Americans a few things. A rolling constitutional crisis, a once-in-a-century pandemic, a once-in-a-generation national uprising driven by systemic racism and police violence, and a Black Swan event on the stock market met by an equally creepy instarecovery divorced from financial reality. Unemployment’s additional benefits have been cut, eviction moratoriums are lapsing and we’re marching in the streets. The specter of the most important election since the Civil War looms in every breath, a round-the-clock fixture of anticipation and anxiety, little platelets of fear and hope spiraled into our national DNA. As the rest of the world gets back to some semblance of normal, here we are, American and paralyzed, a slow-moving snowball disaster rolling inexorably downhill toward a future we cannot accurately predict.
Times like these call for the simplest possible drinks. Make mine a Vodka LaCroix.
It should be one part vodka and two parts flavored carbonated water of your choosing served over two to three rocks in a lowball glass. This is a brand-agnostic drink—you can be drinking a Langers Kalamansi Lime or a Polar Toasted Coconut or a Wegman’s Black Cherry and it’s still a Vodka LaCroix. Don’t ask why; it’s not a thinking person’s drink, though there is a whiff of postmodernism about it, a kind of white noise in a glass. Ice is an essential component—we aren’t nihilists—but Vodka LaCroix is built to do a job, and do it quickly, and that job is numbing the edges of our collective discontent and creeping dread.
To be clear, this is not an inventive cocktail developed out of LaCroix as a component part, as featured previously on PUNCH. There was a time and place for such drinks, and it was last year, in the Before Times, the Long Long Ago. In 2020, the Vodka LaCroix serves more of a societal palliative purpose. It contains all of the mindlessness of the White Claw craze with none of the revelry, because what is there to revel in, and who can think of reveling? It is delicious in a post-industrial, end-of-history kind of way you shouldn’t think too hard about. It’s minimalist middle-class madness. It is an existential nightmare. It is the collapse of Western society.
I like mine very cold, with very good imported vodka: Polugar, Pravda, Cîroc, Belvedere. Your choice of flavored seltzer says a lot about you, and Pamplemousse meets vodka in a different place than, say, Peach Pear or Lime or Lemon, or even Múre Pepino. Coconut LaCroix and Vodka is a miserable vacation in a glass. NiCola Vodka LaCroix is like a dry Cuba Libre. Polar Unicorn Kisses with vodka tastes like heaven… or perhaps purgatory. The Vodka LaCroix is not built for riffing—though of course you can riff; the world hasn’t ended yet. Add a splash of cardamom bitters to Black Cherry, or use Fiji water for the ice cubes and think of Mad Max. Vodka LaCroix doesn’t judge, it desensitizes.
Serve it at my funeral.
A Vodka LaCroix
1 1/2 ounces vodka, ice cold
3 ounces LaCroix or other flavored carbonated water, once a totem of middle-class conspicuous consumption
Bitters, if desired
- Add rocks to rocks glass.
- Pour vodka over rocks.
- Pour LaCroix over vodka.
- Add bitters if desired.
- Consume while doomscrolling Twitter.