Sugary drinks usually only occur to me when I’m flagging at work but another coffee is just not advisable. Around 15:35 on a Thursday say. If someone suggests I might like a sugary drink I can’t help but imagine myself maniacally finishing my work tasks with my head superimposed on the body of a hummingbird, like when Apu Nahasapeemapetilon drinks the world’s strongest Slush Puppy and ratchets up his heartrate until he is vibrating around the Kwik-e-Mart like a Blue-throated Goldentail.
Without a hangover, I hardly ever have a can of fizzy pop, as my fear of full-on dehydration rarely permits me to buy anything other water, but occasionally I do have a hankering for the very Weekend Dad concept of a “treat drink”. Usually this is a can of Rio. You can keep your Fentiman’s Orange jigger and your Cherry Dr Pepper (although: Phwoarr), a can of Rio is the thinking person’s Umbongo and as such is one of life’s greatest pleasures. You can’t just have it anywhere though. You need a suggestion of sunlight and you need to be in South London and you need to have either recently completed the move of a heavy object or be about to embark on a lengthy or inconvenient car journey.
If a can of Rio is not available I suppose I could be talked into an Orangina but it never feels quite right if you can’t see the Mediterranean. Orange drinks are tricky; I’m not into Tango since they stopped showing that advert, I think Fanta is too much like drinking syrup and leaves a depressing taste in my mouth and I’m not having a Mirinda unless I’m in a kebab shop, I’m not a monster.
There are hard and fast rules, certain drinks will only work in certain instances; If my job that day involves marching around Oxford Circus and upsetting every shop assistant I come into contact with then by 16:45 you may well find that I have cracked and have purchased a Pret “yoga bunny”. This is a drink that says “I am stressed, overwhelmed by packages and very much in denial about my body being a temple”
According to urban legend, the 1l carton of ribena is a better pre-mix ratio than is possible to buy anywhere on the high street or create in one’s own home. Buying a litre of pre-mixed blackcurrant squash is really rock bottom let’s be honest. It speaks of an unbelievable thirst which is shorthand for, ‘some selfish excitable prick put Tia Maria in my Guinness last night and now I can’t filter light through my eyeballs. I am staying in bed and re-watching End of Watch so that I can imagine a worse life than mine.’
‘some selfish excitable prick put Tia Maria in my Guinness last night and now I can’t filter light through my eyeballs.
Sometimes there is a hole in your world that only a proper full fat coke in a bottle can fix. That stuff is a cultural icon. It’s cheap, delicious, nostalgic, makes your tongue feel like it’s made out of a cloud of glitter and Santa Claus drinks it. It is unignorable and if you have been up for 20 hours drinking a cacophony of liqueurs and subsequently developed the kind of hangover that physically prevents you from imbibing any further substances, a glass bottle of coke with a thick lip is what you need and is all your body will allow.
It does not get more hipster than this (you can only buy it 2 months of the year!) but I recently treated myself to a tiny bottle of Square Roots Seasonal Soda “Pear and Aronia” flavour while driving around in a professional panic and it was head shakingly, shoulder shruggingly delicious. It made me consider moving to DeBeauvoir Town, buying a second bicycle and giving up drinking alcohol (and indeed anything else) altogether. In that instance I thought there was a contender to the throne of my favourite treat drink. Until I finished it (275ml are you kidding!) came home to Peckham, took hold of my senses and bought a can of Rio.