My Grandpa and I Review Arizona Hard Green Tea

Cracking open a cold one with a man of few words.

I love writing for magazines, but not quite as much as my friends and family love the job’s perks. My sister gets the seat next to me at musicals, my partner is the go-to for restaurant openings and my roommates get to scrap around for any spare plus-ones. It’s tough making it big. Do they love me for me, or for my mail?

Sharing has become a little more complex recently (thanks COVID!), but unsurprisingly, it’s still not hard to find someone to have a distanced drink with.

Arizona launched a hard green tea in Canada this year, with much of their marketing focused on nostalgia. Following their theme of history, I thought I’d test out the vodka-fied green tea throwback drink with my 82-year-old grandpa. Grandpa Ted isn’t a big talker, but he’s also not a liar. I knew I’d get his honest, if short, opinion. He also doesn’t drink much liquor nowadays, but ocha is an after-dinner staple at my grandparents’ house. Green tea every day.

After we cheers’ed (and I sat down six feet away, ’cause we’re a COVID-conscious family of green tea fiends) and took a sip, he gave his first impression: “Sweet.” Very. Like the zero-proof version, Arizona Hard has its fair share of sugar. The vodka taste is barely there, which is certainly a plus if you like your drinks drinkable. “Tell them it’s nice and mild,” he said shortly after. I’d say the beverage stars sweetness, with green tea playing a supporting role and vodka a cameo. Another quip from Grandpa: “Not bad.”

Arizona might have had an ’80s throwback in mind, but really, the drink harkens back to the days when you sought out drinks that tasted like juice and didn’t care if mixing vodka shots with Sunny D made you look like a loser. Whether that era was the ’80s, ’90s or 2016 (guilty), it’s kind of cool to revisit once in a while. I think both Grandpa and I would prefer a rum and coke most days, but on this hot Sunday afternoon, easy drinking was definitely “not bad.”

Arizona Hard is available at BC Liquor stores by the can—it’s $3.49 a pop.