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Non-beer alcohol that isn’t carbonated or sickeningly sweet? Yes please.
Like many young women who aren’t brave enough to steal vodka from their parents, my very earliest drink of choice was Mike’s Hard Lemonade. (Sorry if that reference triggers your gag reflex. You’re not alone.) It only took a season of Throwing Up the Next Morning—and one very special episode of Throwing Up at the Bar—for me to learn that sugary drinks are bad news. Mainly if you’re drinking more than 3. Which I did, always.
And though I’ve heard the rumours that everyone wakes up one day and magically likes the taste of beer, it hasn’t happened to me yet. So mixed drinks—usually gin and tonic—have been my go-to order for the last six years. Which is fine if you’re at a bar or some dirty guy’s house party (kitchen floor covered in mud, literally!) but not super convenient for pandemic-conscious backyard, park or beach drinking in 2021. Mixed drinks don’t travel well, and I do wish I could just grab a 6-pack of something and be on my way.
Well, the summer drink gods have spoken, and their answer is Kamloops-made Virtue Wholesome Lemonade. The new vodka-based beverage comes in three flavours (Original Lemonade, Pink Lemonade and Watermelon Lemonade), and all are notably non-carbonated and even more notably, not super sweet. In fact, the first sip is a bit tart—yes, like real lemonade. I tried all three (what’d I tell you, I implement my own three drink minimum) and liked them all, but the original was my favourite. My inner 19-year-old came out as I remarked to my park buddies how great these would be in a drinking game. No losers.
Post-consumption, I had no headaches or yucky feelings of any kind. Makes sense—there’s 8 grams of sugar in a can compared to the 32 grams (good god) in Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Virtue lemonades are like when a wild, reckless couple (Mike’s and Hey Y’alls, let’s say) have a child who grows up to be extremely responsible and high-achieving. Success born from necessity.
Virtue lemonade is now being sold individually and in 12-packs ($24.99) at select private liquor stores. Sharing is caring, right? I can tell you that my friends and I have perfected the sanitized six-feet-away-toss, and 4/4 of the 24-year-old gals surveyed said they would buy.
Which brings up the question: Will this beverage will break through the ridiculous shackles of “girly drinks” the way White Claws somehow did? Only time will tell. But if your own toxic masculinity is stopping you from drinking pink lemonade, I say more for the rest of us. It’s easy drinking. Life’s hard enough.