Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WOBW Day 2: Orange Driver

Unlike Mad Dog and Thunderbird, which both have reputations-- nay, legacies--Orange Driver is a mystery. If MD Classic is the brains, MD Orange Bliss is the looks, MD Banana Red is the useless chick, and Thunderbird is the muscle, Orange Driver is the wildcard. Literally the only thing I found online about it was someone on a messageboard warning people to stay away from it. They didn't even have it at the Ingles. I had to go to Sav-Mor. Sav. Mor.

Here, here. Let me read you the label. "Select white wine, sub-standard grape wine from choice grapes, citrus neutal spirits with natural orange flavor artificially colored with FD & C Yellow #5 & 6. Contains Sulfites." None of that sounds appetizing-- particularly the "sub-standard" and the fact that the artificial colorings in it are banned in the UK--which leads me to believe they are legally obligated to put that on the label. Also, that's the front label, right under the name of the drink, so either printing a back label would have been too expensive (this is 80 cents cheaper than MD) or that's the kind of disclaimer you legally have to put front and center.

"It's full of red dye. Number two!"

Also, it's got a plastic cap. Fuck this shit. And my buddy Ross and I are gonna be reviewing it.

Tang. It really does just look like tang and nothing else. This looks the least like alcohol out of anything I have actually reviewed. I can't even really talk about the look except that is bright astronaut-juice orange, and I hate it. I hate it so much.

It does not, however, smell like Tang. It smells so much worse. Like a lot of the bumwines I've reviewed, there's two layers of aroma: the sugary, artificial kind, and the bitter wretched alcohol beneath it. And within the smell of awful alcohol is the smell of onions. And within them is death.
Amazingly enough though, it's not French.

Neither is Brel, though. He's belgian.
God. Awful. It tastes like nothing so much as orange peels, and not even fresh ones at that. Not orange juice, not even fresh orange peels, it's like if you found an orange in the back of your fridge that hadn't rotted so much as it at dehydrated, and then when you picked it up the withered fruit just sloughed out of the skin, so you were like, "welp, fuck it," and just chowed down on the peel. It tastes like the orange toothpaste your dentist gives you. It tastes the way I imagine Warren Zevon's kisses would have in the final year of his life-- cancer and triple sec.
I was thinking that the gypsy wasn't lyin' /All the salty margaritas in Los Angeles  / I'm gonna drink 'em up.

I am so, so sorry for that joke. But in my defense, I think Zevon is the only respectable human being who might be into Orange Driver.

This also is the opposite of refreshing-- the more I drink of it, the thirstier I get and the more I want to drink something else. Not just because the taste is bad, but because it honestly makes me need to hydrate. 

Ross, being the kind, generous soul that he is, went down to the gas station and brought back a big cup of 50/50 Sprite and Hawaiian Punch. And I gotta say, it helps. It really, really does. Granted, it makes it taste even more like child's punch, but hey-- at least it just  tastes like child's punch. I think you could make a good psychological argument for this: reverting to childhood and saccharine ignorance of the beauty of adulthood in order to escape the associated trauma. In a way, It's as though the ordinary satisfaction is so ugly and so associated with pain that I retreat to a mutilated, simplified abstraction of something that should give me pleasure.

Pinky-- are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Told ya man. Cronenberg. Mascot. This is a thing.

Can I just say, too, that this is a really unhappy drunk? This isn't even a buzz as much as it is a drone. It makes me want to clench my hands into white-knuckled fists and it makes me feel like a cross between every Dennis Hopper character and the Captain from Pan's Labyrinth.
Like that, but raping.

"This isn't hobo wine-- I think there's an important distinction to make here. No hobo would drink this. This is carny wine; this is what carnies trade each other for handjobs. It tastes like a combination of orange peel and a baboon's ass, and it smells like the cheap iodine my mother put on my cuts as a child that felt like Satan."

 He also really, really wants to know what the hell would posses anyone to make this, and I agree. Baltimore may be the US capitol of bad decisions, and this ranks among the worst.

"Lucinda," if Lucinda wasn't a beautiful woman and was instead... this.

A sly grin and a bowl full of stars
Like a kid who captures a firefly
And leaves it only to die in the jar

As I kick at the clounds at my hanging
As I swing out over the crowd
I will search every face for Lucinda's
And she will off with me down to hell


  1. I don't know what happened to the Monkey Island joke but I'm leaving it that way.

  2. Hahahaha, I just looked at this and realized that the Monkey Island pic was gone. Has it been made better? I think so.

    "I'm a statue and I fucking hate your statue kids!"


  3. My roomate ( and this goes back to 1968!) discovered Orange Driver. At $1.50 a bottle back then, we consumed this product that resembled those bottles of hair tonic at the barbers. I'd bet the taste was similar too. It was a "cheap" high on a Friday night for those of us that were not beer fans. While we thought it gave us the liquid courage to showcase our debonnaire personalities at the college dances, I'm sure it drove more females away than we realized in our inebriated state. Later, I graduated to "Zapple"...a apple based bumwine that may as horrid as it is, was many steps above Orange Driver. I'm 61 now....and few even remember this. Perhaps their lives were shorteded due to the consumption of this foul, orange toxic sludge.

  4. Hah! Lightweights! There was (is?) a sister product to Orange Driver called Grapefruit Driver that makes OD go down like a high dollar champagne in comparison. I only ever remember buying it at a very small package/grocery store that was in the middle of my small town's primarily black section back in the 70's and early 80's. This is simply fact, not some racist comment.

    We postulated that despite a label listing ingredients similar to the ones posted above that it was the cheapest rotgut vodka cut with water and grapefruit flavoring. Cheap, strong, and it would get you the stupid/dangerous kind of drunk. And leave you with a particularly nasty/blindingly bad hangover the next day. We further postulated that this was because it also likely contained various toxic chemicals not listed on the label. I cannot find any mention of it on the internet so far. But it is real. My buddy Steve recalls it too or I would think maybe it was a figment of my damaged brain's imagination.

  5. I remember both Orange and Grapefruit Driver, in search of the cheapest way to get blind drunk. Only available at the sleaziest party stores. Absolutely nasty, dangerous and awesome. Easily the worst hangovers I ever had. :-)