Tangerine Dream

Harry's, 2144 Market Street; 314-421-6969.

Jun 7, 2006 at 4:00 am
The Tangerine Dream martini arrives, the result of the daring decision to blend citrus with cream in the same glass. On paper, of course, the combination is killer: the great, unsung tangerine and the equally excellent cream. Sounds heavenly, a variation on a Dreamsicle. But as anyone who's ever answered a personal ad knows, reality often trumps fantasy — in this case when the acidic citrus mixes with the dairy, and the Dream curdles in the glass. Oops. Time to rethink the concept.

Ah, concepts. So great in theory.

Take Johnny Love tangerine vodka, the brand of choice in the Tangerine Dream. Drink of the Week has been quite vocal in our distaste for the flavored vodka that has spread like a virus in the past few years, the exceptions being the well-crafted Pearl Persephone pomegranate vodka and pretty much anything Charbay puts its name behind (such as its blood orange and Meyer lemon varieties).

But this whole Johnny Love thing is ridiculous, and the proof is on the company's Web site. "Johnny Love Vodka is a brand development corporation formed to address the consumer's desire for new image-enhanced life style [sic] spirit products," reads the clumsily composed copy. (Someone should dispatch a grammar assassin to the Johnny Love HQ, pronto!) "The company's decision to introduce ‘uniquely exotic' flavored vodkas at competitive prices was based on a market anomaly created by the inability of large off-premise driven brands to become the new, fun, hip and fashionable on-premise consumed cocktails." Wha'? Translated, to the best of our ability: Johnny Love doesn't care about vodka. It cares about a market anomaly: "Johnny Love Premium Vodka will be the sales beneficiary of the imagery garnered through trial and purchase of our flavored products."

Do we want to put that bullshit in our mouth? Maybe it's not the acid that's curdling the cream.

In fact, the tangerine vodka's not curdling the cream; artificial flavoring wouldn't do that. It's the splash of orange juice, which creates little white microdots that float around in the martini glass. Toss in a splash of Cointreau, and the result, we're not afraid to admit, is actually a pretty decent frou-frou drink. Maybe it's a little too sweet, but the result is quite drinkable on Harry's gigantic back patio.

Harry's patio offers a picturesque view of downtown and is home to many a frat dude's most drunken evenings. When Dr. Zhivegas kicks out the motherfrickin' jamz, the patio can turn into one of the most raucous joints in the region. Good times pour out of this patio. It's a celebration out here, and if you haven't noticed, it's not exactly our scene. But who the hell are we to rain on perfectly awesome people's good times? Party on, live and let live, drink up. But keep snooty-ass, panty-bunched Drink of the Week the hell away. Toss us into the mix and we'd just end up curdling the whole thing.