Life’s better when you allow yourself to enjoy the novelty of a gimmick, and no one loves a good gag product more than me. So when Arby’s announced that they’d be releasing two french-fry-flavored vodkas earlier this month, I felt like their target consumer. While I’d never actually been to an Arby’s prior to receiving this very important message, the whole shtick sounded so boldly stupid and unnecessary that I had to get on board. There’s a crinkle fry and a curly fry varietal, after all. How perfectly gimmicky is that?
A 750-milliliter bottle of either flavor goes for $60, which is a bit more than I usually pay for booze. Thankfully, however, Arby’s was kind enough to send me a special box containing portions of both vodkas, as well as a kit to make their recommended cocktail, the Bloody Mary.
Again, I’m not exactly an Arby’s frequent flyer, so receiving a 23-pound wooden box engraved with the words “Arby’s Vodka” was hilarious to me. Within the box were 100-milliliter bottles of each flavor, a jug of tomato juice, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, olives, horseradish, Arby’s “Horsey” sauce, a powdered barbecue seasoning for the rim, a metal straw and a shot glass, the latter of which was also engraved with “Arby’s Vodka” (I will cherish this forever). All of the ingredients were for their “Crinkle Fry Bloody Mary,” though I’d have to procure the recommended crinkle fry and mozzarella stick garnish myself.
I most certainly did. On Saturday afternoon, I trekked out to the middle of Queens to go to Arby’s for the first time. I always associated the brand with divorced fathers who don’t quite know how to feed themselves, but I’ve also always considered roast beef to be a respectable cold-cut, so I immediately saw the appeal. I purchased chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks and both types of french fries. On the train ride home, I absolutely radiated with the scent of fried food.
The chicken tenders weren’t required, but I needed them to bribe my boyfriend into making the Bloody Mary for me. A Bloody Mary requires quite a few steps and some heavy shaking, and I was fatigued from my arduous quest to Arby’s. While he mixed, I sipped the vodkas for an initial taste. With the crinkle fry version, I detected notes of salt on the nose. Mostly, though, I detected vodka.
The curly fry vodka was more or less similar, with an added, extremely subtle spiciness. There wasn’t a terrible burn from either — they were smooth sippers, which isn’t something I tend to experience with vodka. But the fry flavorings were so mild that frankly, I don’t think I would have noticed them if I wasn’t told they were there.
But the Bloody Mary with the french fry, mozzarella stick and olive garnish? That was a delight. Again, I couldn’t really taste the french-fry flavoring in the drink itself, but it was a solid Bloody Mary recipe. My boyfriend described the experience of making it as being like a child at a restaurant, bored and finished with their meal, mixing together everything that’s left on their plate. He doesn’t like Bloody Marys, but I do. A Bloody Mary adorned with a skewer of foods is typically reserved for restaurant dining, but I now feel confident bringing that luxurious experience home.
Arby’s vodka is, obviously, best suited for the ultimate Arby’s fan (or gimmick lovers like myself). A vodka aficionado looking for rare and unique flavor profiles will probably look elsewhere, but for those of us looking to add a little flair into our daily lives, it’s not half bad. Why not choose a vodka allegedly flavored after fast food? Why not visit the drive-through and get some french fries and mozzarella sticks to add to your drink? Why not add a little extra novelty to your life?
Worst-case scenario, your vodka tastes a little salty, and a little like french fries.