I was reminded of a peculiar modern-day phenomenon while watching last night’s “Late Show with David Letterman”: Non-alcoholic vodka.

Non-alcoholic. Vodka. What an unholy melding of two completely separate concepts.

I guess Skyy is the chief purveyor of this weird concoction. One of the Letterman segments last night had his assistant, on location at the Olympics, walk into an official Skyy Vodka Ice Bar and order a shot of vodka. The bartender actually asked, “Alcoholic or non-alcoholic?”

Something like that would stop me dead in my tracks. Not just because I’m unfamiliar with the widespread availability of such a drink, but because it would never occur to me that there even would be a demand for it.

I realize there’s plenty of precedent. Non-alcoholic beer first reared its faux-foamy head nearly twenty years ago now. Even decaffeinated coffee, tea, and soda follow the idea of neutering normally potent brews for the sake of preserving taste.

Still, I have to say it: What’s the point? Why bother drinking vodka at all if you’re not going to get buzzed on it? I happen to like the harsh flavor, to the point of preferring it straight up without mixers. But I know I’m in the minority.

I wonder if the proliferation of flavored vodkas over the last few years led to this. Drinking orange, berry, or vanilla-infused brands probably got many people used to the idea of drinking vodka without the “vodka taste”.

What do I know, though? I railed against non-alcoholic beer, and that didn’t go away (although it seems to be a distinctly niche product these days; the beer companies certainly aren’t pushing it like they used to). If the masses want to detoxify their liquor, let ‘em. It’ll leave more of the real stuff for me.


Memo to Ashlee Simpson’s dad, or whoever handles her.

If your girl is going to declare, in a Marie Claire cover story for July, that “everyone is made differently, and that’s what makes us beautiful and unique”, then she probably shouldn’t follow that up with getting a nose job.

A peculiar case of cross spin-signals. But it has triggered a unique opportunity for editorial reorientation at Marie Claire.

Of course, it’s easy to be brave in the face of the glitterati when your circulation is moribund, and any change is welcomed. But anything to shake things up in celebri-world.