Nathan Hansen's column: Dissolve yourself a drink
If you’ve been reading the Looking Back section of this newspaper recently, you know there was a lot of debate 100 years ago about whether liquor should be outlawed in Farmington. You also might know that if you’re just generally aware of history, I suppose. It was kind of a big deal.
Locally, the ruling was that booze should go. Obviously, that didn’t last.
I wonder if prohibition might have stuck a little better, though, if people had known then what would become of alcohol. If some far-sighted prohibition advocate could have peered into the future and seen what was to come.
In a civic building he would have stood tall, cleared his throat throat and addressed the gathered crowd. “My friends,” he might have argued, voice shaky with concern. “If we allow the demon alcohol to be legal it will put us on a dangerous path. A path with serious consequences. A path, my friends, that will one day lead to wine coolers. To Zima. And that stuff is not cool.”Or, something like that.If that had happened, we might all still be making gin in our bathtubs. And he didn’t even get to powdered alcohol.Powdered alcohol, in case you’ve missed the news lately, is just a few regulatory steps from being something you can find on the shelves right next to the Bud Light and the grain alcohol. Basically, it’s Kool-Aid for adults. Mix a packet with some water and you’ve got instant booze. Mix enough of them and you might even start to see giant pitchers crashing through the walls. It’s probably time to stop then.Its proper name is Palcohol, which is both a super lazy way of combining two words to make a name and a nice way of reminding everyone that booze can be your buddy. Maybe your only buddy. Here, have another drink.Assuming it makes it to stores, Palcohol will be available in six versions right off the bat. V and R are made from premium vodka and rum, respectively. Because no discerning tippler would dare use the cheap stuff while mixing drinks in the paper packet you just tore open with your teeth. There will also be pre-mixed approximations of cosmopolitans, mojitos, margaritas and lemon drops. They’re all great for when you want to have fun with your friends, but you don’t like your friends enough to make any actual effort.Hey, I get it. Blenders are loud.There are some practical uses for powdered alcohol, obviously. It’s easier to take on camping trips, the Palcohol website suggests. Or kayaking. Or hiking.It’s “a great convenience for the person on the go,” the website argues, possibly overestimating the go-get-em attitude of their most likely customers.Maybe I’m wrong, though. According to the company’s origin story, Palcohol’s founder was inspired to create powdered alcohol because he really wanted a drink when he was done with his sporting activities. And he thought coolers were for suckers, I guess. Apparently you should never underestimate a rich guy who wants a drink.Palcohol is also probably easier for kids to sneak into school. The website doesn’t mention that, though. They’re very much against sneaking booze into places it shouldn’t be, even though they want you to know Palcohol would make it super easy to mix your own cocktail at a football game. Or a movie theater. Or outer space.Take that, Tang.Some people have expressed concern that people might snort the powdered alcohol, getting themselves instantly and ruinously hammered. I’m glad there are other people out there to worry about these things, because I’ll be honest: huffing grains of booze dust is not something that would ever have crossed my mind.The folks at Palcohol are on top of things, though. They say there’s enough filler in their crystalline cocktails that a person would have to snort half a cup of powder to get the equivalent of one highball up their hooter.It’s a lovely image, don’t you think?There were some news stories recently that claimed Palcohol had been approved by regulators. On Tuesday, those stories were retracted. Apparently the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved it by mistake. I assume there must just be giant red and green buttons in the TTB office, and someone hit the wrong one.Approval could still come, though.Take that, prohibitionists.