The first wine we tried was Cisco Black Cherry, which Brian was able to locate at Roadrunner Liquors in Clearwater, Florida. Apparently, Michelle was not impressed with the drug dealing look of the clientele that hung around the place like pilot fish. However, they managed to escape unscathed, and came home with a bottle of Cisco to evaluate.
Cisco Black Cherry: D -
From the moment Brian cracked this one, we knew things were going to get bad. The smell off this swill alone was enough to bring out cries of "oh god - what the hell is in this crap?" The colour was a putrid bluish-brown, and probably would have warned off anyone who poured a glass by mistake. However, despite the obvious warnings, we raised our cups and drank. I can desribe the flavour in just one word:
I wish I could say this stuff was better than it was. It is completely horrible (as you can probably tell by my reaction to it). First of all, I don't know how they arrived at "black cherry". It tastes like a mix of berry-flavoured kool aid, grain spirits and a bottle of Robitussin for good measure. Then you have the chemical aftertaste, which is probably from the cancer-causing dyes used to give it such an appealing colour. The one arena where Cisco excelled in was getting you drunk. One mug of this stuff and I was buzzed. We went outside for a much needed smoke and continued with the bottle of MD 20/20.
Mad Dog 20/20 Red Grape Wine: B -
MD 20/20 (or as it is affectionately known on the street, Mad Dog 20/20) was actually the biggest surprise of the lot. Commonly found in gas stations, grocery and liquor stores all over the U.S., it is probably one of the best know bumwines. Recently, the 20/20 wine company scaled back the alcohol content to 13% from the tastebud numbing 18% it was infamous for. However, it was not a bad wine at all. Brian, who freely admits to detesting red wine, commented that this was the least offensive of the products we sampled. There was no discernable odour from this hooch, and the colour was consistent with any other red wine I have drank. It tasted like a cheap red wine, slightly dry and with no aftertaste. I imagine that this would be the one that has the greatest appeal outside the ghetto (and probably responsible for more than one teenage pregnancy). Overall, not a bad buzz for a couple bucks.
After another beer break, Brian produced the pride of his collection. The American Classic: Thunderbird!
Thunderbird: The American Classic: D +
This was not my first run in with this train wreck. In my youth once at one of Brian's parties, Mad Dog Johnny and I ran out of beer. Brian jokingly pulled out a bottle of Thunderbird (in what is apparently a rare bottle which is now considered a collector's item) and said, "you can drink this..." Like idiots, Johnny and I chugged the bottle down and killed it. Michelle had watched us half-amused and remarked "I can't believe they are drinking that!" Like I told her last week, I'll never learn.
I was buzzing pretty good by the time I got to Thunderbird, so I can't comment on the smell. What I do remember is the taste. Thunderbird hits your tongue like a 9 volt battery and caused involuntary tremors down my spine, like I had just taken a mouthful of homemade corn whiskey. It then proceeds to burn your throat all the way down to your stomach, leaving you with a surprisingly pleasant apple-like aftertaste. You can easily see how fond I am of the taste from the picture.
After another smoke break, we had another beer and dove headfirst into the grande finale: Cisco Strawberry (did I mention we are both gluttons for punishment?).
Cisco Strawberry: D -
The picture says it all. I had seriously thought Brian was going to vomit right there, but like a soldier he finished this vile brew. I picked up this gem at Malabar Liquors (formerly Malabar Discount Liquors) in Palm Bay, Florida. The name may have changed but the clientele have not. Now I know why the clerk laughed at me when I asked him for it. It smells nasty and tastes worse. While Cisco Black Cherry tasted like industrial cleaner, Strawberry Cisco tasted like someone was covering up the fact this was industrial cleaner with the taste of putrid strawberries long past their prime. I am honestly starting to think that Cisco just may be the result of some quasi-government conspiracy to get rid of the homeless. I can only hazard to guess about the long-term effects of drinking this swill. Take warning and avoid this stuff like the plague, unless you really are a homeless bum.
This evaluation would not be complete without posting what the hangover is like. Due to the fact we tried so many of these vile concoctions, I couldn't pin the hangover on one particular brand. However, I woke up feeling OK, drank a couple bottles of water and ate some meat pies. Within two hours, I felt like I wanted to crawl back into bed and forgot I woke up in the first place. Palitoy had a similar experience, and said that he will feel like "cold shit" until he goes to bed tonight. I guess when you dance with the Devil, you pay the price. Next time, I think I'll stick to beer.
Read Brian's assessment of these not-so-fine products by clicking the picture below:
Originally posted in morbidpig.com on 14 March 2007.