Always Coca Cola?

The Coke Side of Life by Liam Higgins on Flickr.

Robin Williams once said that coke was God's way of telling you that you've got too much money.

Sorry, wrong Coke.

I can't claim it was a New Year's resolution, given I started in February, but the cold, dark and fizzy, the world's #1 soft drink - even in Scotland - is no longer part of my life. I've given up Coca Cola.

The first few weeks were tough. Part of the problem was working in a bar, where the stuff is literally on tap. Sure, you could drink water, just like those parties where you could chat to that girl from your workgroup while those lingerie models are chilling at the next table. But here's the thing: that girl from your workgroup is way cooler than you think she is and probably much healthier for you in the longterm. You'll miss the crazy parties and the exciting stories but you'll skip the crashes and hangovers and tortured, overdeveloped metaphors.

Coke might not be everyone's favourite drink, but it's an icon of Western civilisation. Cutting it out of my life means no more Cuba Libres (which is a shame), no more Long Island Iced Teas (uh, not so much), no more rum-and-Coke-floats (jury's still out) - and for what? I can't say I feel noticeably better physically. It's more about making a choice, and making it stick.

Coke's one of those products that provokes mixed feelings in a bartender. On one hand, it's pretty tasty. On the other, it represents the lowest common denominator; mix a spirit with Coke and you get a Coke-flavoured spirit that you can sell to almost anyone who likes Coke-flavoured things. I always get a pang of regret after discussing the merits of different vodka brands with a customer, only for them to ask for it with Coke, but then some spirits - rums, particularly - sing with it. As a customer, I don't miss Coke that much but as bartender, it's a useful product.

So, after a long relationship - does anyone remember their first Coca Cola? I don't - we've finally broken up. It's one of the classic "it's not you, it's me" scenarios but at least I'm not staring vending machines, wondering if I've made a huge mistake.

Actually, I still do, but these days I can do it without stopping.

Posted on March 11, 2010 and filed under Thoughts.