I’ve had various food and drink obsessions over the years from Haribo and Carrot Salad to Mint Magnums and Red Bull Light, but right now I’m hooked on Diet Coke. And not just the drinking of it. The whole process of ordering it, selecting what it comes in, opening it and holding it and then drinking it has taken on the same ritualistic nature people who smoke have to determine their style of smoking.
Even though I haven’t drank alcohol for a long time and have searched the full gamut of soft drink options, I’ve never been too bothered about Coke before, never mind Diet Coke. It’s not just the drink that has drawn me in. It’s the combination of all of the above factors. I will only drink it from a can or a traditional glass Coke bottle – not the mini-size or massive plastic bottles. Whichever it comes in has to be very cold, dripping with fridge sweat and, certainly with the can, has to be unopened. The only other soft drink I’ve ever been bothered about having that cold sheen was Pocari Sweat, a dry Japanese drink that tasted like a stone cold isotonic.
There is something about the taste of Diet Coke from a bottle or a can that makes it taste better, the tightness of the aperture, the feel of the vessel on the lips. I’m not sure what any of this means psychologically but it just doesn’t taste the same coming in a wide mouthed glass – even those original classic Coke glasses. It’s as if a tiny edge has been taken off it. Also there’s the sense that it might have come from a pump or from someone else’s litre bottle. You can’t just liven the stuff with ice.
What I’ve also noticed is I don’t like it if the can arrives at the café table open. Pulling back what used be known as the ring pull and now looks like a flattened tab end has its own value.
I haven’t had a look at what’s in it, Doctors aren’t encouraging people to go out and drink fizzy drinks so it’s probably not too good for you, but man cannot live on water and celery alone for kicks. And as of today I’m yet to buy 64 bottles at a time like I used to do wine.