A little while back, the ever entertaining and always insightful masochists at the Pynchon in Public podcast published the final episode of their Bleeding Edge season. More recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with Bo to record an episode for the interregnum before their V season begins. Last time we got together, it was drinking vodka with a variety of horrible mixers. This time, we got into some Hpnotiq. It was marginally less awful. The episode is out now wherever you find podcasts!
Hpnotiq is very Bleeding Edge. If Wikipedia is to be believed, it was created in 2001 by a college dropout living with his parents on Long Island. The blend of vodka, cognac, and ‘exotic fruit juices’ first hit the big-time when P Diddy started selling the stuff in his restaurants and it became ubiquitous in rap lyrics and videos. The turquoise concoction therefore appears in BE as a drink very much in its infancy, mere months out of Mom’s kitchen and into the club–it’s ‘bleeding edge technology’ itself. BE is set at what we might consider a transition between eras; hpnotiq was poised to become the essential drink of the new age. It’s real glory days apparently ran something like 2003 to 2006.
The BE character hip enough to have got a hold of Hpnotiq ahead of famed rapper ‘Fabolous’ is March’s daughter Tallis. Gabriel Ice has just kicked her out:
Keeping Tallis company this evening are enough bottles to stock an average Chinese restaurant bar, from one of which she is drinking directly something turqouise called Hypnotiq. Neglecting to offer any to Maxine.Bleeding Edge, p. 450.
To ignore Tallis’s woe and instead indulge a moment of pedantry, can I point out that Bleeding Edge gets the spelling wrong — it’s Hpnotiq, no y. That’s such an unnatural spelling though that we can’t really blame Pynchon or the typesetter. I have had to go back and delete the y every time I’ve typed the word in this post.
As well as unnaturally spelled, Hpnotiq is (as our narrator hints at) pretty highly unnatural looking. Turquoise is pretty bang on, and really a colour that seems more designed to attract tweens than individuals of legal drinking age. Plus it’s weirdly luminescent… Are they marketing radioactive liquids to children? The flavour follows through on drunk tween theme. It’s sickly sweet with a kids’ juice drink fruitiness. Tropical mango and passionfruit, citrusy, a little tart, a bit plasticky. Drinkable very cold, but probably better as a fruity edge in some kind of cocktail.
Thanks for sharing some with me across the oceans, Bo. Get (re)reading V everybody, that next season is coming!