Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sanbitter, a non-alcoholic Italian apertif

Sanbitter, a non-alcoholic Italian apertif
by San Pelligrino, owned by Hershey's

I should've let go when I had the chance.

I bet this'll taste great! I hope it's cherry flavored.

It gave me a menses moustache.

Nothing better than sharing something this awful.

Victory! Some small good came of this hideous stuff.

Eating toast will help kill the aftertaste,
sadly I'm on Adkins.

I think "apertif" means "shit on your tongue" in Italian. This stuff is foul without even trying. The "Black Lemonade" crap was hideous, but it puts a lot of effort into tasting like crap - Sanbitter tastes awful standing on its head. The only good thing about this crap is that it comes in a small bottle.

This stuff left me so upset, I had to call the 800 number on the bottle. Instead of poison control, I was put in touch with a very polite San Pellegrino representative who gave me a website link which explained the stuff. Unable to make sense of the website, I had to ask for a summary, I was told: It's a flavored water. That's terrible, because I can almost imagine someone fucking up soda this badly, but to make water this foul is a stretch. The secret might be that Sanbitter contains chinotto, a small bitter citrus fruit from an orange tree from roundabouts Italy. The chinotto are harvested from the armpits of housebound invalids by abused orphans, then passed through the digestive tracks of apostate nuns several times before being mixed with dog spittle and squeezed through a spam filter.

One thing the woman on the phone confirmed: It's for drinking. Straight. I'd thought, "Maybe it's like straight lemon juice, and meant to be mixed with other stuff". No. Your supposed to drink it. It might go down easier cut 50/50 with Draino, though.

After I drank this crap, an eagle cried a single tear and said "Never Again".

The stuff is so unnatural, it defies the laws of physics.

Realizing it's own evil nature, it finally relents and commits suicide.

Maybe I can break off the bottle neck
and use it to stab out my taste buds.


  1. Can't take bitter, eh? Don't blame it on the soda, blame it on an unsophisticated palate.

    Basically, Sanbitter mimics that taste of a Campari and soda cocktail while being a bit sweeter and, of course, non-alcoholic. That said, it's not kid's stuff. It's a soda for grown ups that can handle a bit of astringency. That said, the stuff is great on the rocks with a wedge of lemon, for sure.

  2. Okay. I'm drining one right now. And it's amazing. I don't want to say that you just have an "unsophisticated palate", though that may be true. You might just not like bitter in this way. But I find Sanbitter delicious straight out of the cute little bottle. Also, my freinds pansy litter brother used to love these things straight, when he was 7.

  3. Anon #1: So faux alcohol is sophisticated? Should I go buy some "near beer" and feel worldly?

    Anon #2: I'm all about bitter. I'm made of bitter. All I do is walk around all day, filling bitter. Why on earth would I want MORE bitter?

    Sadly, there is always the chance that I had an off day or an off bottle. If enough people decide to play a joke on me and claim its the delicious drink of high society, I suppose I'll have to try it again.

  4. So, it didn't taste like an American soda pop, full of chemical reproduction of fruits, etc. If you like American soda don't be venturesome and try something that requires a moment to celebrate the unusual. You probably like lite beer, too. It's bitter, get it; the name actually describes the product, so un-American.

  5. Since my sense of national pride and indeed my entire self-esteem is based on my choice of beverage I vow never to try Sanbitter. If I found it unpalatable I would be so overcome with shame at my limp-wristed yet brutish ugly Americanism that I could never again face myself in the mirror.

    Who knows? I might even resort to posting anonymous comments on blogs.

  6. I think I'll just suggest that the latest Anonymous go and look at the rest of the blog.

  7. I don't know who would drink that straight. It needs a good splash of lime juice to break the sugar and bitter, crushed ice, and it will become a divine drink. Pfffff.

  8. Sophisticates, JK, sophisticated types apparently drink it, bath in it, baptize their babies in it, straight and uncut.

  9. Thanks for the review! I'm a new fan of Sanbitter myself - love the bitter aftertaste. I think some of the enjoyment is all about expectation.

    Anyway, just wanted to point out that this beverage is not a soda, given that it is not carbonated.

  10. Bah - never mind! I'm an idiot. Just drinking some more (finally found a place to buy it) and it is lightly carbonated. Sorry about the confusion.

  11. I'd thought so! Ha! I guess I shouldn't give in so easily when discussing things I drank four years ago.

  12. Clearly your memory of beverages has been honed over years of experience.

  13. It's more of a highly developed fear reflex, once bitten I remember.

  14. People's palates vary a lot. I love the stuff personally, I know others who hate it- I like bitter and sour things and strong beers, some people drink bud light
    Don't go into it expecting american style soda, it's sort of grapefruit like in it's sour bitterness or like a strong bittered beer (although it is sweet and does not taste beer-like) Not for everyone, but for those with a taste for it. Italian soda in general is much less sweet and more tart/sour/bitter than american, so they're used to it and prefer it that way.

    1. I salute your complete lack of bitterness about my article about sanbitter.

  15. I'm surprised none of the commenters have yet brought up the fact that many people -- 25-33% of most demographic groups -- have an impaired ability to taste bitter.


    Liking foods (or beverages) that other people find intolerably bitter isn't a sign of a more-refined palate; it's a sign that you lost the genetic lottery and are likely to poison yourself because lots of toxins don't taste as bad to you as they should.

    So, sure, be smug about your 'macho' ability to 'enjoy' toxic alkaloids... if your life's goal is to die young and leave an attractive corpse (aside from the foamed mouth and bulged-out eyes and soiled underpants).