CrankyOldGuy Takes On Skinnygirl

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A woman named Bethenny Frankel graces the cover of the current issue of the booze biz trade journal The Tasting Panel, which I happen to read regularly and contribute to on occasion. A Google search revealed that Frankel is a natural foods chef and serial reality-show-somebody who's appeared in roughly 17 different series, most notably The Apprentice: Martha Stewart and The Real Housewives of New York City.

To her credit and my considerable envy, she's deftly managed to parlay all that television exposure into a lucrative multi-faceted brand called Skinnygirl, proffering books, skincare, exercise DVDs, and ready-to-serve, low-calorie cocktails. It's that last venture that piqued my likely-to-be-temporary interest in Bethenny Frankel. Well, that, and the picture of her on the cover of The Tasting Panel.

You see, in this particular magazine cover shot Frankel looks to me a little bit like the Jack Skellington character from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I don't say that to be mean; I'm just being honest. Mean would be to suggest Frankel is exploiting people's body image hang-ups for financial gain.

Frankly, I don't care what her motivation is for spreading the gospel of gaunt. Hell, plenty of guys I know are into that "Kate Moss on a three-month binge" look anyway. And even though I generally abhor ready-to-serve cocktails, the idea behind Frankel's Skinnygirl margarita is a sound one — use agave nectar instead of high caloric sweeteners to cut out some of the calories. Plus, any idea that gets women to drink more is okay by me.

What chaps my hairy cheeks is seeing the likes of Bethenny Frankel, a real-life Carrie Bradshaw, on the cover of a widely read adult beverage journal being hailed as the vanguard of "the New Spirits Thin-dustry."

Skinnygirl? Thin-dustry? Legitimizing the low-cal category? So it wasn't enough for the hippies and metrosexuals to nudge their way into the bar with free-range organic vodkas and shade-grown no-calorie "ultra" beers... now the Lifetime network is hijacking the biz. Before you know it, there'll be a PETA campaign to do away with Greyhounds and Moscow Mules. And somewhere up in Boozehound Heaven, Charles Bukowski weeps.

Actually, this whole invasion of the Cosmo-nauts began a few years ago with the release of the Sex and the City sequel – Sex and the City 2: Electric Bugaloo, or something like that. Every day for months on end I received no fewer than 25 emails from spirits brand reps – mostly vodka, mind you – imploring me to extol the virtues of cockamamie Sex and the City-themed libations, be it a Miranda-rita, Jimmy Choo-tini or Funky Spunk, up with a twist.

In the name of sweet Jerry Thomas, where's the dignity in a cocktail called a Samantha Likes to Screwdriver? (By the way, I'd lop off all the fat in my love handles with a rusty butter knife if Bethenny Frankel could tell me who Jerry Thomas is without having to look it up).

And don't even get me started on all the royal wedding-themed libations coming down the pike. Just don't go there.

As for Bethenny Frankel, she's no doubt a warm and wonderful human being—albeit one I'd like to give a sandwich and maybe a few pints of Guinness. And like I said, there's no denying this Skinnygirl business is a smashing success in the making (the folks at Beam Global Wine & Spirits certainly think so—they just paid a small fortune to acquire the brand.) It's even given me an idea for my own ready-to-serve cocktail for men: the FatDrunk Fizz.

Made with straight whiskey, a drop of tiger blood, and a little C02 to give it some sizzle, the FatDrunk Fizz is designed to have a dual thinning effect: After two or three bottles, shlubs like me will think every woman in the bar looks like Mila Kunis and wants to hop our bones; and after polishing off the fourth we'll be emptying the contents of our own bloated bellies into the toilet.

Beam Brands, I hope you're paying attention!

Dan's book Living Loaded: Tales of Sex, Salvation and the Pursuit of the Never-Ending Happy Hour is available wherever books are sold. Follow Dan on Twitter and Facebook, and hear him on The Imbiber Show podcast.

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