• Drunk as Lords

A Critical Shortage of Bubbles


The wonderful thing about the Berlin Airlift was that we flexed our super-power muscles in a way that the only other super-power on the block, couldn’t hope to match. American know-how got the beleaguered East Berliners everything that they needed in the most expensive way possible. Because Americans are awesome.


Then I found myself watching footage of airlifts of baby formula from Europe into the United States, and all that seemed like ancient history. Yes, I get it, baby formula was already limited by high tariffs, and then supply chain interruptions, and a huge product recall from Abbott, which has 40% of the market, caught the market completely unaware – but still. It makes you want to pour a drink.


Littlebit – who never had formula to begin with - just graduated from college, so I’ll admit that I don’t really have skin in the game. More concerning for me are the empty shelves where soda water used to be. I call it the Dad-Formula shortage. And it is starting to bite, even if it isn’t making the news. In Memphis at least, you can’t find the stuff anywhere. What kind of super-power are we that a reasonably law0abiding fella can’t make a decent cocktail to discuss the baby formula shortage in a detached sort of way?


I can’t say that we weren’t warned. Way back in 2020, Rich Gottland, CEO of the Compressed Gas Association (I kid you not) warned of a looming shortage (close to a 70% shortfall) of CO2 that would hit the world in the summer of 2021. For the last year I’ve noticed that the shelves were empty of soda more than usual. But this summer completely out is the new normal. Even the fancy stuff – Fever Tree – soda is out. Although not their tonic, which makes me suspicious of a conspiracy. I’ll have to check out QAnon.


There are work arounds – whisky works well with a splash of branch water, gin, vodka and rum less so. They need fizz. You could take a deep dive into the craft cocktails with the simple syrup, and army of specialized ingredients, but those are a production. Sometime you don’t want the cocktail to take center stage – like if you are using as a crutch. Quite frankly, a splash of soda dilutes the alcohol – which is probably a good thing whether you like it or not. So, what do you do?


For the record, Perrier and San Pellegrino work as a fair substitute (but they are getting hard to find too). La Croix is everywhere but, sadly, does not work so well. The best option is the old school seltzer siphon: its cheap, fun to use and a hilarious way to keep guest and the dog in line.