After spending the last few months in Europe, I’ve learned that there are things no one does like the Americans: air conditioning, very wide roads and treaty cheese some products. So when I saw news of the Velveeta Martini (aka the Veltini) available at BLT Restaurant Group restaurants across the country, I thought I’d give it a shot. Ohat better get back to usa than with a hyper-marketed, vsfocused on apitalism, treaty-cheese infused bastardise once elegant classic? The Veltini is a monstrosity that leaves you speechless. It’s the perfect marketing scheme.
I went to BLT Steak in Midtown, Manhattan, a few blocks from the tower owned by a former president which, like the martini, represents the worst hideous this country has to offer. The long, elegant bar was dimly lit and a friendly bartender handed me a menu filled with creative versions of classic cocktails. Instead, I swallowed my pride (and my desire to order a last word) and asked the Veltini with my tail between my legs. (Side note: wouldn’t that be “Velvetini” be a much better name than “Veltini”?)
What does a Velveteta Martini taste like?
My first sips were surprisingly mundane. The intense flavors of olive brine and cold vodka overpowered everything else. But as the cocktail warmed up and my taste buds dropped their defenses, I was suddenly assaulted by the distinct yet transmogrified flavors of the melted cheese product.
During her vodka bath, all those cheesy, nostalgic flavors that Velveeta may have — macaroni and cheese from your cafeteria or the dip mixed into a can of Rotel your favorite neighbor was making — are stripped away. What’s left is an oddly creamy vodka that tastes like the chemicals used to make the processed cheese product. Just minutes after the initial shake and pour, sections of fat separated from the vodka, leaving the drink with clumps composed mostly of cheese product fat residue, and other sections that were just sodium-citrate infused martini. I struggled to finish, but I did, of course. Jit sacrifices what we do for the art.
The toppings, however, told a different story. While cold pasta shells stuck on the toothpick were harmless, the stuffed olives from Velveeta were absolutely beautiful: creamy, oozing cheese contrasting with the brackish green olives.
Our bartender (who seemed equally horrified by the outburst orange monstrosity he was forced to serve) explained that BLT’s main bartender had created a much more tolerable drink: a Velveeta-infused sour tequila with a cheese Tajin rim. The martini i was drink was simply what the Velveteta company asked them. At Velveeta failure to use the expert’s recipe and instead stick to his own concoction tells me that this gadget does not concern the quality of the offer.
Kraft The Heinz Marketing Team must live by the adage that all publicity is good publicity. And damn if I don’t play straight with the brand hands writing about it. Much like the aforementioned (also orange) president’s campaign, this campaign is playing on our emotions-shock, horror, disgust-become a topic of conversation. He turned into a circus monster and pushed me to buy a ticket for the show. And unfortunately he worked: I thought more about Velveeta last week than in years past, and I craved queso. Fake cheese and manipulative marketing: there is nothing more American than that.