While the world was losing its collective mind earlier this summer, Japan was blessed with an alcoholic Smirnoff coffee soda known as Smirnoff Mountain Pick Coffee. The beverage is a carbonated alcoholic coffee that’s, presumably, for people who love the perk of a vodka-and-Red Bull cocktail but hate the taste. Or perhaps for the discrete business professional who needs to take the edge off before filing the day’s TPS reports. It’s not our role to judge—just to report.
When you travel halfway across the world, you wake up at strange times with strange afflictions. You wake up at 2:00 a.m. with a headache, suddenly hungry for gummy bears, or you wake up at 4:00 a.m. with a dry throat and an acute craving for daylight. Sometimes you wake up with no idea what you want, other than the reassurance of a familiar morning routine. Craving a warm breakfast after one of my first few sleepless nights in Tokyo, I left my Airbnb in the dark for the Park Hyatt, one of the city’s most famous hotels.
Five years ago, I took a business trip from New York over to Amsterdam down to Madrid, back up to London, down again to Paris, over to Karachi, and back home via Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. I arrived in Tokyo as puffy as mid-career Alec Baldwin, irritable and ready to throw my cell phone at someone. I launched into a day of meetings with Japanese publishers: miso soup for breakfast, OK! Chicken sushi for lunch, right on. Snacks and whiskey—yes, please.