LORELAI: And I, in turn, chimed in with my story about getting sick on Andre Cold Duck in the back of Peter Cutler’s car in ninth grade.
Andre Cold Duck is a sparkling red wine, which is sweet with a fruity flavour. Made in the Sacramento area, it is marketed as “California champagne” and is very cheap. It was a go-to choice for high schoolers and college students in the 1980s due to its price and syrupy flavour, and at that time was supposedly the best-selling sparkling wine in the US. Its sickly sweet taste meant that it was common to throw up from drinking it, like Lorelai did, and the sugary overtones also meant a killer headache the next day if you overindulged. Beware of its properties if you want to try it out!
LORELAI: Yes, he sniffed, swirled, swished, and did every other pretentious and borderline-disgusting thing that you can do with a glass of wine in a public place, and he did it all while describing to me the vintage discrepancies and the wood they use for the barrels in Palermo and the grape crop projections for the following year.
Palermo is the capital of Sicily, an island region of Italy. Almost three thousand years old, it is rich in history and culture, and a popular tourist destination for its climate, music, nightlife, and cuisine. There are several vineyards and winemakers in the area.
A piña colada is a cocktail made with rum, pineapple juice, and coconut milk or cream, served either blended or shaken with ice. It may be garnished with a pineapple wedge, a maraschino cherry, or both. The cocktail originated in Puerto Rico, is its national drink, and its name means “strained pineapple” in Spanish. One story is that the cocktail was invented by Puerto Rican pirate, Roberto Confresi in the 19th century; the less exciting but more probable version is that it was invented in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in Puerto Rico by bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero.
Lorelai refers to “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”, written and recorded by British-American singer Rupert Holmes, released as a single from his 1979 album Partners in Crime. The song is about a man who is bored with his current relationship, and answers a lonely hearts advertisement in the newspaper which begins, “If you like piña coladas …”. When he meets up with the lady, it turns out to be his partner, who was equally bored in their relationship. They realise they had more in common than they realised, and their relationship is now reinvigorated. It was an international hit, and went to #1 in the US and Canada. Ironically, Rupert Holmes has never drunk a piña colada, and the original lyrics were, “If you like Humphrey Bogart”.
Lorelai gets the words slightly wrong. The lyrics are actually:
Once inside Dwight’s home, which Lorelai has done her best to turn into a place of imagined horrors, the Gilmore girls naturally love it at once. It has the same kitschy taste that they like, and I think they appreciate that Dwight has decorated the house completely for his own comfort and amusement, a design aesthetic that is in harmony with Lorelai and Rory’s own.
Dwight’s home bar is a tiki bar – that is, a bar inspired by tiki culture décor. Tiki culture is an American movement inspired by a romanticised view of tropical island cultures, mostly Polynesian, catering to American views of the South Pacific. The name comes from Tiki, the Māori name for the first human, often represented in the form of a pendant and frequently appropriated by Europeans as a commercialised good luck charm.
Although tiki bars are generally of broadly South Pacific influence, they tend to serve cocktails from the Caribbean. Because of its colonial nostalgia, and the simplistic view of the Pacific taken by the aesthetic, Tiki culture has been perceived as controversial, culturally insensitive, or racist.
Tiki culture became fashionable during the 1930s as a Hollywood-style image of a leisurely, exotic island lifestyle. It had an explosion of popularity after World War II, as American servicemen returned from tours of duty in the South Pacific, often with souvenirs. It began to decline in the late 1970s but there was a revival in the late 1990s and early twenty-first century, so Dwight is surprisingly on trend in owning a tiki bar.
[Lorelai walks up to the bar as a man is ordering a drink]
PEYTON: Can I get a Merlot, please?
Merlot, a deep purple-red wine made from the dark blue Merlot grape variety. The name is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French word for “blackbird”. Merlot is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine, and it is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions.
Merlot is also one of the most popular red wine varieties around the world, and is produced internationally – in the US, California produces the most Merlot, after the “Merlot craze” of the 1990s, sparked by a 60 Minutes report on the low incidence of heart disease in France, which drinks a lot of red wine.
RORY: Oh, a girl told me once that if your scalp is hurting from bleach, drink a 7 Up. It’s something to do with the bubbles.
LANE: The Kim household does not have soft drinks.
RORY: Well, what do you got?
LANE: Something called Salad Water imported from Korea. Believe me, it’s nothing like 7 Up.
7 Up, a lemon-lime flavoured soft drink owned by Dr Pepper, and distributed by Pepsi. It was created by Charles Leiper Grigg in St Louis in 1929, two weeks before the Wall Street stock market crash of that year. Originally called Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda, it contained lithium citrate, a mood stabiliser used to treat manic states and bipolar disorder. It became 7 Up in 1936, and nobody really knows why that name was chosen – some say that it refers to the seven original ingredients, some that it’s a coded reference to lithium, which has an atomic mass around 7.
7 Up won’t do anything to stop your scalp hurting after bleach (and if it’s the bubbles, wouldn’t any soft drink do the same thing?), but I’ve seen it recommended for stomach ache and the common cold, so there seems to be a lot of belief in it as a folk remedy. I suspect Rory is saying anything to distract Lane, and possibly hoping for a placebo effect.
Salad Water, or Water Salad [pictured], is water flavoured with green salad, produced by Coca-Cola in Japan. I’m not sure why the Kims have imported it from Korea when it’s a Japanese product – perhaps the Korean import-export company imports it from Japan, then exports it to the US.
DARREN: Do you know which French city famous for its water was the capital of collaborationist France?
LORELAI: Oh, me? Um, Evian, Perrier, uh, Le Crystal Geyser?
Vichy is a city in central France on the river Allier, a spa town and resort famous for its warm mineral springs, the direct result of historical volcanic activity – although the volcanoes have been dormant for more than a century. During World War II, it was the seat of government for Vichy France from 1940 to 1942. Officially independent, Vichy France adopted a policy of collaboration with Nazi Germany.
Lorelai quickly says the first brands of mineral water she can think of. Evian has been bottling mineral water from Évian-les-Bains in the French Alps since 1829. Perrier bottles its carbonated mineral water from Vergèze in Southern France, beginning production in 1898. Crystal Geyser is actually an American company, founded in Calistoga, California in 1977.
Iced tea, tea that has been chilled and often sweetened with sugar or syrup, usually served with ice cubes. In the US it is traditionally served with a slice of lemon as a garnish on the side of the glass. Iced tea began to appear in the US in the 1860s, and became increasingly popular after being served at the 1904 World’s Fair. Most tea in the US (85%) is drunk as iced tea, rather than a hot drink, and it is particularly associated with the Southern states of the US.
While Luke is serving customers at the diner, Kirk and two young boys come in, ordering old fashioned soda shop drinks. It soon transpires they were sent by Taylor, making a point how necessary such a soda shop is, which Taylor wants to install in the space next to the diner, owned by Luke. Kirk already works for Taylor, and the two boys are presumably in his Boy Scout troop.
Black Cow: Traditional name for a root beer float, which is root beer with vanilla ice cream. In some areas, the ice cream has to be chocolate in order to be called a black cow, and others say brown cow instead. (Root beer is a North American soft drink made using the root bark of the sassafras tree, or the sarsaparilla vine, Smilas ornata). Frank J. Wisner, owner of Colorado’s Cripple Creek Brewing, is credited with creating the first root beer float in 1893. The North American fast food chain A&W Restaurants are well known for their root beer floats.
Chocolate Phosphate: Traditional soda fountain drink, which is chocolate syrup and acid phosphate added to club soda. Acid phosphate is a mixture added to drinks which gives it a slightly tart flavour, and aids carbonation – a partially neutralised solution of diluted phosphoric acid made with salts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It’s recently come back into fashion as a mixer for soft drinks and cocktails.
LUKE: Do they let kids drink coffee before school?
RORY: Why, do you think it might lead to harder stuff? Lattes, cappuccinos . . .
Latte [pictured]: Caffè latte, shortened to latte in English. Coffee style from Italy made with espresso and steamed milk; the Italian word literally means “coffee and milk”. Part of European cuisine since the 17th century, the word caffè e latte was first used in English by American writer William Dean Howells in 1867, after a visit to Italy. The “latte” as an American-style coffee drink is said to have been “invented” in Berkeley in the 1950s and popularised in Seattle in the 1980s.
Cappuccino: Previously mentioned as a favourite of Rory and Lorelai. Espresso-based coffee drink prepared with steamed milk foam; typically smaller than a latte with a thicker layer of foam. The name comes from the Capuchin friars of the Catholic church – their habits are the colour of cappuccinos. The drink appears to be Viennese in origin, dating to the 18th century, and spreading through Europe from the port city of Trieste. It doesn’t seem to have been taken up in Italy until the 1930s, but it was through Italian-American neighbourhoods that it was spread in the US. It only seems to have become popularised there in the 1990s.