Whipahol Whipped Lightning

Due to popular demand and the fact that we love trying weird foods and candies, The A.V. Club regularly features Taste Tests. Feel free to suggest disgusting and/or delicious new edibles for future installments: E-mail us at tastetest@theonion.com.

In spite of its fluffy-cloud consistency and virginal white hue, whipped cream has a pretty naughty reputation. As far as childhood transgressions go, few are more delicious than filling your face up to the sinuses with ReddiWip when Mom isn't looking. As we get older, whipped cream becomes the star player in the food-based lovemaking techniques that only slutty characters in cheesy raunch-coms actually engage in. Then, when you become truly jaded as you start to realize that no amount of clandestine dessert-topping snarfing and unrealistic Hollywood-sanctioned pseudo-kink can fill the deep black hole inside of you, whipped cream is there to ease your pain—or at least, its nitrous-oxide propellant is.

But you know what makes everything naughtier, don't you? That's right, our good friend alcohol. Enter Whipped Lightning, a new line of flavored dessert/drink toppings that have been kissed by the booze fairy and packaged in a handy canister, the ideal device to deliver them unto the waiting mouths and stomachs of the confused young girls gone wild of America.

But while the most obvious use of this product may be as a body-shot accoutrement, the makers of Whipped Lightning market their "Whipahol" for a slightly less depraved use, namely as an inventive novelty shot-topper, helpfully including a bevy of complicated recipes for shooters, martinis, coffee drinks, and "drinkserts" on the product's website. But as tasty as something like the "Kool-Aid" sounds (vodka, melon liqueur, amaretto, and cranberry juice, topped with coconut Whipahol), chances are good that when you ask for it down at your neighborhood Senor Frog's, the lecherous bartender is going to suggest how much more fun (and easy) it would be to just fill your pretty little mouth with some Tropical Passion-flavored Whipped Lightning and call it a day. Whooo! Spring break!

Alas, Spring break is over, so we just couldn't in good conscience test Whipahol's body-shot potential here in the office. We instead opted to go the more scientific route, procuring four flavors—Spiced Vanilla, Amaretto, White Chocolate Raspberry, and Spiced Pumpkin Pie—to sample while standing in an awkward circle in the neutral environs of the A.V. Club kitchen. It isn't exactly spring break in Cabo, but the appeal of alcohol-infused dessert topping spans time and space, and we predictably drew a good-sized crowd of testers looking to blur the edges of their tough workweek with some midday tippling. And since it just wouldn't be respectful of Whipped Lightning's depraved spirit to simply nibble it off plastic spoons while sober and modestly attired, we upped the ante by whipping up some shots—specifically, Blow Jobs, a combination of Bailey's and amaretto, topped with Whipahol.

Taste: The most surprising thing about Whipahol is that it tastes like, well, alcohol, and fairly strong alcohol at that. Considering its alcohol content is fairly high for something that's basically just booze and air—36.5 proof, higher than liqueurs like Bailey's and some schnapps—and the sparse ingredients list mentions only "grain neutral spirits with natural and artificial flavors and colors," perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that Whipped Lightning has a bit of a kick, but it's still disconcerting for something as insubstantial as foam to kick at all.

On their own, the Amaretto and Spiced Pumpkin Pie iterations had the most character, tasting like slightly burn-ier versions of their stated flavor profiles. Vanilla, being a fairly meek flavor to begin with, predictably couldn't stand up to its co-star, grain alcohol, making Spiced Vanilla the most aggressively boozy—but still tasty—of the four. White Chocolate Raspberry, ostensibly the most delicious-sounding flavor, was the biggest disappointment: Its pronounced chemical overtones render it more akin to hair product than a sweet adult treat.

Since Whipped Lightning isn't considered a food product and therefore isn't subject to FDA labeling requirements, it's unclear how much actual cream it contains—but the fact that it isn't considered a food product and that it doesn't need to be refrigerated should indicate that there isn't much. Consequently, the portmanteau Whipahol should be interpreted as "whipped alcohol," not "alcoholic whipped cream"; this is basically alcoholic foam, not nearly rich or substantial enough to stand alongside the Reddi- and Cool whips of the world. While the structural integrity varied from flavor to flavor, none of the Whipahols were dense enough to create the luscious, fluffy mound of deliciousness that the term "whipped cream" evokes. So if you're looking for a way to spice up the ol' whipped-cream-bikini trick, Whipped Lightning may not be the best candidate.

You know what Whipped Lightning is really good for, though? Topping off sticky-sweet shots. Who knew using a product for its intended purpose could be so rewarding? While Whipped Lightning on its own is appealing in that "huh, interesting" way, when combined with un-foamed liquor, it's downright tasty. It also holds its shape much better within the confines of a shot glass. The Amaretto and Spiced Vanilla flavors were rendered smooth and creamy when paired with the Bailey's and amaretto, and the fact that they up the alcohol content of this admittedly tame shot a bit is just icing on the cake—or Whipahol on the Blow Job, if you prefer.

Office reactions:

  • "I imagine this is what alcoholics think clouds taste like."
  • "A small amount of whipped cream tastes like it contains a lot of alcohol."
  • "I plan on replacing all my current whipped-cream consumption with this."
  • "I can easily see this being abused and featured on the next A&E Intervention."
  • "Very similar consistency and taste to what I imagine hair mousse tastes like."
  • "This is exactly what anyone hearing 'alcoholic whipped cream' would expect. That said, it's better than I imagined. Not too sweet, and seriously boozy. A shot topped with this stuff would basically be a double shot."
  • "Finally, a product where probably no one is going to say it tastes like kids' medicine. Unless dad's solution for sick kids was to knock 'em out with a couple slugs of brandy."
  • "This stuff really isn't essential, but the flavors are good and the concept is fun. It'd certainly make body shots more interesting. And, um, special adult time. Particularly drunken special adult time."
  • "Foamy but not shaving-cream foamy. More like soap-dispenser foamy."
  • "Hope these will hold until spring break 2011!"
  • "Wasn't sold on the color. Shades of brown, basically."
  • "I can see Mom and Dad coming home to some very belligerent kids with this in the fridge."
  • "I really wish I had something mean to say about this to defend my manhood, but it was darn tasty and is made with grain alcohol, so that's pretty tough. "
  • "All of these have a pretty powerful antiseptic taste, like they want you to be goddamn sure you know you're 'drinking': foam-booze."
  • "On their own, they're a little too strong, but with booze, they work pretty well."
  • "I think it'd help if these things had any actual cream in them. They're just booze foam—a little creaminess would've balanced out the antiseptic flavor."
  • "Pumpkin Spice had the most character, but Spiced Vanilla was the best-tasting. Thumbs down on raspberry."
  • "Pumpkin Pie brings back memories of hour three of Thanksgiving dinner, but with less yelling."
  • "I was surprised how well Pumpkin Spice worked, though I don't know what I'd really put it on. You can't really put it on pie, because all of these liquefy so quickly."
  • "Like so many vanilla-flavored foodstuffs, Spiced Vanilla faded into the background of my memory. It must not have been too bad or too good."
  • "I was looking forward to White Chocolate Raspberry the most, but the nasal-clearing booze flavor overpowers everything."
  • "The raspberry one tastes like rubber cement smells."
  • "I like the raspberry flavor. Anybody complaining that their booze tastes too much like alcohol and not enough like raspberries is kind of missing the point. This is just sweet enough to be tasty. I have no problem with the fact that it also tastes like what it is."
  • "The Amaretto is a win, at least when a Blow Job is involved. By the way, the double entendres of this Taste Test will NEVER get old."
  • "I'm not gonna lie, the Blow Job shot was pretty great. If I didn't have more shit to edit, I would've had a couple more."
  • "The room smelled like aerosol hair product afterwards."
  • Where to get it: According to the website, Whipped Lightning is currently available for purchase in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, and by special order in Wyoming. If, like us, you don't live in one of those states, some basic Googling should yield some Internet vendors willing to ship it your way.