Buy It for the Bottle

TY KU Citrus Liqueur

TY KU Citrus Liqueur

I Paid: $18.99 for a 750-milliliter bottle (typically $26.99; prices may vary by region)

Taste: 2 stars

Marketing: 5 stars

TY KU Citrus Liqueur practically jumps off of the shelf thanks to its pyramidal bottle, Asian character–embossed silver cap, and mouthwash-green liquid contents. "There is," you'll probably think, "no freakin' way that this stuff could be marketed any more aggressively."

And then, in the process of picking it up, you accidentally trigger the light switch on the base of the bottle, which then radiates a cool shimmer of ectoplasmic green light. It's insane. But wait: It's even nuttier than that. If you turn the switch on and then set the bottle down, the light shuts off. But it's not really "off" off—it's just temporarily off. Pick the bottle up to pour some TY KU for your bros, and—whammy—it's glowing again. Set it back down: just regular old minty-fresh mouthwash.

Holy. Moly. It's entertaining sober; Lord only knows how much fun the bottle must be to play with while intoxicated.

But on to the let-down portion of the story: the flavor. Vaguely described on the back of the bottle as uniting "all natural exotic flavors with premium Asian spirits," TY KU can more accurately be described as lavender soap meets lemongrass meets original mint Scope. A warning on the bottle that TY KU is "Best Enjoyed Chilled" (along with various cocktail recipes that use water, soda, citrus vodka, tequila, and other distractors to play down the soju liqueur's not-entirely-fantastic flavor) suggests that this is stuff to be celebrated more for its packaging than its mixological properties. Indeed, playing around with it, I couldn't find anything that a decent gin couldn't do better in a drink (with twice the sophistication, 66 percent of the price, and double the alcoholic punch).

Someday, if there's any justice, my favorite single-malt Scotches will come packaged in bottles equal to TY KU's in absurdity, driving purists mad and amusing the crap out of the juvenile at heart. Until then, shine on you crazy mouthwash.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow Chowhound on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.

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