This Thing Rules

I never got the appeal of Liquid Death. Then I quit drinking.

It may be the “Ed Hardy of water,” but Liquid Death is actually pretty good — and it doesn't hurt that it feels like you're holding a beer.

Wiz Khalifa pours a white can of Liquid Death mountain water
Liquid Death / YouTube

Giving up drinking has been, somehow, both easier and more difficult than I expected it to be.

By the time my rheumatologist told me last spring that I’d have to cut my alcohol consumption down to next-to-none to accommodate a new medication, only allowing for the occasional drink or two here and there, I already wasn’t drinking very much. I’d never been a daily drinker and had long been taking medication for lupus that requires being mindful of that sort of thing. Plus, COVID had obliterated my social life. How hard could it be to simply keep up what I’d been doing, but just a tad stricter? I think we all know the answer to that.

Warm weather hit, and with it, the season of outdoor partying and day-drinking, and suddenly I was very, very aware of my new restrictions. So, I leaned into an age-old partying sober trick to quell the FOMO-fueled cravings: showing up with a 12-pack of plain ol’ seltzer.

Recently, I’ve really been into Liquid Death for these kinds of settings. Yes, the “Ed Hardy of water.”

Sometimes, just looking like beer is enough. Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

In truth, I never really got Liquid Death’s whole vibe. It looks cool, sure, but it’s… just water. “Murder your thirst”? Ooh, clever. (The Wiz Khalifa commercial that refers to it as “The finest bong water on Earth” is pretty funny though.) In any case, I heard about it, assumed it would be overpriced to match the gimmicky marketing, and never thought about it again — until someone grabbed one for me while out on a drink run.

As it turns out, Liquid Death’s sparkling water works pretty damn well as a substitute for beer.

I embraced the tackiness of Liquid Death.

While I normally like seltzers that are super carbonated and really have bite to them, that isn’t exactly great in high quantities. Crush a pack of those in one night and you’re just going to be filled with air. The carbonation of Liquid Death’s sparkling water is more understated; it’s mildly bubbly, but definitely not flat. Kind of like a session seltzer. And before anyone says anything, yes, I’m aware of the differences between seltzer and sparkling water but let’s not split hairs here.

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Liquid Death is drinkable in a way I usually only associate with beer. You can nurse one for a while, or drink several back to back. That crossover is intentional, according to the company:

Liquid Death Sparkling Water doesn’t just look like a beer, it is actually carbonated like a beer. We use a more drinkable level of carbonation (5 grams/L) more similar to most beers than the higher carbonation levels of most sodas (6-8 grams/L). Slightly less carbonation means less carbonic acid is formed, which means the taste of Liquid Death is less bitter and more thirst murderous than many other sparkling waters. But most importantly, we made sure there is still plenty of carbonation for award-winning belches.

The fact that it comes in a tallboy really helps, too. If you’re not reading closely, that black-and-gold canned beverage could easily pass as a beer or — for degenerates like myself — a malt liquor like King Cobra. It’s a nice little trick for the brain that you just don’t get from, say, a La Croix. At about $1.50-1.70/tallboy, it’s also cheaper than most other sparkling waters.

And so, I embraced the tackiness of Liquid Death. Though, perhaps not as enthusiastically as some devotees have...