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Buzz Water

A Clear Solution for the Clubs

May 10, 2000|CHARLES PERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Women in fluorescent green wigs eddied serenely around the bar. Enigmatic appetizers were served on wooden spoons instead of plates. People in lab coats distributed test tubes full of liquid in very suspect colors.

Is this what water has come to?

Apparently, yes. The event--held at the ultra-fashionable Sunset Room, a Hollywood club-restaurant put together by two former owners of the West Hollywood disco-restaurant Roxbury--was the American kickoff for DNA, which is calling itself "the world's first alcoholic spring water."

Now, alcoholic spring water is not another name for Stoli plus Perrier. At clubby places like the Sunset Room, "spring water" often means a fruit-flavored drink that happens to be perfectly transparent. DNA tastes of peaches and perhaps berries; creator C.G. Rapp says, "Some people have compared it to Clearly Canadian with 5% alcohol."

Rapp knows his hip beverages. He's the surprisingly calm-looking fellow who created Jolt Cola ("All the sugar and twice the caffeine") and once advertised it with a billboard showing a guy with his hair standing out as if he had a finger stuck in an electrical socket.

Rapp's company is now called Wet Planet Beverages, because Jolt Cola (now available in five flavors) is no longer its only product. It has a (nonalcoholic) water called Blu Botol, a tea-based drink (First Tee) apparently aimed at golfers and XTC and Mi Chi, two beverages based on the mystical herbs that club-goers are convinced make them healthy and centered and heartier partyers.

The name "DNA" is intended to suggest cellular metabolism, apparently, and also the O.J. Simpson trial's quest for identification (explaining the label on the bottle, a big fluorescent-green thumbprint). Hence the people in lab coats.

As for the oddly colored beverages they were dispensing in test tubes, those were DNA cocktails. The one made with Midori liqueur was actually not bad, though a greenish-yellow liquid is ordinarily the last thing you'd want to drink from a test tube.

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