Hell’s Kitchen is peak Gordon Ramsay. The reality cooking competition show pits some of the best young chefs in the country against each other for the chance to be the head chef in one of Ramsay’s many restaurants. Along the way you get lots of loud, red-faced outbursts from Ramsay as he screams colorful insults directly in the faces of these young hopefuls because they undercooked risotto.
But you also get to catch a glimpse of how Ramsay creates his signature dishes and visually devour some delicious-looking food. There’s an emphasis on the delicious-looking part—I personally have never eaten at a Ramsay restaurant, so while the food always appears to be impressive and appetizing, I have no way of knowing for sure. And if Ramsay’s line of Hell’s Seltzers are all I have to go off of, then I may never taste his food, because these babies left a bad taste in my mouth.
The Hell’s Kitchen name has been slapped on products before—there’s a whole online store filled with “Hell’s Kitchen tested and approved” stand mixers, knife sharpeners, and portable propane grills. But this is the first time that same “tested and approved” label has been stamped onto something that the general public can actually eat or drink. Hell’s Seltzers are “Hell’s Kitchen inspired” alcoholic seltzers, apparently meant to be reminiscent of Ramsay’s restaurants. Again, I’ve never been, so I will, unfortunately, have to take the chef’s word for it.
The seltzer comes in four different flavors, each abhorrently named and seemingly more offensive than the last:
- Knicker Twist: Absolutely the most cringeworthy name in the roster, this is allegedly flavored with passionfruit, pineapple, and orange. I prepared myself for something sweet and tart, but instead got a mouthful of way-too-lightly carbonated, way-too-lightly flavored seltzer, immediately followed by an extremely bitter aftertaste. How something advertised as so sweet could leave such a harsh taste in my mouth is beyond me.
- Mean Green: I was foolishly excited about this one. Kiwi, lime, mint, and pineapple sounds like a refreshing combination—more mint should be mixed into cocktails, in my opinion. But not this much mint. Not this much mint. Imagine a White Claw can full of peppermint schnapps. That’s what Mean Green tastes like.
- Berry Inferno: Again, this combo seemed promising: peach, blueberry, and raspberry. But the only taste that really comes through is…blue. Again, there’s a weirdly bitter aftertaste that doesn’t sit well. It’s like when medicine companies try to make cough syrup taste more fun for kids but actually ending up making it so much worse.
- That’s Forked: I was ready, especially after trying all the others, to absolutely hate this combination of key lime, vanilla, and graham. Against all odds, this flavor is actually delicious! Not too sweet and accurately reminiscent of a key lime pie taste. What’s forked is that Ramsay has the audacity to actually make one of these good, a real mindfork that’s almost more infuriating and insulting than if the whole batch had just been disgusting.
Would I recommend buying these? Unless you’re a huge Gordon Ramsay fan and just want to use the cans for decoration, absolutely not. But I’ll keep watching Hell’s Kitchen for proof that Ramsay is actually a good chef, and if anyone has a spare That’s Forked seltzer lying around, I might take a sip or two while I watch.