I'll Try Anything Once: Red Robin's Divalicious Red Wine Milkshake

Given that the boozy shake’s primary function is to be delicious, it doesn’t make sense to invent one that isn’t.
Publish date:
December 31, 2014

In today’s issue of “What in Pete’s name is Claire putting in her mouth this time?” we tackle Red Robin’s new Divalicious® Red Wine Shake, described by the company as:

“...a delectable combination of Little Black Dress® Divalicious® Red wine, Pinnacle®Whipped vodka, raspberry purée and creamy vanilla soft serve. Plus, each shake comes with a free wine charm while supplies last.”

I’m not going to lie, I’m mostly in this game for the free wine charms, and this one was almost denied me. More on that later.

But first, we need to discuss boozy shakes as a concept. Usually, they are delicious and I have no issue with them; they are a fine dessert, but I wouldn't call it "a drink." If I am aiming to get drunk, a milkshake is not the route I will take, for a number of reasons:

  1. It takes more than one cocktail to get me drunk, therefore it will take at least two boozy milkshakes to get me drunk (assuming said shake contains over an ounce of the hard stuff). I’m not one to say “think of all the calories” but like, c’mon, we are talking about stomach real estate. Instead of two shakes, I could be consuming a shake and a bacon cheeseburger. Eat smarter, not harder.
  2. Even if I forgo the burger and consume two or more of these things, it is still very unlikely that I will wind up inebriated. There is just too much dairy. I doubt my stomach could even hold the amount of dairy that would be required for me to get a slight buzz off of these things.
  3. If by some miracle I managed to drink enough of these concoctions to become properly drunk, it would only last (maybe) five minutes before I puked it all up. Too much dairy. Too much sugar.

But a boozy shake's inability to get you drunk doesn't make it a bad thing. Some of them are fantastic. But their calling isn't to get you drunk; their calling is to be delicious. I love the taste of bourbon and I love the taste of ice cream so a bourbon milkshake is a clear homerun. It may not alter my BAC significantly, but I will consume it gladly because it tastes very good.

Given that the boozy shake’s primary function is to be delicious, it doesn't make sense to invent one that isn't, which is why I’m confused about Red Robin's Divalicious Red Wine Shake.

I mean, I’m not really. This shake wasn't created to make people say “Wow. That sounds like it will be pleasing to drink,” it was created to make people say “I mean. I’ll try it.” (Third option: like Dewritos, it was created to troll me specifically.)

Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe a red wine milkshake sounds delightful to some of you, though probably not those of who like red wine. I can only imagine this appealing to one type of person: the person who doesn't really like the taste of alcohol, but likes the idea of alcohol.

Story time: One Gainesville morning, as I was riding the bus to campus (or maybe I was on my way back) I heard a young woman proclaim -- very loudly -- on her cell phone that she could only drink alcohol from a turkey baster. She didn't elaborate, because I guess the person on the other end of the line not only understood, but sympathized with this woman’s plight. Maybe they were similarly afflicted and could only drink from a rinsed-out Pantene bottle or Aladdin's lamp.

Maybe that's who this milkshake is for. Perhaps it's for the type of human who can only consume an alcoholic beverage by shooting it past their tongue and down their throat, perhaps they are someone who could enjoy the Divalicious Red Wine Milkshake.

But enough about the hypothetical enjoyment of others. Let’s talk about my very real enjoyment, or lack thereof.

Last Monday, I found myself both hungry and near a Red Robin. I was slightly hungover so a burger and bottomless fries sounded like a good choice. Why not kill two robins with one trip and make Monday's lunch a "working lunch"? I grabbed my camera and my co-worker (aka the really good sport of a husband) and headed over to the burger purveyor.

The hostess was really put off by my camera. She was even more confused when she caught me taking a picture of this but hello, it's a burger chair:

After about five minutes of waiting and taking pictures of the burger chair, we were lead to our seats by the confused hostess. Our waiter (Zack) asked if we would like a beverage, perhaps a cold beer or refreshing lemonade? In voice that was perhaps a bit too proud, I confidentially ordered the Divalicious Red Wine shake. The waiter peered at the menu, as if he had never heard of such an item.

A few minutes later our beverages arrived. Missing from mine: the raspberry swirl I had a seen in the promo photos and my free wine charm. I ignored the missing charm for the moment and took a cautious sip of my milkshake.

It was fine. It tasted purple, kind of like raspberries, and very creamy, but mostly purple. (By "purple" I mean "synthetically fruity as if to imitate a berry or grape.") I detected a small amount of alcohol, but not wine. I decided it was drinkable, and proceeded to almost enjoy it.

I was about a third of the way through my shake when things changed dramatically. Suddenly, all I could taste was grape Dimetapp. This sudden shift from "drinkable" to "bringing back memories of childhood illness" could have been due to improper mixing, or it could have been because I had begun eating my burger and -- though red wine and milkshakes may pair well with burgers separately -- this shake did not pair well with food.

Either way, I couldn't finish it.

My (inevitable) disappointment in the shake only fueled my need for my free charm. When Zack came back to "see if we needed anything," I informed him that though I "didn't want to be a diva" I would like my free charm.

Not only did he not get my "diva" joke, he had no idea what I was talking about. "Um. I saw it online," I offered weakly. "I'll go check the back," he said.

Zack returned a couple minutes later with my charm. I apologized for making a big deal out of this "silly little thing" but he was very nice. "No, I just had no idea we were giving those out; no one has ever ordered one of those before," he explained.

Thank you Zack. That tells us all we need to know.