It's officially summer and you know what that means: gimmicky cocktails. It's a season full of normal flavored cocktails served in odd vessels, or odd flavored cocktails served in a normal vessel. Think alcoholic slushies, wine juice boxes, etc. At Shady Grove in Shadyside, you can get a "Shady Capri Sun," which tastes only slightly worse than you'd imagine. It is, however, just as embarrassing as you'd imagine asking a waiter for "one adult Capri Sun, please."
The drink comes in a translucent Ziplock-like pouch with a straw stuck through a gap in the zip (meaning you don't get to stab the pouch with the straw — a crucial part of the Capri Sun experience). It looks like an IV bag, but the drink itself is red, so it also looks kind of like a blood bag. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but is it a Capri Sun, or just a cocktail pouch?
The flavor was raspberry-ish, with visible fruit chunks floating in the pouch. It had a slightly medicinal taste and is most reminiscent of jungle juice. I asked the waiter how they make the drink, and she confirmed that it's basically jungle juice. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing. I'm not too good for jungle juice. But for $10, the drink should do more than just be in a pouch. If this drink were in a regular glass for $10, it would be completely useless. In two years, some bar will probably start selling jungle juice in a red Solo cup for $10.
To be fair to the adult Capri Sun, the optimum time to drink it is probably a Saturday at 3 p.m. on Shady Grove's patio, not as I did, indoors at 10 p.m. on a chilly June evening. And even though I just said the drink was too expensive and didn't taste that good, it is, unfortunately, still fun to drink out of a pouch. If it cost less I'd probably order it again, but also think it's likely to become a trendy portable beverage sold at liquor stores, à la canned wine.
Until then, there are still plenty of options for satisfying the nostalgic craving for grown-up pouch juice. In addition to the Shady Capri Sun, you could buy a regular Capri Sun, cut the top off, and pour alcohol into it. You can also buy your own pouches (reusable) online — a pack of 50 costs $14.