I Can't Believe It's Not Paint Thinner: Vol. 5: Cisco

Notorious for the raging, delusional drunk it causes and its three–day hangover, Cisco just may be the absinthe of hobo wines.

Produced by Centerra Wine Co. (formerly Canandaigua Wine Co.), their site states that "Cisco is a beverage dessert wine for people who like a strong, great–tasting sweet wine at an affordable price."

Gazing at their roster of products, I realized that Centerra Wine Co. is to bum wine what Coca–Cola is to soda pop. Their all–star line–up includes Wild Irish Rose, Manischewitz Beer, Cook’s Champagne, and Arbor Mist, whose website’s FAQ section includes answers to burning questions like "How do I open the bottle?"

But back to the task at hand: Cisco. A beverage with a rich history. Of mental illness. In 1991, the Cisco insanity reached peak levels, leading the FTC to launch a full investigation on the dessert wine known for causing alcohol poisoning and psychotic breaks among teenagers, drunks, and homeless. The investigation ended with the company being required to not only change its packaging, but to include a warning on its label that the product is "not a wine cooler" or intended to be consumed in a single serving. You can read the report here.

It should also be noted that according to their website, Cisco is a bum wine that should not be aged: "Please remember that Cisco wines are designed for consumption in a relatively short period after you purchase them. They are not made for aging or being stored for long periods of time."

Ben Palosaari purchased our bottle of Black Cherry Cisco about two weeks ago, so we better get crackin’!

(Ben struggles to open the bottle)

Ben Palosaari: That is a snug cap.

Jessica Armbruster: Oh, that smells epic.

BP: That’s the smell of bliss

Bradley Campbell: (enters room) Fuck, I can smell it already.

BP: To Sisqo, the entertainer!

(everyone takes sip)

BP: It actually tastes like Dimetapp.

JA: It smells like bananas.

Ward Rubrecht: It tastes like candy.

BP: It tastes like artificial grape medicine.

JA: It’s actually black cherry flavor.

BC: I think I want to scratch my face off.

BP: Let’s start a charitable group so that bums don’t have to drink this.

WR: I’m ok with this now. Cisco, you’re not that bad!

BP: It’s getting worse as I drink.

JA: My stomach feels like it’s flying.

(Matt Snyders enters the room)

Matt Snyders: Oh no.

JA: Oh yes. Dreams do come true.

MS: It’s like KoolAid with way more sugar and Everclear dumped in it.

(Beth Walton enters room)

Everyone: Drink it! Drink it!

BW: I don’t want to drink it. (flinches and takes a sip) Actually, this isn’t that bad. I could drink this. But I don’t want to go crazy.

BC: I feel like there’s a film on my teeth.

WR: Yeah, plaque loves sugar.

JA: So guys, are you going to black out, start a fight?

WR: I feel like if I did black out, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised

BP: If I did black out, at least I would forget what Cisco tastes like.

JA: I think Cisco makes me feel really calm. It’s a zen bum wine. Not bad.

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