Washington On Ice

Forcing people to drink Smirnoff Ice may be stupid. But Washington could use some more whimsy.

By: Alyssa Rosenberg

Like most Washingtoniennes, I schlep a lot of stuff around in my purse. But along with my laptop, lip gloss, and keys, a more unusual object has been bumping around the bottom of my bag since Monday: a Green Apple Smirnoff Ice. It’s warm, it’s vile, it’s kind of heavy, and it’s part of my self-defense strategy.

The reason is this: Last Friday, the snark-centric blog the Awl reported a new trend sweeping frat-oriented dudes nationwide—walking up to one of your friends, handing him an alcopop (an alcoholic soda, for all you non-bros), and announcing “you got iced, bro.” Once that handover occurs, the unlucky recipient has to take a knee and shotgun the whole bottle. Unless, of course, said recipient is packing Ice him- or herself—in which case, the first person has to drink both beverages. That night, I left for a weekend getaway with a group of friends who decided it’d be hilarious to adopt the trend. A war ensued. Ices were hoarded, packed in pockets, hidden in sweatshirts, handed down when more people arrived, and used to seal business deals.

DCist editor Sommer Mathis asked in a post Monday, “It stands to reason this could have happened somewhere in D.C. Has anyone ever actually seen it done?” before lamenting the trend as epically stupid. The answer to her question is yes. But more to the point, I want to mount a defense of Icing.

While Washington has a well-established drinking culture, it’s one that’s unfortunately lacking in whimsy. There are the bars that Wonkette warns year-round denizens to shy away from once intern season starts and the rituals of the area’s speakeasy scene—which combine to make beers, bitters, and everything in between a serious business. Smirnoff Ice may be gross. There are situations under which it may be taboo to Ice someone (before breakfast, while driving, and targeting anyone who doesn’t drink). But Washington could use more surprises and more reminders of the joys of goofiness. Let the games—and the Icings—begin.

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