There are few living things in this world more controversial, and I say this without hyperbole, than the tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum and Lycopersicon esculentum).
It is interesting to note that the tomato’s closest relatives in the plant kingdom are the oft-poisonous members of the Solanum, or nightshade, family, as well as the poisonously delicious tobacco plant . The tomato’s closest relatives in the animal kingdom are the monarch butterfly and Earl the One-Balled Ferris Wheel Operator.
While a rich source of the heart-healthy antioxidant lycopene, there are many people who feel that the tomato, when not served in ketchup or marinara form, should be relegated to the purpose of being loaded in a time machine and sent back to 1923 so as to be then thrown at hack comedians.
Others like tomatoes becauses of their sweet yet tart taste and the fact that they look like the breasts of a pubescent girl.
Regardless of your feelings about tomatoes or pubescent girls, we can all agree that it took one sick sick bastard to wake up one morning and say, “Hey, you know what’ll make this tomato taste extra-great? WE SHOULD MIX IT WITH CLAM JUICE AND SERVE IT CHILLED IN THE BEVERAGE SECTION OF THE LOCAL CONVENIENCE STORE.”
Why? What the fuck? Clamato? IT’S CLAM JUICE AND TOMATO JUICE. Who was sitting there in the Q.A. department watching all these bottles go by and asking: “Hey, we sure are making a swell product. Thank God Randy in the front office WON ALL THAT FUCKING CLAM JUICE IN THAT POKER GAME!”
Or maybe they never even bothered to ask what it was:
“Hey Curt, what is this shit anyway?”
“I dunno. Didja get your paycheck?”
Oh, I know what gave rise to Clamato, it took place after a Jules Verne-esque race around the world wherein the Duke of Bloomsbury defeated Lord Shipshobbington and then cast him away off the coast of the Outer Hebrides with nothing but the will to live to keep him afloat.
If only that were true. If only.
And then there’s the name. When the SS decided to commit genocide, they didn’t call it “The Kill All the Jews (and other people we don’t like) Plan.” They came up with “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” a subtle and marketable euphemism. Take note, Mott’s Corp. The folks at Clamato did just the opposite. They celebrated this abomination of nature and their first-degree palette assault by jamming the two words together as if it were just another everyday broccoflower.
What else will grace the beverage market in the coming millenia? Orange Marmalamb Smoothie? Pork Peppermint Patties (in beverage form), YooHoocestershire Sauce?
Have I ever actually tasted Clamato? Well, no. But you don’t need to inhale Zyklon-B to know that it’s bad.