Starbucks had this drink for a hot moment this summer. While technically it would be referred to as the Starbucks Valencia Orange Refresher Shaken Beverage by Starbucks standards, the reality is it was called “Tang” by those that really didn’t get it and to those of us that did…it was VOR!
And those of us that loved VOR didn’t just love it the way it was intended to be made. We saw VORs artificially flavored, colored, and sweetened concentrate (concentrate of…?) green tea extract infused hyper caffeinated syrup as a start point — but instead of just adding water and shaking with ice as directed, we replaced the water with black tea. The combination of sweet and bitter, artificial and “tasting of something that may have once grown,” icy cold and refreshing while at the same time warming due to the caffeine induced pulses which followed drinking one…
It was fucking amazing!
I’ll never forget the day Ian mistakenly said, “Oh, I’ll just have whatever he’s having” and about 45 minutes later, half of his VOR gone, Ian vibrated out of my car after dim sum and I’m not sure he’s been the same since. None of us have.
Well, the VOR went away and though I was hoping with every fiber in my being to hate it, the SAR is now the drink I’m obsessed over made with the same modifications as the VOR was in its hay day. (SAR = Strawberry Acai Refresher Shaken Beverage by Starbucks). Let me tell you something though — I’m not getting caught pants down this time. Instead of scouring every Starbucks within 40 miles for VOR extract after I learned it had been discontinued, now I’m stockpiling up front. I’ve learned my lessons!
Despite the fact that my supply of frozen VOR concentrate is running low and Howard Schultz has yet to respond to a single impassioned (or insane) plea, I’m bummed about something related but completely haphazardly so.
The VOR, in all its artificial wonder and glorious artificiality…well…it gave an almost daily reason to connect with the real, authentic, grounded family I love.
Between my sister Rachel, my nephew Nathan, sometimes Natalie, and even Ian our ever taunting group texts, pictures, and “I’ve got some you don’t chiding was also an opportunity to share what we were up to and otherwise just remember to touch base.
These moments made me smile. These people make me smile. Connecting with people I love made me remember that I was loved, made me feel close and connected and wonderful and like part of something bigger and most of all, they were just moments of total exuberance.
And I don’t need a VOR to remember that. So for all the right reasons and little to do with the caffeine and the Tang flavor and the life-jacket-orange fluorescence, I miss the VOR.