Photo via Portable
In the age of pop star proliferation, how does an aging diva promote her new album? How does she compete with younger peers who drop secret visual albums at midnight? If you’re Mariah Carey, a woman famous for allegedly delaying a music awards show by showing up four hours late, you don’t do too much—Mariah puts effort into her singing, not her public appearances. For the release of her new album, she executed a two-prong publicity approach. First, she gave her album a really stupid name—Me. I Am Mariah… the Elusive Chanteuse—that guaranteed people would discuss (and mock) her new CD, and then she released a soda called Butterfly at Duane Reade.
The pharmacy advertised the soda as a “melodic beverage inspired by the magic of Mariah Carey.” When I first heard this, I doubted the drink would boost Mariah’s lackluster album sales, but I also didn’t really care. As a diehard Mariah fan, I just wanted to sit back, crank “Always Be My Baby,” and chug a bottle of Mariah-branded magic. Sadly, there are no Duane Reades in the shithole known as Boston, so I had to settle for making and drinking my own homemade bottle of Butterfly.
Mountain Dew Code Red
In interviews, Mimi looks like an angel floating on a cloud of Xanax, so I imagined, when she designed Butterfly, she wanted to give her listeners a pick-me-up. Mountain Dew Code Red looks saccharine, fitting in with Butterfly's color scheme, and jacks me up like I’m on a business lunch with Patrick Bateman. Additionally, Mountain Dew Code Red is the world’s most delicious and naturally hilarious soda. I had to drop it into my bottle of magic.
Hello Kitty Gummies
Mariah allegedly loves Hello Kitty, so I added packets of Hello Kitty gummies to my concoction for extra flavor. (FUN FACT: Ten packets of Hello Kitty gummies have less sugar than Mountain Dew Code Red.) I expected the gummies to be adorable little cats, but they looked more like kittens that had waded out of a nuclear waste spill.
A Generic Pink Lemonade-Flavored Diet Drink
Because Mariah has allegedly gone on crazy diets, and also because it’s pink.
Cystex Liquid Cranberry Supplement
My homemade Butterfly wasn’t feeling feminine, so I added Cystex Liquid Cranberry Supplement, a UTI prevention drink, to knock it up a couple of points on the lady scale.
Duane Reade sells Butterfly in a voluptuous bottle mimicking the shape of Mariah’s curves. To mimic this form, I drew a sexy lady's curves on a piece of paper and taped it to the bottle. I thought the bottle looked hot, but my roommate said my drawing looked more like an alien space invader.
Although I feared my creation—it smelled like a scented pad—I performed a taste test, discovering the concoction tasted like a liquefied candy that had been touched by Satan’s fingers. When I asked my roommates to try the beverage, one flat out refused, claiming it might interact with her medication. The other took a sip, scrunched up her face, and then shouted, “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!?”
The Mixed Drink
Since when you google “Mariah Carey drink,” autocomplete assumes you want to search for “Mariah Carey drinking problem,” I decided to use my Butterfly knock-off as a cocktail mixer. By this point, the drink had sat in my fridge for two days; the mixture looked opaque, and the Hello Kitty gummies were waterlogged to the point where they looked like they were on prescription steroids. But once I added vodka, the liquor’s noxiousness cut down my Mariah-Cola’s cloyingness. I could only stomach a few sips, but I could also imagine gullible sorority girls slurping my mix-drink at frat parties.
The Real Deal
After the disappointment of my Mimi-inspired homebrew, a friend revealed that she had picked up a bottle of Butterfly in New York that we could both sample. I was excited, but when we met up, her face looked grave. “It’s changed color since I bought it,” she said, convinced the drink’s pink color had previously been several shades darker. In person, the bottle looked more like a tube of fancy female lubricant than a plastic statue of Mariah’s body. To my surprise, when we sampled Butterfly, it tasted worse than what I had created with gummy bears and Mountain Dew—it tasted like a watered-down version of my pink concoction infused with citric acid-based ingredients that made my mouth feel like it was filled with powder. Somehow, Butterfly is actually more inedible than anything I could ever make with soda and a UTI prevention supplement. Only the Cockroach Monster from Men in Black would crave this poison.
Butterfly isn’t going to move many copies of Mariah’s new album—for that, she’ll need some sort of phoned-in Iggy Azalea appearance or a massive concert in the Bronx. If you really love Mariah, the best way to show your devotion is not to purchase a bottle of Butterfly, but to go out and buy Glitter on DVD.
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