Cascade Ice Pumpkin Pie Water: A Love Story

In late October of this past year I fell in love. Mine was an unexpected passion and still to this day bemuses me. I was wandering around the grocery store in that trance-like state that comes from being in the grocery store too long because you know there is some product you need to buy but cannot for the life of you recall what it is. (You will finally remember, never fear, once you are at home far away from the supermarket.)

As I walked down the beverage aisle for approximately the third time, my gaze fell toward a lower shelf that held several cartons of different flavors of Cascade Ice. There between the coconut and the lemonade was a new flavor: Pumpkin Pie? No, I thought, that can't be right; I leaned closer, ever more dazzled by the rich auburn contents of the bottle.

Yes, my eyes did not deceive me. In the spirit of the season, Cascade Ice had come out with a limited-edition Pumpkin Pie-flavored sparkling water. Must taste now. I grabbed two bottles, then put one back; maybe the flavor wouldn't suit me, maybe we wouldn't get along? On the way home, I tried to temper my expectations. The water might be pleasant enough, but it wouldn't actually enscapsulate that lovely spicy squash essence of pumpkin pie, would it?

Oh dear reader, it did. Cascade Pumpkin Pie water is the liquid version of the classic Thanksgiving dessert. It tastes precisely as if someone took a pumpkin pie and magically transformed it into a bubbly refreshing drink (and along the way strained out the crust bits). I finished my first bottle in less than five minutes and cursed myself for not buying more.

Throughout the fall/winter of 2013, Cascade Ice Pumpkin Pie Water had made intermittent appearances. Each time I spotted a carton, I bought at least three bottles. I raved to my friends; they told me my obsession was weird, unhealthy, dangerous. They reminded me that the flavor was seasonal and that Cascade would eventually cease its production and that one day I would suddenly find myself without my beloved--then what? I would surely sink into a thirsty depression.

They were right. For the first three weeks of January I couldn't find any Cascade Pumpkin Pie water anywhere in Houston. Going cold turkey made me winsome and irritable; my husband asked what was wrong, and I couldn't tell him.

And just as I was coming to accept that this glorious water was out of my life for good, one lone carton, heavily discounted, appeared at a local H-E-B. I bought the entire thing.

It has been a joyous yet uneasy reunion. Although I have managed to moderate my consumption of Cascade Pumpkie Pie water and ration my supply, I know there will come a day on which I will reach my final bottle. This day will probably be in late spring, when temperatures are finally up around 80 degrees, the pool looks inviting again, and autumnal foods like squash are far from people's minds. Except me, of course. I will probably desperately scour the internet for sales of rogue bottles and perhaps even try to make my own version of the water, which will inevitably be not nearly as good. I will be enraged, frustrated, then despondent and melancholy. But at some point, I can only hope, I will begin to forget about Cascade Pumpkin Pie water.

Until late fall, when it appears again and the cycle repeats itself.

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