Naz Khanjani is a social influencer, a professional boxer, a reality star, and now a vodka baron. “We’re drinking sexy back,” says her new product. Josie Adams tried to do just that.
Disclaimer 1: this article contains discussion of alcohol consumption and being sexy. The Spinoff does not necessarily endorse either of these things.
The Notorious N.A.Z., Naz Khanjani, has launched a vodka empire. She’s most famous for her role on season two of The Bachelor NZ, where she came out the real winner in the end: she knocked off every other contestant on her “hit list”, and accurately predicted the final couple would break up. At the reunion show, when an audience member called her a bitch, she had a strong comeback. “Do you want to come up here and say it? I fucking dare you,” is a line permanently engraved on my brain, and I hope to one day use it on live TV.
She’s well qualified to make a sexy drink, being the sexiest person in the public eye. Naz’s Instagram is full of life affirmation (“stop stressing over shitty people”) and sultry photoshoots. She sells fitness tips and runs a beauty blog – two of the sexiest fields of work. Now, she’s thrown her creative mind and her absolutely shredded bod behind a vodka.
“I was very drunk at the reunion,” she confessed to me. Motivated by her drinking habits, she channelled her Piscean energy into creating a lean drink – something she and her gal pals could guzzle without any nutritional guilt. The drink uses natural ingredients, no preservatives. As the ancient proverb says, “you are what you eat,” and I planned to become pure coconut-derived electrolyte.
Ketonic Vodka debuted earlier this year, catching flack from the Advertising Standards Authority almost immediately. One advertisement for the drink read, over a photo of Naz, “Want to know what sexy tastes like? Come and meet Naz and have a taste.” Other slices of marketing implied the drink was healthy. “We can’t say it’s low carb or low sugar. We can’t suggest alcohol is healthy,” said Naz. “But I would choose to drink this,” she added as a personal note. In something of a tone shift, the Playboy-esque ads have been replaced with a factory-based, classically-soundtracked promo video filmed by drone expert Freddie McKenzie.
“I’m drinking sexy back,” read the slogan on the box. I was sucked in. I could stand to be a good 20% sexier. I didn’t know if drinking a lot of vodka RTDs would make it happen, but I was willing to try. I didn’t want to get white-girl wasted by myself, so picked an occasion: a staff dinner. This seemed the most appropriate setting in which to get boozed up and sexy.
Disclaimer 2: For legal reasons, I must make it clear that drinking this vodka did not make me physically sexier in any way. The only thing that changed was my self-perception.
The first round of voddies is open to everyone at The Spinoff. “Who wants a Ketonic Vodka!” I whoop. No one cheers in response. That’s OK. The night is only beginning, and we have a whole box to get through.
One of Ketonic’s slogans is “flip me to mix me”. This is not the same as shaking it. “Don’t shake it, because it might explode,” the sage herself warned me. “Just a couple of flips.” The flipping moves the ingredients around, so when you open the bottle you’re hit with the sweet scent of lemon instead of the carnal musk of coconut water.
Senior writer Alex Casey is pretty keen on the voddies. “If you don’t look at it or smell it, it’s actually pretty tasty,” she says. She does not like coconut water. I love keeping my magnesium levels tip-top, so am happy to stare this drink in the eye and down it.
8/10 sexy: trying something new.
Everyone else is moving onto beers, rejecting the opportunity to grow their palates. More for me. At 5% alc/volume, Ketonic matches up with beer pretty well but doesn’t have the same bloating effect. That’s right, thanks to Naz I can keep up with the lads without feeling pregnant with yeast.
Disclaimer 3: “Ketonic” is just a fun name and is not associated with the ketogenic diet. Naz’s vodka is not making me lose a beer belly nor any other weight. The only sources of weight loss in my life are sweating and peeing.
Everyone else drinking their big man beersies and them wanting none of my turbid voddies is making me feel insecure in my masculinity, even though I am a woman. I think about acting out aggressively, maybe by calling someone a cuck or miming wanking. Then I remember: Naz wouldn’t let peer pressure bother her. I finish my drink.
3/10 sexy: ostracised by the community.
I pour this one into a glass so it looks more mysterious. I was also mysterious, or at least more so than usual. I usually regret everything said around drink number three, but thanks to the all-natural ingredients of Ketonic I’m feeling easy, breezy, and beautiful. I haven’t hit on anyone, or mentioned my period even once.
It’s time to chug this back and hit the road. The Ketonic team likes a night out at Roxy – you can catch me and Naz cutting shapes and sipping lean voddies there on the 27th. Sadly, on this particular day the good ship Spinoff is heading to Satya, which is almost as good. I am not allowed to bring Ketonic into the restaurant and must make the switch to bubbles. Sorry, Naz.
Disclaimer 4: The Spinoff’s drinking culture is actually very responsible and relaxed but I felt that, as a journalist, I had a duty to fit in as many Ketonics as possible. No one became ill nor injured from the events of this evening.
6/10 sexy: the promise of a good night out, but no Ketonic Vodkas.
It’s midnight on a Wednesday and I’m in a bar in Kingsland dripping candle wax onto myself. The guy across from me is pretending this is a normal thing to do, for which I am grateful. I don’t think he’s finding it sexy. In his defence, he’s seeing this all through beer goggles, not Ketonic ones.
Sexy is about digging yourself, and I’m feeling my oats. There’s wax everywhere. LCD Soundsystem is playing over the speakers. I’m feeling the spirits of Romantic poets lurch through my veins. My synapses fizzle with lean energy. I write a poem for Naz on my phone.
How do I love thee, Naz?
Let me count the ways
Naz give me my sin again
Vodka lovely and temperate
Now is the winter of our discontent
made glorious summer by this voddy
Out, out brief wines!
Bubbles are but a walking shadow, a poor Ketonic
If Naz be the food of love, eat on
10/10 sexy: have become a poet.
Disclaimer 5: Drink Responsibly.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.