As a blogger in Bangkok, sometimes you get invited to events that run the gamut from huge to intimate, celebratory to somber, memorable and forgettable. I rarely go to these, usually due to a combination of being lazy and busy (I’m complicated), but a few weeks ago I was invited to an event by a company that was both familiar – hearkening back to my childhood – and vague, in that it wasn’t a company you’d expect to be throwing shindigs: Ricola.
That’s right, the herb lozenge that came up with that “Riiiiicolllllaaaaaa” song that everyone has lodged deep in their brain. I was very young when I first heard that song, but I can still reproduce it with frightening accuracy. So, in exchange for a blog post, I headed off to a cough drop-fueled party. What would a Ricola event be like?
Turns out – pretty swanky! The event was on the rooftop of Hotel Muse on Langsuan Road, and was impressively be-catered with Swiss food, a free bar, and lots of Ricola swag. And of course, enough cough drops to make Harvey Fierstein sound like Adele.
The whole thing was coincidental timing, actually. A month previous to the party I was riding motorbikes in northern Thailand with my visiting sister. I was just barely fighting back a nasty cough, and the smoke from burning underbrush wasn’t helping (thanks, farmers).
I say this with all sincerity – I was sucking down Ricola like they were going out of style. In Doi Mae Salong, deep in the mountains near the Burmese border where we spent the night, I cleaned out the local 7-11 to fuel me for the rest of our multi-day trip. So yeah…even if I hadn’t been invited to a party with an open bar, Ricola is my jam.
Pretty sure if I yelled “Ricccoollaaaa” here I’d get a lot of strange looks.
Back to the party. The first thing we noticed was an elderly gentleman in a colorful vest playing an alphorn, which isn’t something you often see in Bangkok. I joked to my friend that this dude must have the alphorn party circuit in Bangkok sewn up; it’s not like there are 30 alphorn players fighting to get gigs.
He introduced himself and explained that his vest was distinctly native to the part of Switzerland where Ricola is sourced, which was a nice touch. He then invited us to have a go on the alphorn. My hand didn’t shoot up, but Evo, my co-host on the Bangkok Podcast, was game. He might be a funny guy and a good podcaster, but he ain’t no alphorn player. Not that I would have done any better, but I think it took him a few minutes to catch his breath.
The oddest touch of the whole shebang for me was Ricola-themed drinks from the bar. Yeah…that’s what I thought. But you know what – they weren’t too bad! I have no idea what went into them and they had a slight medicine-y aftertaste, which I promptly washed back with four or five gin fizz’s, but hey, a Ricola cocktail. Ain’t that something else.
Any day with free blueberries is a good day.
The rest of the evening was mingling with other party guests, taking photos, and enjoying a few cocktails to the sound of accordion music from the aforementioned alphorn player (is there nothing he can’t play?). We also got to meet some Ricola executives, handle (even sniff) some of the herbs they famously put in their lozenges, and drink Ricola tea. Tea! Booze, cough drops, and tea…if Ricola comes up with a pancake syrup, you can conceivably consume sweet Swiss herb products from morning to evening and feel perfectly fine with that.
I also got to take home a nice souvenir – as if the “Riiiicooollaaaa” song wasn’t seared into my brain already, I took home a little pushbutton device that sang it out on cue. My son loved it enough to get rid of his Superman doll!
Check out a few more photos below, and thanks to the Ricola people for putting on such a nice evening.