From the thrashing I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor to the hair-gelled Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High, the Arctic Monkeys have banged across genres and hairstyles over their 12-year career. Heralding from Sheffield, England, they created my current music taste of cheeky rock and British serenades.

Since I’m seeing them live on June 19th, I’ve been in a full-blown Arctic Monkeys frenzy – hours of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino repeats, Spoon University articles about their listening parties, and exclusively learning their bass tabs. As a last-minute sweetener, I tried Dandelion and Burdock, an English beverage they popularized in their 2011 song, Suck It and See.

The Infamous Song

The Arctic Monkeys wrote the rulebook for indie rock romance. Combining Alex Turner’s lyricism with softened guitars, the Suck It And See ballads are genuine tugs on the heart strings. The titular song opens with this quartet:

Your love is like a studded leather headlock

Your kiss, it could put creases in the rain

You’re rarer than a can of Dandelion and Burdock

And those other girls are just Postmix lemonade

The bizarre but spot-on lyrics are so typical of Alex Turner. The obscure references, the confusion that listeners play off as “creative license,” the instant imagery – it makes poetry out of ordinary words. In an interview with SPIN magazine, Turner said that Dandelion and Burdock is “hard to describe the taste of…but you don’t get it very often.

This conveyance of “rare” expressed through a Middle Ages fizzy drink stuck with me. I ordered Dandelion and Burdock on Amazon to understand every filament of Suck It and See – and it worked.

The History of Dandelion and Burdock

Mackenzie Patel

According to popular legend, St. Thomas Aquinas “discovered” Dandelion and Burdock on a God-inspired wandering of the British landscape. Although this sounds like more of a clever marketing ruse than fact, D & B does have its origins in the Middle Ages. Fermented roots were all the rage in the 13th century, especially when dubious health benefits were attached.

Moving from the Middle Ages to the modern day, D & B became a manufactured fizzy drink of sugar and extracts (not pure dandelion and burdock roots). It’s sold primarily in the United Kingdom, although consumers can also purchase the Fentimans brand on Amazon for $12 a bottle.

I still consider D & B “rare” and effective in the context of the Arctic Monkeys song, despite the easiness of Amazon. It took over two weeks to deliver and multiple shipping fees – and it still tasted exquisite.

What Does Dandelion and Burdock Taste Like?

Mackenzie Patel

As Alex Turner said, the taste of Dandelion and Burdock is difficult to describe. And if Alex can’t do it, God help me and my poor adjectives… My first smell was of pure bubblegum, and I was reminded of the Scottish beverage Irn-Bru. It looked thick and brown like molasses, the artificial sweetener lingering and strong. 

With the first taste, my palate was confused since it wasn’t root beer or Coca-Cola – not even close. It was an inexplicable marriage of bubblegum, herbs, and ginger. The carbonation wasn’t persistent (which is probably due to shipping) and the aftertaste felt like spitting out chewing gum. My dad said, “I’ve never tasted anything like this.”

The official ingredients are fermented ginger root extract, sugar, pear juice concentrate, caramel, and herbal infusions, which explains his surprise.

My Indie Rock Conclusion

Mackenzie Patel

Getting more obsessed with the Arctic Monkeys seemed impossible…. until Dandelion and Burdock appeared on my doorstep. “You’re rarer than a can of Dandelion and Burdock” took on a new meaning. It’s having a floral but bizarre personality, an aura that is sweeter than cane but old-souled as the Middle Ages. 

It's clear that my fervor knows NO BOUNDS. A band that crafts lyrics as tenderly as the melody (if not more) is my hero, and I hope the Arctic Monkeys exceed my expectations on Tuesday. Guess I’ll just have to suck it and see.