Okay, everyone, I just want to clear the air before I get too into this post. I am not an unrepentant, recalcitrant boozehound. I know that the nature of the majority of my posts is discordant with this claim, but I’m only giving the people what they want. I know my reader (hey, Harrison) and I know they would much rather hear about this stuff than any other topic I employ a semblance of authority over. What’s more exciting, a story about how Incrediboy and I got butt-housed and wandered through a bad neighborhood or the development of the post-revolutionary American identity as expressed through the novel? I mean, I could replace all the stories about me yakking in the bushes with considerations on the functions of the comma in dialogue, but let’s be real, no one wants that. That being said, let’s talk about boozing.
This post is about when it’s ok and when it’s not so ok to drink certain things. We live in an age of seemingly limitless alcohol selection and myriad social settings. Pairing the right alcohol to the right surroundings is not an easy task, but if you keep your wits about you most major crises can be avoided. Note: none of this applies to Hurricane Brien. That guy can drink whatever, wherever, whenever.
Coors Light/Crown & Coke
These are your safe zones. I compare Coors Light and Crown & Coke to khaki pants and a polo shirt. It can be classed up or made casual. You can untuck the polo and spend 20 bucks on dollar bottles, or you can iron your khakis and just sip your Crown with supper. If you’re not sure what to drink, drink either of these. They’re both rugged, American brands that earn you some modicum of street cred with the ardent loyalists both these labels have inspired. These are your safe bets.
I’ll be the first to admit, I used to a detractor of this beverage. I thought it was for girls or people on beaches or in Mexican restaurants. I was wary of any drink that chartreuse. Then, I slugged a few $2 day-margs at Danny’s and all my dismissive presumptions went right out the window. A margarita is like tequila candy. Children love candy and Mexican cowboys love tequila, and if I drink too many margs, my coherency will degenerate to the level of one of these. But when do you drink a marg? Generally, it’s ok to drink a marg if it makes you look like a badass. To elaborate, a marg is best enjoyed early in the day (the oft mentioned and revered “day-marg”), preferably over a meal featuring beef, while talking about sports and/or outdoor activities with 4-5 of your buds. All this machismo will cancel out any feminine connotations the margarita may carry. Also, I’ve found that cutting out the “-arita” from the name makes enjoying it easier. Finally, it is important to remember to always drink more than one marg. Two to three are necessary to ensure that people know you’re aiming to get pile-drived, not just enjoying a cocktail with lunch. Oh, and get it on the rocks, salt on the rim. That's the only way.
Keystone Light/Natural Light/Busch Light
These three beers are all ranked together because of their similarities in taste (watery), quality (low), price ($14-$17), quantity (30 pack of bust), and appeal (near universal). This is basically the same beer sold out of three different cans, a beer known as “the Easy Drinker.” And while the Easy Drinker renders mass appeal, there are a few regulations for its consumption. As the Easy Drinker is sometimes known colloquially as “frat water” it is best to keep it within those frat-tastic confines. The Easy Drinker is reserved for house parties, gamedays, grillouts, field days, or booze cruising. Any situation that calls for a large group to congregate and chill out while downing copious brewskies is acceptable for the Easy Drinker. The Easy Drinker is not welcome in contexts featuring people who are above you and your peer group in social station and rank; if there are parents or other older, semi-respectable types present, the Easy Drinker ought naught be.
Keystone Ice/Natural Ice
A doctor would probably say that it’s never okay to drink this puissant libation, but doctors are lame and most of them can barely spell. That being said, the same provisos that apply to the Easy Drinker apply here, with one added stipulation: no girls. Never, ever under any circumstances should you drink Ice beer around girls. They may not look like they’re judging you, but they’re judging you. Sipping from a black can tall girl is par to having spinach in your teeth or rubbing french fries on your hair as a surefire way to not successfully chat up a gal. Ice should be reserved for when you and the boys want to get full on plastered in the comfort and safety of your own home.
If you can somehow get your hands on a Zima, you drink it as soon as possible and savor every drop. Also, put a Jolly Rancher in the bottle for a fun flavor.
Bud Light Lime
The rules for drinking more than one BL Lime:
-it has to be summer
-you have to be outside
-you must be wearing sandals/Sperry’s
-reggae/Vampire Weekend has to be playing
-you can not buy in quantity greater than a 12 pack
-if you do not oblige the above, you better be lacking male genitalia.
Alternatively, there is a more radical approach that makes drinking BL Lime outside the aforementioned parameters ok, but few have the gumption or time to commit to such an endeavor. This approach involves pouring the BL Lime from its markedly lame looking can/bottle into something a bit more respectable; an empty Steel Reserve or Axe-Head can is best suited for the job. This toughens your image up enough to keep you with society’s tolerable range. Or, you could just paint some fire and skulls on your bottles. That works, too.
Any alcohol that can run a gas generator has to be approached with caution/circumspection/awe. This stuff should not be taken lightly. I have seen EverClear send people to the hospital. I have seen a lit cigarette ignite spilled EverClear and burn a hole in a picnic table. I have been paid $50 to mail a bottle of it to Virginia, where it is illegal to sell or purchase. The motto “don’t fear the ‘Clear” is entirely infelicitous by nature, but “just respect the ‘Clear” doesn’t have the same ring to it. If you don’t give EverClear credit where credit is due, it will knock you on your ass, spit in your face, and steal your bike. EverClear is only to be enjoyed—and I use that word very loosely—within a large group, preferably mixed into something, thus limiting the potency of its chemistry of nearly pure alcohol. Oh, and one more thing: any time you drink EverClear, it is imperative that everyone knows you are drinking EverClear so they can recognize how hardass you are.
Excluding a glass or two with a nice meal, drinking wine in a social (read: house party) context could be opprobrious to your reputation. Even though wine has a higher ABV than beer, there’s nothing respectable about walking around with a glass of wine. I don’t know what it is because the social constructs and mores at work here are beyond my grasp, but it’s just not cool. However, if you are going to insist on drinking wine at the next frat house rager, there are a few ways to do it with style. First, do not drink nice wine. The cheaper, the better. If the wine you’re drinking tastes like Kool-Aid mixed with nailpolish remover, you’re on the right track. Also, try to get the biggest bottle for the lowest amount of money. If your wine comes in a $12 gallon jug, it’s no longer a beverage; it’s a personal statement. A box of Franzia is the gold standard here. Second, drink straight from the bottle. No cups and for God’s sake so wine glasses. This is a party, not a poetry reading. Grasp the bottle by the neck and drink in overblown, forceful motions, like a hobo looking for a reason to eke out one more second of wretched existence. If at all possible, finish the bottle. Bonus points for breaking it.
Alright, that’s all I got for today, as anthropology class is winding down and schoolwork calls. I hope this guide is a handy reference as you wander your local liquor store.