Here comes New Year's Eve, traditionally a night of going on a hell of a bender.
If, like me, you periodically find yourself having been up all night with friends, there is one essential consideration; how to keep going.
A key thing - if alcohol has been involved - is to avoid sobering up. However, it’s easy to take the path of least resistance and end up nursing a half empty can of hand-temperature flat cornershop lager. In your psychologically vulnerable state this makes you feel fundamentally tragic.
Instead, with a bit of forethought you can make that impressionability work for you. Firstly, get drinks that feel like pop. A gin and tonic is a good place to start.
Next, grasp the fact that you’re not going to eat properly any time soon, so it’s essential to have something that feels like nutriment. To this end, neck a pint of stout. People will tell you that women on labour wards used to be given stout after childbirth to replace lost iron. The fact is that it’d take gallons of the stuff to get your RDA, but that’s not the point. To you in your mentally pliable state – and, in all likelihood, to those women – it feels true, and that's what counts.
But as well as avoiding sobering up, you need to have a novelty factor to keep your psyche buoyant. I present you with the simple, elegant solution.
The Breakfast of Champions
Pour a can of stout into a pint glass, and drop in a depth charge of ruby port.
For those unfamiliar, a depth charge is a shot glass of a different drink dropped into a pint. When you down the pint, the last gulp has the extra woof of the different drink.
Pour out your measure of port, gently drop it into the pint, when you hear it clink on the bottom neck it in one. Your stomach will feel nicely sorted and you can get on with the day.
Incidentally, for those who need to give sobriety a wider berth there are stronger versions of all these Day Two drinks. They all sacrifice some taste in order to gain some potency.
A Breakfast of Champions can be amended to a Full Irish Breakfast. Simply replace the normal stout with Guinness Foreign Extra.
For some reason best known to themselves, Guinness is brewed at a mighty 7.5% in Nigeria. They make it like that in Dublin now too, and both are found in offies in areas with large African and Afro-Caribbean populations. Go for the Dublin stuff, it tastes smoother than the Nigerian as well as cutting down on your beer miles.
As an optional twist, you can change the depth charge to the deity of Day Two drinking, Buckfast. There are etymologists who believe that the words ‘buckfast’ and ‘breakfast’ share a common root.
Alcoholic Dr Pepper
Pour a measure of amaretto into a pint glass, fill it with half cola and half premium lager. No need to be a stickler for brands. Your tastebuds are shot and you’re mixing it with a soft drink that tastes like cold battery acid, thus it's pointless to splash out on Stella or Kronenbourg. That said, as you’re about to dilute the beer, don’t settle for non-premium lager. None of your pissy Carling here. As long as it says 5% on the can, you’re in.
Because this one involves a lot of cola it’s not only cheap but also scores caffeine points, its doubly good for the sleep deprived.
If you’re going to down it in one, have a depth charge of more amaretto.
Downing in one makes a good group-bonding exercise, essential for keeping everyone’s brain up on the level. Also, as this drink is so easy on the wallet, you can afford to get them in for everyone, which bestows additional group bonds and keeps that team-on-the-mission/we-are-the-Famous-Five element to the fore.
For the strong version, try the malty tang of a super strength lager. As with the premium lager, don’t be seduced by brands or any objective standards of taste. Forego this once the classic panache of Special Brew or the glitz and glamour of Tennent’s Super. Skol, Kestrel, Lynx; as long as clocks in at 9% or thereabouts you’ll be fine.
One of the most popular dirty pops is the blue WKD and port cocktail known as cheeky vimto. Indeed, this one’s so mainstream that you can get it at Wetherspoons. The question comes in the ratio. Wetherspoons give 50ml of port to two bottles of WKD, which seems blatantly stingy to me. I favour putting 100ml of port in a pint glass and dropping one WKD on top of it.
To make it a 'dirty vimto' follow replace the port with Buckfast.
Made by monks and drunk by punks, Bucky actually contains less alcohol – 15% compared to port’s 20%ish – but that’s not the point. As anyone who’s ever drunk it (or been in the blast radius of a consumer) it’s not about the ABV. They import cheap French wine and then do something to it. Nobody’s sure what but it’s an ancient monastery, it’s got to be some Latin incantations with some weird creepy relic and the kind of wrongness that Buffy puts a stop to.
If you can’t get blue WKD, just pick something at random from the cleaning products aisle of the supermarket. I mean, what the fuck is the stuff made out of anyway? Toilet Duck and vodka if you ask me.
Bucky and blue WKD – pure filth in a glass. As marvellously tasty and fearlessly intrepid as it is utterly utterly wrong. Just what you need when your awakeness outstrips your judgement and you want to keep it that way.
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UPDATE 5 Feb 09 : Don't miss out on more alcoholic alchemy with the boozy ginger punch that turns white cider into something fit for drinking!