Tuesday, December 30, 2008

dirty pop

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.

Cheeky vimto

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.

= = = = = = = = = = = =

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!


zoe said...

excellent advices, mr merrick. i shall follow them to the letter. also recommend strawberry beer.

hope you had a fab xmash and your new year's excellent.

and involves bottoms and party poppers again.


Unknown said...

aren't you vegan anymore - thought stout would be out of the equation!? Some of those suggestions scare the pants off me!!! Have a good one- we're getting the kids to bed and cracking open a bottle of fizz here - old fart style! J

Anonymous said...

Talking of strong drinkkk

I had two pints of Theakston's Masham Ale in the Guest Huse on Wednesday night. 6.7%. Bang on!

Danced to Ace of Spades, A Merry Jingle and Television, Drug of the Nation around midnight on new year. Kids danced to Propellerheads on repeat till 1 am!Latest they've ever been up. :-)

A good night!


merrick said...

Zoe, what's strawberry beer?

James, I'm still very much kev. Finding what beers are also animal-free is tough.

The Vegan Society's Animal Free Shopper is regarded as definitive, yet it lists things like Badger's Golden Glory that the brewery have assured me isn't vegan.

It's difficult to suss that's for sure and I must confess to being a tad benefit-of-the-doubt with beers.

Guinness use isinglass (from fish) in the manufacture of all their beers except (according to a response from the brewery posted in the Comments of this article) the monster strong Extra Stout.

The Vegan Society do reckon that there are quite a number of stouts, and on this basis awarded Guinness the 2005 Vegan Raspberry.

Incidentally, the ones the Vegan Society name as kev are:

Sam Smiths Extra Stout and Imperial Stout,
Little Valley's Stoodley Stout,
Pitfields' Imperial Stout, XX Stout and Shoreditch Stout,
Anheuser-Busch's Bareknuckle Stout and Mule-kick Oatmeal Stout,
Cropton's Scoresby Stout, Traditional Scottish's Glencoe Stout,
Hopback's Entire Stout,

zoe said...

strawberry beer = http://www.beermerchants.com/A1002

nom nom nom :)

merrick said...

Good call Zoe.

Those fruity Belgian beers are always a good bet, lovely sipping stuff and you sort of forget that you're drinking alcohol, yet the sharpness means they don't get sickly like alcopops or Midori or whatever, so you can just keep on chugging them. As long as you ignore the cost. And the increased inebriation tends to help with that too.

Anonymous said...

As for what they do to buckie - it involves frighteningly large amounts of caffeine. Check the label sometime. I'm pretty sure I worked it out at about 12 good strong espressos per bottle once - although I was probably pissed at the time, so that might be off.

merrick said...

Dunc, i'm sure that caffeine thing is a big part of Bucky's evil mojo. Alcohol has an inbuilt safety cut-out, if you get really pissed you end up a sweaty mess in the corner unable to ask for more drink or move very much. But stick it full of stimulant and you keep on flailing. Evil evil evil.

Alice said...

can i just saythat actualy
none of these drinks weer actually as hhorrible as they *hic*sounded apart from that blue stuff whch is horrible,

merrick said...

Alice, what do you mean? They all sound great. Except for blue WKD which, as I hope I've made clear, is a poison unfit for human consumption that is alchemically altered by the addition of port.