The indulgent’s guide to cheap booze

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Disclaimer: The advice given in this article is meant for people 21 and over. For those under 21, the author does not plan on writing a jail survival guide.

When it comes to liquor, there are two types of people: connoisseurs and indulgents. Connoisseurs will sip 20-year-old Macallan Scotch that runs about $5,000 a bottle while commenting on the palate and finish of the drink. Indulgents? Well, indulgents just like to get effed up. This guide is for them.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to get drunk efficiently and cheaply. Be smart, be safe and enjoy your entertainment for less than $10.

Don’t buy beer

Beer is fantastic and the recent surge of popular microbrews goes to show how popular it is. But if you are looking to maximize your dollar to drunkenness ratio, beer is woefully inadequate.

Sure, beer is great. But it takes a lot of beer to get wasted at an average 5.6 percent alcohol content. And for God’s sake, stop buying 3.2 beer at the grocery store. You’re only embarrassing yourself and bringing shame and dishonor to your family.

Beer, while a popular party drink, is inefficient due to its cost and low alcohol content.

The magical mixer

Vodka is the indulgent’s best friend. The word vodka actually comes from the Russian word for water, “voda.” Depending on the brand, the alcohol content can run from 30-50 percent. The spirit has a relatively neutral taste and smell, sort of like burning water. This, along with its relatively cheap price, makes vodka perfect for the indulgent as it takes on the flavor of whatever is added to it.

Vodka and Coke? Tastes like burning Coke. Vodka and punch? Burning punch. Vodka is the tofu of alcoholic beverages. It’s just there. While there can be a slightly less burning sensation in the more expensive brands, that can easily be remedied by the ratio you mix your drinks with. So grab some bottom shelf brand and drink with confidence.

I recommend mixing with your favorite kind of soda or juice in order to maximize drunkenness and minimize cost. Whatever you do, do not buy the flavored vodkas. You are not a 16-year-old trying alcohol for the first time. Have a little self-respect.

Bar strategies

Going to a bar to drink is like buying an expensive salad at a fast food restaurant. It’s going to taste the same as it does at home, but now you’re out more money. There are times when the indulgent is obligated to go bar hopping. While this is a lot of fun, it can also be expensive.

Always, always, always befriend the bartender. Much like the doctor who will save your life, the bartender is the one who will save your night. Ask about specials or if the bar is offering a new drink. Bars often run promotional deals in order to get people to try something new. Don’t forget to tip either; it will be one of your best investments of the evening.

There’s a magical drink worth ordering for the indulgent known as sangria. This sweet mixture of wine and fruit can usually be had pretty cheap. The increased alcohol content from the wine means you won’t have to buy very many of them either.

Alternatively, see about pooling your money with friends to buy cheap pitchers of beer. This may seem to run counter to my previous advice, but when two or more people split the bill, it can be one of the least costly options when hanging out at a bar.

The indulgent jerk and etiquette

If money is really tight and you want to drink but can’t afford it, I recommend re-examining your priorities. If you’re broke and your friends are going to the bars, offer to be the designated driver. Failing that, you can be somewhat of a freeloader and ask your friends to buy for you. I recommend, however, that you either be sure to buy the next time around or be a decent human being and cook food for them.

There’s a difference between being an indulgent and a jerk. If you have people over to drink, never force them out. Always offer a couch so people can sleep it off. Don’t do the drunken-driving thing either. Ever see a car try its best to go under the speed limit late at night? Yeah, they’re drunk. It’s easy to spot. Don’t be that jerk.

Indulgents can always have a decent time with minimal cost. It just takes a little planning and a willingness to try some new things.

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