Memorial Day Drinking


Ah, holidays: designated dates spanning the calendar year upon which it is generally agreed that we should gather with friends, family, and celebrate whichever traditions are appropriate for the holiday in question. Whether opening presents, spending a day at the lake, or setting things on fire, drinking has its place in nearly every holiday celebration plan.  So whatever it is you’re celebrating, for heaven’s sake don’t forget the hooch.

Summer holidays are especially geared toward drinking oneself silly – slowly or otherwise, and with a combination of high temperatures and outdoor activities such as barbeques and beach parties, your featured drink should be something light and refreshing.

Regarding Beer

If you’re serving beer stay away from heavy, dark varieties like bocks* and porters, and opt instead for crisp pilsners and lagers.  Hefeweisens (like Pyramid) and witbeir (like Blue Moon) have a light flavor but tend to be heavier in body, leaving you with a “full” feeling and making them a less ideal choice for sultry summer days than beers that fall into the pilsner and lager categories.  However, these can still make for a decent summer selection, especially when paired with lemon and orange wedges, respectively.

*Shiner Bock doesn’t count. Really.   

Our resident brewmaster’s top picks to accompany hot summer days and BBQ:  Beck’s, Stella Artoise, Hoegaarden, Grolsch, Shiner, Pilsner Urquell, Corona, and Bitburger; chosen for their light, refreshing quality and wide availability.

If you happen to live in a Trader Joe’s town, look for Simpler Times Lager.  At a mere $3 per six pack, a great full body and flavor, and 6.2% ABV, Simpler Times is a solid, all-around beer choice.  Careful, though – that 6.2% packs a big punch.  If you’re planning on sustained drinking over a long day, Simpler Times probably isn’t the right choice for this soiree.

The Specialty Drink Pick

Early in the summer when market stands are resplendent with big, sweet, luscious berries, my Memorial Day pick is, without a doubt, Hard Berry Lemonade.  Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries all make for excellent pairings with that old-fashioned citrus standby, and nothing hits the spot on a sweaty day quite like the sweet-tart shiver of cold lemonade sliding down one’s gullet.  Add vodka for some extra kick, and you have yourself a party.   If you don’t want to make your own lemonade from scratch, I suggest starting with Newman’s Own, Florida’s Best, or Tropicana. They’re all well-proportioned and tasty, and inexpensive enough to make a party-sized serving.

Pook’s Hard Berry Lemonade

This recipe makes about 1.5 quarts, so you’ll probably want to double or triple this for a party. If you’re using premade lemonade, just toss it in the blender with the berries, add vodka, and strain out the seeds before serving.

  • 1 ¾ c sugar
  • 8 cups water (split)
  • 1 ½ c lemon juice, with zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup hulled berries
  • ½ liter (approx. 2 cups) vodka
  • Optional Tips – Fresh mint garnish is excellent.  Sub 4 cups sparkling water in place of still water for extra awesome.

Boil 2 cups of water and all the sugar in large saucepan for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining water (if using sparkling water, only add the remaining 2 cups of still water at this step), lemon juice, and lemon zest. Let cool.

Add berries and lemon juice mixture to blender and blend well.  Strain out seeds and add remaining water, if any.  Chill. Serve over ice.  (Vodka can be added at any time after lemon mixture is cooled.)

This lemonade should be carefully consumed, as it’s easy to drink and dangerously delicious.  Be sure you have a designated driver and your holiday weekend will be super fun and awesome, if you can remember it.

Happy Memorial Day boozing!

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Break-Up Boozing


Virtually every woman has been there: Standing in line at the grocery store with mascara smeared across puffy cheeks, a bottle of tequila clamped tightly in one angry fist while the other clutches a box of Kleenex and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. This purchase will be immediately followed by an evening at home watching Grey’s Anatomy with your best friend and sporadic bouts of crying and compulsive toe-nail painting.  Depending on what kind of girl you are, this scene may vary. If your bestie is a man or a super awesome party girl, you may find yourself at a dance club revealing your drunken breasts from a stage, trying to see through your tears as you eagle-eye the crowd for a reasonable candidate to provide some one-time-only rebound sex.

For men, the break up ritual involves Man Time Get-Together with your buds in which you eat bologna slices or uncooked side of beef while crushing beer cans against your furrowed brow and pointedly not talking about feelings of any kind.  Maybe this happens while playing video games, or wrestling with each other in the living room.  Maybe it happens outside next to a fire pit or grill, where you’re brutally searing the dead animal that gave its life to nourish and heal you during this fragile emotional time.  If your bestie is a super awesome party dude, you may end up at a dance club salivating over the intoxicated tart who’s flashing her B-cups from a plexiglass platform. Wait, is she crying?  Does it matter?

In all scenarios, the common denominator is that we inevitably turn to drink for solace in this harrowing time.  Regardless of your sex, it’s a natural reaction in a breakup situation to go bottoms up in an attempt to drown one’s worldly sorrows in the sweet respite of alcohol.

This morning I was asked what the best alcohol is for post-break up drinking, and why.

My immediate response is “scotch”, because scotch is pretty much my answer to any of life’s big questions. After seriously considering this question for the larger part of today, I’ve realized it’s important to share more of a “do’s and don’ts” list in relation to Breakup Boozing to assist anyone who is considering the alcohol approach to problem solving.  Regardless of your taste preferences and financial situation, these four helpful tips will serve you well as you’re considering what to drink when your current destined-to-fail relationship is twitching its final death throes.

  1. Know your limits.  Knowing your limits when all logic has abandoned you will save you a world of hurt and help you steer clear of making poor decisions while you struggle to heal your heart.  For instance, if you know a sixer gets you pretty well schnookered, don’t buy a twelve pack.  You’ll probably drink exactly what you have and no more.  You’re tired and vulnerable, and you’ll want to go to bed once your drink has run dry.  Breaking up is tough enough without adding a case of the clap to the equation because you decided to sleep with the cute guy who wandered past your house at three a.m. on his way home from the bar. Only have on hand what you know you can handle, and chances are you’ll make it through this time with only minimal damage to your liver and sex organs.
  2. Mixers Are Evil.  Trying to make your booze taste like kool-aid is a dangerous game.  Drinking more than you should because you truly don’t realize how much you’re consuming is a common issue; this is one solid line of reasoning for choosing a high end bottle of booze and drinking it neat or on the rocks, if that falls within the scope of your tastes.  If not, this may be a good time to learn.  Drinking Blue Hawaiians at a time like this is a big, fat no-no.  On the other hand, if you’re nursing a glass of twelve year old scotch you’re most likely not going to throw it back like water. Besides, all that extra sugar is going to kickstart your hangover.
  3. Don’t try new things.  Stick with what you know for now.  I could tell you about an incident involving Southern Comfort, but that brings back all kinds of horrid memories I ought not revisit.  Varying types of alcohol will affect your body in different ways, so – going back to “know your limits”  – drink alcohol you’ve had many times before in an attempt to reign in the unexpected effects of introducing your body to a new type of poison.
  4. Limit drinking time to evenings.  There’s nothing sadder than a broken-hearted boozer cracking open a beer at eleven a.m.  There are other cases in which early drinking is acceptable; this is not one of those.  Limiting your drink time to the evenings is a good way to keep yourself on track.  You don’t need to lose your job just because Chad is a cheating asshole.

Bottom line, you’re probably going to get drunk.  You might get drunk every night for a week.  Just remember that adding a wicked hangover, a DUI, or an STD to your woes isn’t going to be helpful in the long run.  Aim for “pleasantly sedated” over “lips to the floor” and you won’t regret turning to alcohol to help solve your problems.

Good luck with that broken heart, and don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Cheers!

GET YOUR DRINK ON


Let me start by saying I’m truly flattered that you’ve come to me for drinking advice, and I hope I can fulfill your needs as a guru on the subject.

If you find me lacking in a category, please let me know and I’ll do my best to fill any gaps, even if it requires extensive research on my part. I’m here for you. If you would like to ask me a question regarding the perfect alcoholic beverage for an event or situation, please feel free to comment on this post or email me. I also welcome any feedback you may have regarding my drinking advice.

This blog in no way should be considered a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or psychiatrist, and please note that despite titles on upcoming releases such as “How to Vomit Correctly”, one should always imbibe responsibly, and I do not encourage the over-consumption of alcoholic beverages or other intoxicants. Not officially, at least.

That said, I hope you are able to find helpful information in my posts and I do welcome your comments.

Cheers!

Pooks