What the fuck happened?!: A boozey look back at 2010

—Josey and Christian

What the fuck happened in 2010?! How did I get these bruises? Where the hell is my wallet? Where am I—and who are you?!? 2010, it’s been real. As we scratch our soaking brains to try and remember what the fuck happened last year, one thing’s clear: there was drinking. And it all gets kinda blurry after that. Here’s our best attempt at a round-up of the year’s top stories in booze:

Drunken rants and DUIs. “Mooooom! You’re sooooo embaaaarraaaasssingggg!!!” Calling Audrina Patridge a “celebrity” is a stretch, but we don’t care who she is or where she comes from—her mom’s wasted rant following the ex-reality show “celebrity’s” “elimination” from more-vomit-inducing-than-store-brand-tequila-mixed-with-milk-in-a-moment-of-misguided-desperation “TV” “competition” Dancing with the “Stars” (are you sick of air quotes yet?—us neither!) was one of the best recorded drunken rants of 2010. Happy America! We’re all American!

Here at the Enthusiast, our mission is to promote the lifestyle of semi-functional alcoholism. The three behaviors we don’t endorse? Violence against humans or animals, operating heavy machinery or vehicles while intoxicated, and… uhhhhh … well, we can’t remember the third one right now. I swear there was a third one. Anyways, that asshole Charlie Sheen clearly falls well outside anyone’s definition of semi-functional anything, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make our top drunken rants list. While stories about what he specifically screamed and threw conflict, ranging from calling his porn companion Capri Anderson a “whore” to shouting racist slurs to making wallet-stealing accusations, one thing is for certain: That incident at the Plaza hotel was no allergic reaction to medication. Unless “allergic” is code for “I was blacked out and I’m a douche who clearly can’t handle my shit” and “medication” is code for “booze” which, well—it is.

And making this list now for several years running (if we’d has this blog and list for several years) is ginger-haired leggings-kingpin Lindsay Lohan. In 2010, the former child actress and part-time lesbian was sentenced to 90 days in jail for violating her DUI probation after her SCRAM bracelet narced her out for boozing it up after the MTV Movie Awards in June. Girl, we understand that parties are super, super boring when you’re sober—but we also don’t have cocktail detection devices strapped to our legs. OMG, remember when Lindsay was a lesbian? Happy America!!!

Prohibition 2010. This year an entire category of packaged concoctions was outlawed in so-called “Happy America”—the most notable of which being Four Loko. You probably already know the story, but basically, a bunch of college kids got drunk, did stupid shit, and some might even have passed out (shocking, we know) causing concerned parents, school officials, and eventually politicians to go on the warpath against the Jolly Rancher-flavored, heavily-caffeinated, purported underage drinkers’ drink of choice and convince the FDA to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages with caffeine artificially added altogether. Never fear: purchasing the two substances separately and combining them is still legal (at least, for now), meaning that sales of Red Bull and vodka, Irish Coffee and their many brethren are still in the clear. Because college kids definitely aren’t motivated enough to get drunk but still feel very awake to figure out how to mix energy drinks and cheap booze together themselves. We certainly never figured that out when we were college students (the Enthusiast said sarcastically). Perhaps everyone will simply stick to more tried-and-true methods of fucking themselves up royally while remaining energetic. Because those methods have never caused problems.

Interestingly, the case of Four Loko in the U.S. has a lot in common with the ongoing controversy in the U.K. surrounding Buckfast Tonic Wine, a sweet, high-potency beverage that contains roughly the same caffeine content as coffee. Buckie (as it is colloquially known) has been linked not just to excessive drunkenness followed by alcoholic incapacitation, but also to violence, particularly among the underage. According to a BBC report released early this year, between 2006 and 2009 Buckie was mentioned in more than 5,500 crime reports throughout the U.K. Of those, 10% were violent—with the bottle itself used as a weapon more than 100 times. Discussions of banning Buckie have abounded, as have suggestions it be bottled in plastic instead of glass. But in a testament to the difference between the more booze-tolerant U.K. and our puritanical society, talk of prohibiting Buckie’s sales haven’t yet made it to the courts and it is still enjoyed up and down the Isles. Unfortunately, there was seemingly never enough demand for Buckfast Tonic in the States for us to be able to purchase it easily and inexpensively, and now with the FDA ruling, we’ll need to field trip across to pond to sample this remarkable elixir.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. We’ve never taken a cruise ourselves, but our understanding is that you’re essentially riding around the oceans inside a gargantuan, floating bar that’s filled with elderly folks and screaming children. What else is there to do while adrift (and why else would one embark on a cruise in the first place?) other than to down copious umbrella-adorned cocktails, shots of tequila, and tiny bottles of a blue, minty liquor that someone keeps leaving next to your bathroom sink? With all that boozing going on, we can totally, totally see how grayouts, blackouts, and carbon nano-tube dark matter-outs would happen. And how doing shit like, say, sneaking into a restricted area of the cruise ship one night and tossing its anchor overboard in the middle of the Caribbean ocean would seem like a really helpful thing to do. For the sake of the ship, and the rest of the passengers. It’s cool, occifer: I phrew a bu-ee out after it!

Trendy intoxicants. As we neared the end of the decade, a new breed of bartender sprung up, the “cocktail chef,” who looks to push the boundaries of drink-making. To take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. What this led to was a resurgence of the classics (owing no small thanks to the popularity of libation-heavy show, Mad Men) and then a whole bevy of unique takes on the classics. Defunct dive bars were re-opened with rustic interiors and epic cocktail menus organized by spirit or region or era. Locally distilled, small batch, artisanal spirits sprung up on the scene. As did more and more organic, biodynamic beers and wines. And cocktail connoisseurs murmured about mezcal, elderflower, and neo-Tiki. In a nutshell? The same year that a candy-flavored malt-beverage took America by so much storm that it was outlawed, bars went gourmet. Whoooooaaaaa. So totally opposite.

Finally. Science proved that booze is good for you! (We Enthusiasts knew it all along.) So put that water down and grab a bottle of scotch. It’s for your health!

Cheers to 2011!

Four Loko photo courtesy of wickedboy_007, Flickr
Buckie photo courtesy of joolsveern, Flickr
Anchor photo courtesy of nickherber, Flickr
Cocktails photo courtesy of conorwithonen, Flickr
Scientists photo courtesy of marsdd, Flickr