Nov
08
2011

Whiskey gingers at the end of the world: Part 1

—Tessa

It wasn’t my intention to begin my column about drinking in Antarctica while sitting at the bar at 8am on a Tuesday, but now that it’s happened, it seems like a very fitting start to these cold- and bourbon-fueled insights into alcohol enthusiasm at the end of the world. My name is Tessa and I’m a vagabond artist and voluntary canary down the coal mine currently working as a cook down at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. For the next fourish months, I’ll be working and drinking from my little home on the Ross Island Ice Shelf, and will be regaling you with tales of inebriation from the very, very deep South.
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Feb
03
2011

Booze: cure for the common cold

—Christian

We’ve already definitively determined that booze is good for you. Numerous studies have shown that drinkers live longer, have stronger hearts and are generally just healthier than non-drinkers. (My personal favorite is the finding that people who drink moderately but don’t exercise are actually more often healthier than people who exercise regularly and don’t drink at all. Take THAT, everyone that said drinking and not working out was bad for me!) But in the throes of cold and flu season, and with a burgeoning sore throat, the familiar question arose in my mind of whether or not drinking actually helps to A) prevent one from getting sick and B) remedy minor illness after its onset.

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Dec
25
2010

Family cheer

—Christian and Josey

There’s something magical about this time of year. The air is crisp with cold and possibility as we huddle inside with the people we care most about.

Parents who cut extra-loose, with stories about after-partying in the ’70s told louder and more insistently following every downed cocktail and emptied bottle of red wine. Your aunt with an over-flowing glass of scotch who travels a few miles past sobriety and reminisces about the pants you wore at nineteen that were so baggy they threatened to expose your nether regions. The underage cousin you sneak a few hundred too many Jack swigs to, whose bedroom floor later feels the wrath of your indiscretion. The overage cousin you do shots of the Goldschlager you hid beneath your bed during high school with—insisting that you still fucking love this stuff and swearing that the bottle wasn’t, in fact, first opened over a decade ago. Even the older, unrelated gentleman who everyone likes but no one remembers inviting, who passes while out standing up and must be carried to a couch to sleep it off.
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Dec
09
2010

Diaries of a cigarette girl: Part 2

—Chelsea

Guest writer Chelsea regales us with her first forays into the wild world of booze in this multipart series.

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Nov
24
2010

Thanksgiving for Enthusiasts

—Christian and Josey

We Enthusiasts know that the best way to soak up too much turkey—or Tofurkey, for you crazy vegetarians—stuffing, and mashed potato is by drinking. Heavily.

Aside from it’s science-proven health benefits, booze can go a long way to make family time more bearable. When surrounded by a crowd of people who may or may not approve of your job, how you dress, your five polyamorous life partners, or—GOD FORBID—the number of drinks you down at family functions, it’s all a lot easier to manage when your belly is brimming with boozy cheer. Not to mention that holidays provide yet another perfect excuse to get schnockered before the sun sets.

The eye-opener: Start your morning off right with mimosas and coffee—Enthusiast style! Stash an extra, secret bottle of bubbly near the back of the fridge so you can share with Cousin Sue and still have enough left over for you. You only need to add enough orange juice to your champagne flute for an acceptable tint of color that will help your parents imagine you drink like a “normal person.” And coffee is the perfect vehicle for a whiskey from your preferred world region. Even if your relatives are the teetotaling type and you’ve already finished off the bottle you brought, there’s probably a bottle of something-hard one of your likeminded family members stashed in the bathroom cabinet during their last stay.
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Nov
05
2010

It’s hard to write The Alcohol Enthusiast when you’re an alcohol enthusiast

—Josey


I have to write. After work. I will not go to happy hour. I will head straight home, crack open my laptop, and I will write. I will ignore the late afternoon nervous tick of emails inquiring about today’s “HH.” I will respond to the influx of “what are you guys up to tonight?” texts with an apologetic emoticon face, and a confident “have to write.” Shocked and pleading follow-ups thwarted by my assertions that This Needs to Happen; requisite jokes about the irony of The Alcohol Enthusiast turning down invites to booze, followed by “shhh don’t tell anyone,” winky emoticon face, “oh if they only knew.”

But not drinking is not my secret because that has never happened. When the HH emails and the party-time texts come through the enthusiasm-trembles start pulsing, the anxious inner-pace begins. Then the desks around me turn ghost town, and visions turn to vodka, and visions become karaoke and peep shows and 4am.

It’s hard to write The Alcohol Enthusiast when you’re an alcohol enthusiast.
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Sep
22
2010

When we drink

—Josey

I embarked on my first week-long bender because I got dumped. Even when you know it’s coming, when you’re young—or maybe, also, when you’re not—it sucks. Really bad. After pleading and crying and many empty threats, I called some friends, went to the Greyhound station, got hit-on by some dude on his way to a Job Corps forestry program, and tearfully rode the bus to Santa Cruz, where I wallowed in cheap vodka, puked up cheap vodka, and might have eaten a burrito at some point. I stumbled through five misty, hazy days of drunk before catching a ride home. Splitting headache and trembling hands aside, I felt much better than I had before I left. I felt cleansed.
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Jul
26
2010

An all-girls education

—Milla

There was period in my own personal history when I had happily already discovered the joys of enthusiasm, but was unfortunately still neither legally entitled, nor financially able to demonstrate this enthusiasm with anything like the flare it deserved.

I was not alone in my plight, and every Saturday night (among others, if I am to be honest) this tension presented a willing assortment of cohorts and me with a dilemma. And for better or for worse, our dilemma was, in fact, enhanced by the fact that we were trapped.

A 17-year-old girl pursuing a career in enthusiasm from within the confines of a Dorset boarding school, while attempting to pass an A-level or two has something of an uphill struggle ahead of her … trust me.  (Oops—there it is; a confession as to my true heritage from across the pond.)
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Jul
07
2010

It’s for charity

 

There is one call to arms (and I am by no means implying there is ONLY one … but I am sure you will agree that this one has earned a particular gravitas over the years) that no Enthusiast can resist, regardless of their age, social standing, and even their level of comprehension of the greater cause. This reason for revelry, this justification for joviality—dare I say it, this Excuse for Enthusiasm (not that one needs an excuse)—has all but dragged people from their deathbeds.

So what is it? Only that inherent belief in the simple phrase: “it’s for charity.”

Sometimes there is the prerequisite of a small investment in the “charity of choice,” but sometimes there is not. All that is required of you is to show up, drink up and try not to throw up.

The traditional staging of these affairs opens with the arrival of a hoard of glamorous, young whipper-snappers, and a dappling of elegant, seasoned antiques at a venue quite unsuitable for those at either end of the age spectrum. This provokes a chorus of “oohs,” “aaahs,” and “wows” accompanied by a wave of theatrical expressions of surprise, wonderment and humble gratitude. Niceties over with, the focus turns to the proximity of the bar, and an enthusiastic urgency ensues. The hardened drinkers on the circuit hit the scotch, those tortured by an inner conflict between wanting to appear cultured while secretly wishing for an intravenous delivery system head for the gin mixers, and the floozies who skipped dinner giggle their way towards the champagne (or the closest thing on offer).

Some of these occasions even call for dancing in honor of charitable giving and this will inevitably be to a soundtrack of covers of the shockers your parents used to get their funk on to, and take place on a waxed wooden surface that is just aching to get its revenge on your stilettos; simultaneously offering you a view of the ceiling—while giving everyone else a view of your nether regions.

But dare you complain? No, it is for charity, and if that charity is asking you to party and imbibe, and party and imbibe … then a dedicated Enthusiast will follow that gospel.

As the evening wears on, however, and the open bar begins to claim it first victims; the illusion wears off, things disintegrate. Come home-time, the rag-bag crowd that stumbles out bears an uncanny resemblance to the crumpled, disheveled, sartorially oblivious exhibitionists seen ejected from an underage gathering on New Years.

This slithering descent from glittering superiority to infantile subservience can be blamed entirely on that simple phrase, “it’s for charity.”

I mean, if someone offers you a beverage in the name of Breast Cancer Research, who are you to turn down libations so loaded with altruism and generosity? If your very presence at the bar is going to lead to a breakthrough in genetic science, is it your decision as to how long to stay? Has vodka ever tasted better than when it is laced with pure, organic self-satisfaction?

And the best thing about benevolent drinking has to be the fact that no matter how late you show up to work the next day, how much like a distillery you may smell and how green a complexion you may have … a simple utterance of that invaluable phrase—the pained whisper of just four harmless little words, “it was for charity”—will instantly relieve you of any guilt, any remorse and any strenuous activities.

 
—Milla

Bottles photo courtesy of  de la Ronde, flickr.
Bucket photo courtesy of tray, flickr.

 


Apr
22
2010

5 ways to drink green

This is not a post about absinthe (pictured).

Earth Day is officially over-the-hill today. Instead of celebrating with an organic flax-flour cake festooned with mini sustainable wax gravestones, we thought we’d mark the occasion the way an Enthusiast should—by greening our drinking.

No, we’re not talking about being a double agent, nor are we suggesting you seek out bio dynamic beer. Unless you already picked up a sixer, in which case, we’ll take four. Really should’ve gotten a case …

Without further ado, here are 5 ways Enthusiasts can drink green in honor of Earth Day:

1) Buy in bulk and swig from the bottle: Stop wasting Mother Earth’s precious reserves of small bottles, and go big. Drinking only from it’s sweet, sweet lips ensures no water is wasted washing drink glasses, and everyone knows soap is toxic. The dudes at the Costco check-out will probably ask if you’re “having a party,” but you can effectively shame them when you explain you’ve gone green.

2) Kegerator: Maybe you’ve lived in a house with a kegerator in the past. You lucky bastards. Unless it was a fraternity house, in which case, hahaha … That’s just the jealousy laughing. Anyways, home kegs are great as they avoid using up all those bottle- or can-making-materials, but that extra refrigerator to keep the damn thing chilly isn’t doing Mama E any favors, so swallow your remaining gulps of cold pride and prepare to drink warm beer. You’re just being old-fashioned, and anything retro is constantly on the verge of becoming trendy. Finally, to ensure your home keg is optimally earth-friendly, always drink from the tap. How dare you even think about wasting a plastic cup to drink from this thing, or a glass that you’ll wash with soap/poison.

3) Walk to the bar: Like, DUH. Kiss Mama E’s ass by using your feet instead of fossil fuels to get to your favorite watering holes. As an added bonus, you can avoid joining the DUI (pronounced “dewy”) club. Of course, you’re still not completely immune from silly “laws” governing “drunk and disorderly” “behavior” so keep a low-pro as you stumble happily home.

4) Make hooch at home: Concerned about the transportation-related Co2 emissions your booze generates as it travels to your local liquor store, and want to do something about it? And the packaging! Worried your over-Enthusiasm might equal excess waste? What about all those leftover, near-molding citrus fruits you bought to use as cocktail garnishes (or those apples you bought—you know, to keep doctors from sneaking into your house and messing with your stuff)? Seems like a waste to throw them away, doesn’t it?  Fear not, fellow Enthusiasts, for now all of this guilt can be avoided (by taking real action, not just drinking it into oblivion). Simply ferment your own booze from old fruit just like they do in prison.

5) If the store is all out of green food coloring: Mix blue and yellow together. Happy St. Paddy’s day!

 
—Josey and Christian