4 Ways We Drink Alcohol Wrong (And How To Get It Right)February 16, 2019
- Nico GocoWords
Years after I graduated from college, and having joined the ranks of the overworked and underpaid white-collar corporate employees, I became a bit more enlightened about enjoying food and drink. Sure, I go off and indulge every now and then, but I know that living off siomai meals and instant pancit canton on an everyday basis won’t cut it anymore. Even drinking enough beer night after night to construct a full-scale replica of Megamall out of the cases we finished off starts to get old after a while.
Looking back, I realize that I picked up a lot of bad habits in my younger years. While all the alcohol I drank then made for fun nights I can never quite fully remember now, they’ve also affected how I currently enjoy my drinks. I made this list so you youngsters can learn from my mistakes. Hopefully, it can help you avoid plenty of headaches, and prevent drinking alcohol from becoming an ordeal.
4. Ice with Beer
Pop over to any bar in Manila on a Friday night, and you’ll see plenty of minors patrons drinking their beer in glasses full of ice. It’s become so bad, that the servers automatically bring over a bucket of ice anytime anyone orders beer. Sure, our weather is as cool as a sunny day in hell, but that’s no excuse to chug down watered-down alcohol. However, if you’re one of those people who do it just to avoid the taste of beer, maybe you’re better off sticking with a nice can of soda instead?
How to get it right:
Diluting the low quality beer with ice can sometimes be acceptable, but it’s a bad habit that can ruin your first taste of the good stuff. It’s as if you got all dressed up to go on a date but wore bacon briefs underneath (which will suck if you get lucky).
Forget the ice. You can just cool the beer inside your refrigerator for a few hours if you want. Use a nice, big glass and pour the beer slowly. Take time to admire its appearance. Waft the aroma a bit towards your nose, and savor its bouquet. Think of all the responsible adult things you could’ve used the money for, instead of buying that expensive bottle, and regret nothing. Then, take a sip.
Beer may taste better when you’re smug about drinking it, but just remember to always tell the waiter to hold the ice.
3. Cocktail = Sugar + Alcohol
As a former college student who had to stretch his allowance from week to week, I can personally attest to the joy that a bottle of bilog and a few litro packs of pomelo juice can bring. Add twenty pesos for a pack of Happy peanuts, and you have the ingredients for a pretty fun weekday afternoon.
This, however, sets a bad precedent. Most first timers at a bar quickly scan the drink list for the sweetest and fruitiest concoction on the menu. Only when you get something neon that looks radioactive and tastes like five bags of skittles do you realize your mistake.
How to get it right:
While I would never judge anyone based on their drinking preferences, people are doing themselves a great disservice by ordering what’s basically artificial fruit juice and alcohol.
Cocktails are made to enhance and bring out nuanced flavors in alcohol. A good mixed drink will have components that complement one another, and not drown everything out in sugar. Try to ask the bartender for his recommendation for a more complex drink next time, or try out one of our cocktail recipes instead. It won’t be as sweet, but it’ll be infinitely more satisfying.
2. Using a shot glass for everything you drink
The tagayan is one of the most Filipino drinking traditions. Almost everyone’s first drinking experience happened with a group of more experienced drinkers entreating them to join in for just one shot. While this practice is suited for cheap mass-produced alcohol, it’s kind of hard to justify with a bottle of Blue Label. In my opinion, if the bottle costs at least a thousand pesos, then it shouldn’t be bolted down so quickly.
How to get it right:
Good alcohol, like good wine, deserves to be savored and appreciated. Take time to enjoy that drink you’ve bought with your hard earned money. Get to know the flavors that differentiate one variant from another.
Different kinds of spirits have their own respective characteristics and flavors. Getting the best out of each means using the right kind of glassware. For example, use a scotch glass with your whiskey and enjoy cognac in a tulip glass.
Using the correct glassware not only enhances the pleasure you get from drinking, it also impresses the heck out of bystanders. A decent set of complete glassware can be had for around 500Php, I’d say that’s money well spent.
1. Indulging in nothing but the cheap stuff
Indulging in alcoholic drinks will never be part of a healthy lifestyle, but like my dad says, “As long as you’re going to kill yourself, might as well do it in style.”
It’s a bit difficult to justify moving up to mid-tier brands if all you want is to get wasted, especially since alcohol in the Philippines is remarkably affordable. However, as is the case with cheap versions of anything, the low-end brands are filled with adulterants and additives that are better suited for industrial laboratories than kitchens. The results of which can be felt in your killer hangover the following day.
How to get it right:
If you want to avoid wanting to murder everyone after you wake up the next day, then you may want to go for better quality booze. You may have to spring for almost a thousand pesos for a good bottle, but it’s worth it. It tastes great on its own and can be used as a good cocktail base, too.
Buying more expensive alcohol also gives you the excuse to take every drink nice and slow, saving both your money and your liver. It’s a win-win situation.
While no one can tell you how you should enjoy your drink, breaking these bad habits will help you have a better time. After all, you don’t want to end up a slaphappy drunk who randomly threatens to buy out other people, other people’s friends, and other people’s clubs right?