memorialdaydrinking

Memorial Day drinking pro tips

May 23, 2014
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Ed’s note: This post was originally published May 2013, but its wisdom is timeless.

Memorial Day is upon us and that means day parties abound. You know the kind of parties: fist fights breaking out over trivial matters; girls crying over trivial matters; and someone doing whip-its in a cornfield discussing the origin of matter. Or maybe that’s just my summer parties.

Whatever you’re doing this summer you’ll need to be prepared. I’ve compiled a list of seven things I’ll be doing at my Memorial Day party. The best part is these rules apply to all parties. Why only seven? Because I got tired and started drinking.

1. “Liquor before beer, in the clear. Beer before liquor never sicker. “

You’ve heard it before and I hope to God you’re listening. Memorial Day isn’t the day to get cute and try to prove rules wrong. I’ve always found a good way to start is with gin and tonics and then after a buzz kicks in move to your favorite session beer. The key here is it speaks to two things we’ll discuss below: longevity (pacing your drinking day) and avoiding a massive hangover. The lighter the drinks the better this will end for you. If you’re an alcoholic like me bourbon and water followed by Budweiser might have your bladder working overtime but you’ll be able to imbibe twice as much as everyone else around you.

2. Don’t drink cocktails made by your uncle.

It doesn’t have to be your uncle. It can be any creep walking around acting like he’s Jerry Thomas. Whatever you do don’t let this person make your drinks. Go to the party with a plan. Whether you want to ignore my advice about the sugary drinks and drink raspberry vodka and Mountain Dew with a dash of whole milk, at least stick to it. Don’t let someone else dictate your drinking pattern. Pick a booze and commit. I’ve never been great at this but my body is always thankful when I commit to a plan. Yours will be, too.

3. Eat everything.

Food essentially slows alcohol from getting into your bloodstream. There’s a reason Archer craves chicken and waffles after a night of Scotch and hookers: it feels good for scientific reasons. It will help your hangover and, as we talk about below, help you stay upright longer. Eating healthy is encouraged if possible and whatever you do avoid dishes with mayonnaise in them that have been sitting in the sun for six hours.

4. Don’t overspend.

Unless you’re a rich asshole and enjoy ruining great booze, don’t buy high-end booze for your party. Most likely to drink all day you won’t want to drink straight liquor (and that’s how a fine bourbon or Scotch or gin deserves to be imbibed), so don’t buy it. Go with economic choices. There are plenty of great liquor choices that are inexpensive. Do your research and make frugal choices.

5. Avoid sugary, creamy drinks.

I’ve preached about summer drinking before on here and now we’re ready for real hot weather drinking. When it’s hotter than Kate Upton in a wool sock the last thing you want are “creamy drinks.” I’m gonna classify this as anything with heavy syrups or sodas, as well as the obvious piña colada. Sure, a rum and coke sounds refreshing and the first two or three might even feel more comfortable than a Thai massage, but these high-sugar drinks will inevitably find a plateau if you don’t give yourself a diabetic shock before that. The way to go here is to drink rum and homemade limeade (limit the simple syrup and as night progresses drink more of a rum-lime-water combination). I prefer a gin and tonic with a lime and ladies love vodka-sodas with any fruit you can think of to jazz it up. The following day you’ll be glad you avoided the sugar as your body won’t be processing it along with the booze and all the meat you shoved into into your face.

6. Check your legs.

There’s a solid chance most of us will play lawn games or stand and guard the keg most of the day. Some of us, however, will find a lawn chair in the shade and start drinking away our fears and regrets. Whatever we do, we must remember not to let time get away from us. Stand up and test those legs from time to time. Drink a fifth of brown water and never move and you’ll be weaker in the legs than FDR at Yalta. Hell, get up and have a jog. I know you’re faster than your friends. Prove it. You’ll be glad you did.

7. Avoid pissing contests.

Some asshole at every Memorial Day party shows up ready to out drink everyone (read: me). Whatever you do don’t try to keep up with this person. Think of this person as a reckless maniac like Cole Trickle or Chuck Cecil. They’re gonna crash themselves sooner or later and you don’t want to follow them into the wall. Keep your own pace and know your limits. Just as you shouldn’t test steadfast proverbs as we discussed earlier, so too you shouldn’t try to out drink some cocksure alcoholic. Besides, the longer you stay awake the cooler you look.

Kenneth Griggs is a writer and bartender living in Chicago, IL. He has hitchhiked through the Australian Outback; lived in a small fishing village in Japan; climbed Mount Kilimanjaro; and ran with the bulls in Pamplona. He spent six years as a feature writer for a daily and weekly newspaper and has two unpublished novels to his name. But his finest accomplishment is not yet sprouting a gin blossom nose.

  • Zach By The Pound

    My one and only rule: pound some frosty Silver Bullets.

    • Dexter’s Library

      That is a tremendous and commendable rule.

  • RobertRich

    I’m going to tell myself the Cole Trickle reference was for me.
    (read: That Cole Trickle reference better have been for me)

    • Dexter’s Library

      Of course it was, Rob. Of course it was.