Skunk As a Drunk
Not so much "feeling" the holidays this year? Prefer to stay numb to all that hustle and bustle, that popcorn garland and choo-choo train business? Hate getting gifts and want it to be 2007, like, tomorrow? Complain no more: just shut up and drink, already. Look, no one loves everything about the holidays, but alcohol does wonders when it comes to sprucing up the world around you. Everything sucks less when you're plastered, and to help get you—and keep you—that way, I consulted Johnny Sampson, a bartender at Memphis Santora in Santa Ana. Read on for his snockered solutions to the most nightmarish of holiday circumstances.
Situation:It's the night of your significant other's holiday work party—a three-hour boat ride with a hull full of strangers. And you're the designated driver.
How to drink your way through it:All you need is one drink to carry around, albeit one that will keep you feeling very toasty and slightly buzzed. "You don't want something on ice, since it'll be cold," muses Johnny. "So try a snifter of cognac or Grand Marnier—or better yet, a French Connection [a combination of the two]. It will definitely last you through the night—Grand Marnier is so sugary and sweet, you can't drink it all at once."
What happens if: You simply must be smashed to even say hello to a stranger? Hand your partner the keys and promise you'll make it up to her later that night. Then get trashed fast with a Mind Eraser, Johnny recommends. "Most people would probably order Long Islands or an Adios Motherfucker, but those taste like poo." So sip a Mind Eraser (Kahlua, vodka and soda water—if you've got a death wish, switch out the vodka for some 151—in that order, stacked) through a straw and watch what happens: the Kahlua coats your throat, allowing the alcohol to go down quickly, followed by the soda, which functions like a bullet train to your blood stream. Why hellooooo, Mr. Boss Man!
Situation:On Christmas Eve, frisky Uncle Freddy (or touchy-feely Aunt Thelma) sits down next to you at the dinner table. Unfortunately, aside from the kiddie table, there isn't anywhere else to sit.
How to drink your way through it:You're looking for the closest thing to a strong pain killer—lucidity is key (you do have to fend him off) but you don't want to be able to feel anything, either. "Jäger shots," Johnny blurts. "One every time he opens his mouth. It's the sure-fire way to get lit fast." After dinner, wake up with a Jäger bomb—Jägermeister and Red Bull.
What happens if:Your family is a pack of teetotalers? "Stash Bacardi in a room," Johnny recommends, and then ask pops for a Coke. A little sip here, a little trip to the room for some Bacardi there, and you'll be feelin' fine in no time. Or, Johnny adds, "Just dump out the can and put Jäger in the can." Think Jäger goes with stuffing?
Situation:On the way out to a bar after dinner with the folks, your gal starts bitching about your mother. Oh no she didn't! You're already a little buzzard, so you don't want to stop drinking. On the other hand, you're already a lot pissed off, too—so you don't want to end up in the pokey for Man One, either.
How to drink your way through it: Johnny suggests a Sweet Harmony, special to Memphis (a former bartender, Harmony Glass, came up with it). With its blend of Crown Royal, peach schnapps and pineapple and cranberry juices, there's not a man in this world who wouldn't be feeling like a blissed-out unicorn after a few sips. Seriously, just try to kill someone after drinking one. I dare you.
What happens if:You're already buzzed—from whisky? Or tequila? Say bye to your honey and crash in your childhood bedroom. You'll probably still be upset when you wake up, but at least the first thing you'll see is a Candice Cameron poster—not your girlfriend.
Situation:It's the morning after a seriously long night of partying, and you have to go to work/Mass/brunch, but the only thing you want to do is die. Stomach's still too queasy for a quick-and-easy hair of the dog fix—you need something you can take on the go and sip all day, as needed.
How to drink your way through it:"It can't be on ice, because ice will only dilute the alcohol," Johnny says. "And it can't be cold, because it will only become warm." Instead, try straight bourbon in a flask or Big Gulp cup. "Assuming," Johnny adds, "you've already had your two aspirins and a vitamin C."
What happens if:You're a pussy? "Tequila almendrado—it's sweet, but still has a punch. You can sip it without flinching." Also? Almendrado . . . almonds . . . it's sort of like carbs, and therefore will have the same hangover effect as a giant roast beef sandwich, right? (Note: tequila almendrado is sort of rare, so you might want to call up BevMo or Hi-Time.)
Situation:You're single. And live alone. And your family is out of state. It's Christmas Eve. How do you black out without totally killing yourself?
How to drink your way through it:"It's Christmas Eve! You go to the bar, and you aren't alone any more! Pick someone up!" Only in that case, Johnny realizes, "you don't want to black out." So, if you really do want to black out: "Buy a case of PBR—you can drink it for a long time, get sadder and sadder, maybe write some good poetry. Just make sure all your sharp objects are put away."
What happens if:You want to pass out with a smile on your face? "This is for when I'm feeling slightly sassy but I know I'm going to be alone," Johnny starts. "I'll go to CVS, buy a case of cheap champagne, and dump it in the tub. Then, I add some hot water, grab my top hat and a cigarette and climb in." Sounds divine, but be sure not to pass out inside the tub—top hat or no, no one wants to be found like that in the morning.
VISIT JOHNNY ON THURSDAYS AND FRIDAYS AT MEMPHIS SANTORA, 201 N. BROADWAY, IN THE ARTISTS VILLAGE, SANTA ANA, (714) 564-1064; WWW.MEMPHISCAFE.COM.
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