Why do we drink alcoholic beverages?
It may seem like a simple question, but I assure you it is not. Alcohol after all is a drug or a remedy and can be taken as a positive, almost religious, experience or in some instances a negative one. Many cultures and people treat this tasty substance differently. We can, and many have written books about the thousand-and-one purposes and ways to enjoy alcohol. I will focus on the two basic reasons we all consume the good stuff: Celebrations and Sorrow.
If you are reading this, you are probably a hockey fan and currently are in deep mourning. Mourning of our beloved game that has been hijacked from us by the greed of the few. The numbers and blame will not be handed out here, but this does bring us to the sorrow aspect of drinking. As fans we can’t help but think that our game has been hijacked and held hostage, taken from us by those who don’t care about the sport the way we do.
There could be many reasons to drink – you could be sad, down in the dumps, or angry. But which drink to choose? What blend of liquor or beer will you go to? Some people may have their favorites, just like their favorite hockey teams or hockey players, but sometimes you need to put your favorites away and have a combo that will remedy you of ill thoughts and get you back on to the Happy St. Just like when your favorite player is hurt or your favorite team is out of the hunt, you resort to the back-ups to watch and to root for. Why? Well you have a need to fill and even though the reasons for having a back-up team could be questioned, every sport fan has done this before. Your need to root for someone, or the fact that you like players who happen to be on other teams, will drive you to dabble elsewhere. Rooting against your rival team is a good excuse, too.
Let’s get back to our drink. Which drink is best to take away that sad and lost feeling we have right now?
Difficult question. You need something hard and something that has character. Do not go reaching for the 24-pack of Coors-water or Butt-Light. You want a full lager or a stout with a good finish and a cheap whiskey. So why the dark lager and cheap whiskey? Well, for a few reasons.
Most dark lagers and stouts are a bit heavy, but have a pleasant finish that lingers a bit. The head is thick and always dangles on your manly mustache after a hefty drink. The aroma hits your nose with a pleasant greeting, almost saying “This is going to be awesome”, as the hops explode over the increased surface area as you tilt the glass for a few gulps (always drink from a glass for this reason, for the love of God). Always take two gulps and make sure to make the last one stick around a bit longer. Chugging will only make you gassy. The weight of the beer will make you happier as your body will start to think you are getting full. This feeling will also relax you. This is where the cheap whiskey comes in to kick things up a notch.
The cheap whiskey is good for many reasons. One is that it costs $20-30 less per bottle and it gives you a bit more of an ass-kicking going down. Jack Daniels or Dewar’s is a good place to start. You want to taste the burn and the kick that makes you have the whiskey face (fine whiskey will go down too smooth, and who wants that?). This isn’t a daiquiri and umbrella happy hour, it is a time to have a real man’s drink – that’s the point.
Cheap whiskey is hard to drink, and even harder to like. It takes years to be able to drink it without making a face. That is the trick here because you drink it and it makes you feel a bit more manly and strong. You get pumped from the feeling it gives you. In some small way you pound your hairy chest and get over whatever ails you – in this case, the lack of NHL hockey.
A few pints and several shots later, you will be giddy and yuppy. Talking about the good times and the dirty things you will be doing to that awesome burrito at the Mexican deli next door. Hopefully, if only for a short while, you’ll forget about that stupid labor dispute.
So that is my go-to combo for the dire sorrow feeling and the remedy for the downs in life. I strongly urge you to enjoy your holidays responsibly and drink in moderation (but with purpose). We will talk about the victory drink combo next week and hopefully we will have some NHL news to celebrate!
Don’t forget to join me every Wednesday night at 10pm as Ben Kerr and I go back and forth on “Puckheads: The NHL Show“. Join me on Twitter – @LastWordOnNHL