Because you are not Don Draper: A guide to drinking classy on the cheap

Cillian Davenport

Alcohol. It is the sly mistress whose vaporous company we partake in so often. Like the Snuggy or fascism throughout history, it comes into our lives, promising warm nights of comfort, fun and good company. Then it knocks us on the head, empties our wallets, fills us with deep existential regret and dropkicks our feeble livers into a week-long coma. Finally, after a slow, agonizing recovery, like bison migrating to a semi-toxic watering-hole, we all go out to do the same thing again — which is also a bit like fascism. 

I’m not telling you to stop drinking alcohol because I’m not a fool, but I am telling you that at the very least, your wallet can be spared abuses. This is The Ubyssey’s guide to cheap alcohol — a work designed to help you save your parent’s hard-earned money so that you can go and spend it on more alcohol.

At the bar

Cocktails may taste wonderful, but they are also lies! All lies! For most of them, you are being charged double to have your shot of tequila watered down with fruit juice and bullshit.

Sure, you never see people like Don Draper lining up a row of 1oz glasses and downing them like he’s at frosh week, but you are missing one key fact about Draper — he had lots of money. Those old fashions that he sips likes the sexy bastard that he is are paid for with those crisp cheques that he receives for, you know, having a job. You, on the other hand, are a student. You cannot afford to drink like you’re in Mad Men because the only suit you have is polyester and you still live in a dorm room with people who think cereal has all four food groups and consuming weed constitutes eating your vegetables. 

Want to save money? Stick to shots and water down your alcohol with that wonderful free water that the waiters kindly serve to you. It will make a bar-tab that is normally over $50 shrink to a much friendlier $25 if you are downing around five drinks. Also, don’t be an idiot by ordering food. Most pub food is disappointing garbage. 

At home

There is a very clever trick for saving you money. A technique which is practiced so little these days, but so brilliant that it will blow your test-ridden mind — don’t drink at bars. 

There are roughly 25 shots in your average 750ml bottle o’ booze. At a place like Copper Tank, a shot of Jameson will run you $3.99. By this math, for you to drink a bottle’s worth at a pub — if you are mad enough to try — it would cost you $99.75 before you even add that $14.96 (15 per cent) tip.

Now when you consider that the same bottle of Jameson will cost you $32.99 at the BC Liquor Store (before tax), you might start to realize that you are kind of being screwed over by bars.

Considering it's $114.71 for those 25 shots or $113.81 for three times that amount (with taxes included), the math is hard to argue with. So instead of going to some dark and greasy pub to get your money liberally siphoned from your wallet, clean up your place, buy some chips, order pizza and do what some adults refer to as “hosting a soiree.” 

Hosting a spiffy soiree is the perfect way to enjoy the company of others in your own home or a perfect opportunity to puke on your friend’s carpet. Some other advantages include the following:

  • You can choose your own shitty playlist. 
  • When you pass out, a couch/toilet/wherever your face is aimed at will probably be close by.
  • If there is a TV, you can put on a movie that no one will actually watch.
  • You don’t have to tip anybody, but don’t be an asshole. Bring some food or something.
  • You can drink right from the bottle like the barbarian that you are. 
  • If you don’t finish your drink, no problem! Just screw on that cap, cork that bottle, bung it in your bag and go home! Save it for later! Alcohol doesn’t really expire!

What to drink

If you decide to host a party like you’re all grown up, you’ll need to buy alcohol. Let’s face it — buying alcohol is hard. You walk in and it’s just bottles everywhere! Some have fancy labels. Some have funny labels. Some have strange writings in languages that you can’t understand, which must mean they’re good.

Here are some rules to help you navigate the labyrinthine world of the BC Liquor Store:

For wine

  • Wine that comes in boxes is not wine — it is just off-water filled with the tears of 1,000 suffering sommeliers. You’d be better off drinking engine oil with Drano as a chaser. 
  • If the label or name is fun, it’s probably making up for the fact that the wine is shit.
  • Spend at least $10 and only buy South American, Australian or South African wines. 
  • Cheap white wine tastes better than cheap red wine.
  • Wine hangovers will make you wish you had never been born.

For booze

  • If you drink flavoured vodka, please look at yourself in the mirror, see what you’ve become, go on a long walk, then buy something that isn’t for high schoolers who have no taste buds.
  • You could put rubbing alcohol in juice and it would taste alright. Mixing is your friend. 
  • But if you mix whiskey with anything, I will hunt you down without remorse.
  • Do not get drunk on expensive whiskey… or else.
  • When drinking whiskey: cheap Scotch is worse than cheap Canadian, cheap Canadian is worse than cheap Bourbon and cheap Bourbon is worse than cheap Scotch, so just drink whatever costs less than $30 and feels like fire when you drink it.
  • Gin and tonics are your friend.
  • Gin, on its own, is not.
  • Tequila and rum will fuck you up.

For beer and cider

  • Pabst Blue Ribbon will force your taste buds to reenact the movie Deliverance, banjo and all.
  • Budweiser is sweat siphoned from the foreheads of people who dirt-bike professionally.
  • Spend the extra few dollars and buy craft beer, unless you are in a fraternity. In that case, leave your fraternity, then spend the extra few dollars to buy craft beer.
  • 99.99 per cent of the time, beer-breath is the most effective form of birth control.
  • Cheap cider is better than cheap beer.
  • Broken Ladder will complete your life.

That is all. Drink well, but don’t be a fucking idiot.