Reporting Luke McKinney
Some say that “all drink gets you to the same place,” and that place is crying alone on the toilet because that’s where all drink ends and they’re incapable of appreciating beauty. Spirits aren’t just alcohol; they’re emotions in a bottle, liquid patches for the human personality. And through years of pain-slaking research we’ve worked out which does what.
Whiskey is Wisdom
Some say wisdom comes from a lifetime of experience, others that it’s your compensation for surviving mistakes, and whiskey is a bottle of both. Decades of distilling experience go into whiskey and it helps you invent new mistakes faster than you ever thought possible. Forget about bearded monks meditating on mountaintops, every distillery features at least one master who looks like he could either teach you the meaning of this life or personally send you to the next one. And he sells products which help with that “forgetting” thing.
Bourbon is Celebration
Close your eyes with a tumblr of bourbon and you can imagine you’re lord of everything you need in life. Because at that moment, you are. The rich aroma, warm tongue, and genuine kick of oak-aged alcohol makes this the liquid cigar. Upgrade to cocktails and you’re king of existence. The Manhattan is the finest cocktail ever made, and at the Kentucky Derby the Mint Julep convinces people to celebrate a parade of horse’s asses as the event of the year. Whether you’re celebrating a completed task, a fine evening, or the simple fact that you’re alive and have no reason not to (a much more powerful life strategy than many think), bourbon tells your body what your mind already knows: this life thing is pretty sweet.
Rum is Party Time
Rum has a bad reputation because of sailors, sodomy, and that’s actually more than enough. But think about it: these sailors had months of pay but only a few days to have as much fun as possible. If they chose a drink it was because it worked. Hemingway drank rum and he never did anything by halves, whether it was drinking, writing, or very suddenly deciding to stop both. Bad rum might smell like sugar cane had an infected wound and somebody bottled the seepage, but there are now spiced rums based on “using spices to taste good” instead of “use spices to make it taste different because no-one would drink that.” They also upgrade every rum cocktail into a beach party.
Tequila is a Turbocharger
Whatever you’re about to do, tequila will do it faster with all the safeties off. Tequila’s reputation has been ruined by college students slamming it, just like many of those college students. Some of whom still flinch when anyone mentions sheep or parking meters. Most people now think of it as cheap felony juice. Including unscrupulous distillers who realize that it’s pretty cheap to sell used battery acid when people are mixing it with salt, lemon, and five more tequila slammers. Which doesn’t change the fact that thinking “tequila!” is how you start getting your brain drunk with its own thoughts before the chemicals even arrive.
At the other end of the spectrum, it also amplifies elegant sippery. There are some truly wonderful tequilas to be had and far fewer people who expect it to be nice. Be warned that showing off such fine taste is just as assholish as showing off your funky rhythm at a downtown bus stop. But both are fun, and powered by tequila, and someone might actually be interested in your drinks recommendations. Which might help you interest them in your sexy moves.
Gin is Interesting
Gin has a reputation as an old ladies’ drink, but it’s gone from killing people to being known for Martinis. Those are the exact same qualifications as James Bond. And gin has a more exciting history. Gin has been everything from a herbal plague remedy (which didn’t work but at least made the victims feel better) to a gangland product. It’s been blamed for moral decay despite fueling the British Empire. Most importantly, it’s always on the upswing when cocktails come back into fashion. Aka “when the masses realize what a good thing is.” This is a spirit that has been through the wringer and come out smelling of roses. And cucumber, and citrus, and coriander, and lavender, and whatever else they think might make a cocktailinteresting. They’re usually right.
Vodka is Fuel
Vodka is raw fuel, and that’s fantastic, because without fuel we wouldn’t get anywhere. It’s the alcoholic equivalent of gasoline and with the the cheaper brands that’s less an analogy than a review. But it doesn’t care, because it’s there to get the job done. Vodka is a videogame power up — you can add it to any soft drink to make it automatically better. It’s also the base for some fun (if often sugary) cocktails. Distillers admit this with a range of more brightly colored fruitiness than the My Little Ponies.
There are those who claim to be able to tell the difference between different luxury vodkas, and probably can, but since the whole point of vodka is triple-distillation down to the clearest possible drink, that’s the alcoholic equivalent of stamp-collecting: spending far too long being excited about minor variants and alterations which were actually mistakes in the first place. The fact is that vodka is there to do a job, and can be relied upon to do it. Making it an essential addition to any household, because that’s better than most people.