How to get hammered properly during the golden months

High summer.

Jun 17, 2014 at 9:27 pm
How to get hammered properly during the golden months
Illustration by Sean Bieri

So you want to enjoy the good weather and get your drink on. It always works out well on television, but in real life, it can be a disaster. Between the heat and the drinking, the grilling and the exploding fireworks, we can neglect the essentials. Tempers flare. There are casualties hunched over toilets, booze-fueled cookout fights, public crying. It seems it always happens whenever amateurs decide to tie one on. So before you dive into that icy Mai Tai, consider these rules for daydrinking.

The sun is not your friend: Sure, you’re out in the open and it’s a beautiful sunny day. What’s wrong with that? Plenty. Daydrinking involves certain hazards that night tippling doesn’t. A person who parties from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. is drinking for five hours. But if you’re going to party all day, starting with mimosas at breakfast (hell, make it a Bloody Mary), you could be drinking eight hours or more. Pace yourself. Get as much shade as you can; under a blazing sun, you begin to run the risk of getting alcohol poisoning. If you’re hosting a party and anybody seems dizzy or especially flushed, get the victim out of the sun and hydrated. At one garden party, we put a sufferer in a cool shower, which quickly revived him. There’s a reason famous newspaperman H.L. Mencken’s three rules for drinkers included: “Don’t drink until the sun has gone down.”

Water, water everywhere: A pro tip for drinkers is to always have a glass of ice water in front of you. We try to have a pint of water for every two drinks, if only to keep in equilibrium. (This hydration trick goes the same for Molly and all those club drugs, too, kids.) Alcohol makes you thirstier, but it also makes you oblivious to that fact, keeping you reaching for another thirst-quenching cold one. Remember: That cold-filtered icy goodness is just a trick. Take a sip of ice water, you drunken bastard.

Don’t battle with the bottle: The less weight you carry, the better, and conscientious campers will be carrying it out as well, which is all the more reason to lighten that load. With the profusion of good beer in cans, there’s almost no reason to bring bottled brews camping, boating, or to the cabin. Keweenaw, Atwater, Milking It, Rochester Brewing, and several other local craft producers offer their suds in cans. What’s more, glass bottles break, which could deprive you of precious, precious beer. The same goes for booze, too: Find a supplier who offers spirits in plastic “travel” bottles that can take a beating in a backpack without busting.

The importance of a good foundation: Yeah, it’s summer and many of us are a bit more conscious about our waistlines, but you should never drink on an empty stomach. And you should periodically take in some food to keep yourself from falling face-down in that mound of Jell-O. If somebody has a grill going, a bratwurst should do the trick. Vegans have no excuse: The best culinary antidote to too much alcohol isn’t meat, it’s potatoes. Anybody hosting an event that involves exhuberant daytime drinking absolutely must have at least a tray of bites that can be continually replenished. They will pay for themselves in agonies avoided.

Calorie counting: Speaking of watching those calories, we recently encountered some advice in Lüc Carl’s book, The Drunk Diet. Carl points out that the difference between light beer and beer ain’t all that much. You’d have to drink a lot of beer to cut any significant amount of calories, so you might as well get all the flavor of real beer. But what a cost! If you pound 10 beers, that’s 1,500 calories and more than 100 grams of carbs. In a caloric cost-benefit ratio, Carl shows why a shot of whiskey is better. He writes, “All straight booze has about 100 calories per standard shot,” and points out that a vodka soda, a whiskey soda, and a tequila soda all have 100 calories and no carbs. (Whereas a Mai Tai has 800 or more calories and a Long Island Iced Tea has 1,200-plus calories!) What Carl really recommends, though, is wine, because it “has only about half the amount of calories in beer — and twice the amount of alcohol, ounce for ounce.” Is that jug of sangria starting to look better?

Doobie-doobie-do: Some people don’t like mixing booze and weed, but we’ve found that weed has a way of gently reminding you that you happen to be shitfaced. If it agrees with you, a little toke could convince you to have that glass of water for your cottonmouth, crush some munchies, and get back in drinking trim an hour later. We’d recommend nothing that will give you couchlock, something that makes you want to play Frisbee, like Blueberry Headband. You want to get up and around and enjoy that great weather, don’t you? We’ve experimented with edibles in the outdoors. Maybe they were too strong, but they left us in a torpor — although with a big goofy smile plastered on.

Going off the rails: Some people who get hopelessly inebriated swear by a couple lines of cocaine. Physiologically speaking, they’re right: A person dead-drunk and lying in their own spittle could do two lines of good cocaine and probably be ready to pilot a fighter jet. Cocaine’s magical restorative powers can bring a person back from the brink, getting them ready to do something else, like go for a swim, play baseball, or dig a six-foot-deep latrine in 15 minutes. However, informal studies show that 90 percent of people, after snorting a few rails of coke, immediately reach for the largest, fullest bottle of booze. For this reason, we don’t recommend it as a cure.

Don’t blow it: The adult pleasures of life are there to enhance fun, not to get in the way of it. Plan your drinking intelligently. The calories and carb load of a Bloody Mary make it best for early in the day. Sangria goes well with a light lunch. A glass of whiskey on the rocks is good at night until too many June bugs jump into it. A nice toke of upbeat sativa is good all day long. Take everything in just a bit of moderation. We know: You’re on holiday. All the more reason to enjoy it and not blow it.