As I slowly marinade in my own juices in isolation, my drinks cupboard is starting to look worryingly bare. I mean, I’ve been hitting the piss a bit in recent times, but in my defense, there’s really not much else to do right now other than enjoy a beverage or two on the couch in front of Tiger King.
If your alcohol collection is anything like mine, it’s probably sorted into three main categories:
- Bottles of stuff that I’ll actually drink, like gins and vodkas and that type of business;
- Good shit that I’m saving for special occasions, like bottles of champagne that come in their own handsome cardboard display boxes; and
- Random shit that people left after a party or that we bought to make cocktails and never used again, that now sits in the very back, aka the forbidden drinks.
At this point several weeks or months into isolation – I dunno, time doesn’t really matter anymore – my everyday supplies are starting to dwindle, and I’m still optimistically saving the good shit for a time when this is all over and we can go back to being people again.
This means that the forbidden drinks are starting to look more and more tempting. In the interests of investigative journalism, I went to the darkest recesses of my cupboard and ranked them all, based how desperate I’d need to be to actually consider cracking them open.
Criteria for this very scientific study included smell, colour, how long the drink in question has been sitting there open, and how similar it looks to some sort of bodily fluid. Here are my rigorous conclusions:
I bought this when I was half cut on a winery tour in around 2014, thinking it would be really cute to make some of my own mulled wine in the winter. How naive I was to think I was the kind of person who can just do things like that on a whim. This jar has now been with me through at least two house moves, quietly taunting me in German. Do mulled wine spices go off, or do they get better with age? It’s mostly star anise, right? My anise is clenching. Honestly, at this point, I don’t think it would take all that much for me to crack this open and get fücked üp on mulled wine. Desperation level: 3/10.
‘Advokaat’ is Dutch for “that shit your nanna keeps on a high shelf in her house.” Mine definitely had around fifty bottles of this and other similar stuff, all different colours, and all with that unpleasant, slightly cummy texture, where the liquid sticks to the sides as you move it around. When I opened this one up to have a smell, clumps of it were stuck under the cap like crud in a sock, and they flaked off and blew all over the kitchen. Yummy. Things are grim in isolation but not that grim. I’m taking a hard pass on this one for now, sorry nanna. Desperation level: 8/10.
Some red shit in a pirate skull:
The label tells me that this one is blood orange margarita flavoured cocktail mix – pour in some tequila, mix it up with ice and it’s a PARRRRRRRRTY. Pirate humour! This one was a Christmas gift a few years back, and I think I was holding onto it in a “waiting on the right time to crack it open” type situation. Well guess what, matey? That time might be today. This red pirate juice actually looks like just the thing to liven up a dull day in isolation, and then I’ll have a cool skull glass left over. Well done on holding on to this one, past me. Desperation level: 1/10.
Cointreau is an orange flavoured liqueur used in the kinds of cocktails that I definitely can’t be fucked making, even with all this time on my hands. It smells delightfully fresh and fruity though, so I’ll probably be drinking it for breakfast a few weeks from now while contemplating the state of the world. Desperation level: 5/10.
Once as a kid I swiped a bottle of this stuff from my parents and drank it out of boredom, then the next morning I puked blue while regretting every decision that led me to that point. Years later those wounds are still too fresh. I’m not going near this stuff unless things really go to shit in the next few weeks. Desperation level: 9/10.
This one looks and smells like absolute f’kn paint-stripper, but the man on the label is so happy, in his little hat, standing outside his little mountain chalet with his little walking stick. Remember going to Europe? Remember going outside? I might just cue up a Spotify yodelling playlist and chug the rest of the bottle. This is, as 2018 me would have said, a mood. Desperation level: Sad Face Emoji/10.
Strawberries and cream Baileys:
This one is maybe the most forbidden of all the forbidden isolation alcohols. Part of me is worried that I’ll try it and it’ll be disgusting, but part of me is worried that I’ll try it and absolutely fucking LOVE IT. Then I’ll be that person who drinks strawberries and cream-flavoured Baileys. Can I really become that? When all this is over, will I be drinking it out of a shoe? Desperation level: Fucked if I know but I think I have to try it and find out/10.
So there you have it, folks. Happy isolation, and may your drinks cupboard be bountiful so you don’t have to resort to these types of decisions.