How To Pimp Your Budget Booze To Make It Less Crap Than It Actually Is
The Debrief: If you regularly spend less than a tenner on a paint stripper bottle of vodka, this one's for you.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that summer is expensive. The minute the sun starts shining you have to buy leopard print sandals, slightly disappointing fake tan, train tickets to places on the coast and undercooked burgers from pop-up wooden huts. And nothing sucks the pennies from your account like drinking during summer - as the mercury creeps up, so does the price of booze, along with the expectation that you should be drinking it out of a plastic cup in a car park that’s been decked out with fairylights and fake flowers.
So what happens when you’ve spent all your money but still want to keep drinking with reckless abandon under cloudless skies? Well, you turn to the rubbish booze you’ve got lying around at home, pimp it up so it’s not quite so disgusting, take it to the park and relive your early teenage years in a haze of cheap alcohol and regret. Take my hand and let me be your guide.
Thought you were too impoverished for cocktails? Think again, because you can make a classic Old Fashioned using the stuff lying around your kitchen. Put some sugar in a glass, and dissolve it in a few drops of Angostura Bitters (this stuff is like a fiver a bottle and will probably last longer than your drinking habit). Then take that half drunk bottle of whiskey that your ex left and fill up the glass with as much as you dare. Add a twist of orange / slightly old tangerine / tinned mandarin, sit back and pretend you’re Hemingway.
Rubbish Red Wine
Now, there are few greater pleasures than a glass of good red wine – but note I said 'good'. Everyone knows that shit red wine is an acidic hell that will burn your tongue and make your spew look like a crime scene. So, take the bottle your cheapskate friend took round when you offered to cook dinner and turn it into the drink responsible for all too many holiday shags – sangria. All you need is some lemonade, oranges, raspberries and any spirits you have lying around. Chuck it all into a bowl, mix it up and paint the town red (metaphorically and possibly literally).
Can of shit cider
We’ve all got one rolling around in the bottom of our fridges, probably brought to a house party a year ago by a guy called Kev who wore a cap and nobody seemed to know. Yes, White Lightening is rank, but throw it in the freezer for a while to get it really super cold (somehow it’s less offensive when icy as hell), then pour it into a glass with a little of your trusty Robinson’s fruit squash. Add a squeeze of lime if you have it, and a few ice cubes. It’s hardly a sophisticated Swedish cider, but it’s a bit more convincing this way, and if you neck it by the pint you’ll get merry quick as a flash (which is probably the point, let’s be honest - we’re all friends here).
Unopened bottle of Brandy
Usually gifted by a kind-hearted but misguided family member, most flats have a solitary bottle of brandy kicking around. It’s a difficult drink to know what to do with, and probably hasn’t been cool since the 70s, but where there’s a will there’s a way. Sounds weird, but in times of need I’ve drank it with Diet Cherry coke, for a kind of sweet and sour taste that’s not at all unpleasant. Alternatively, try the poor girl’s version of a Sidecar cocktail – swap Cognac for plain old OJ, double your measures and squeeze in some lemon for a bit of zest.
Thought you’d swapped the days of Sainsburys basics for the high life of an Absolut drinker when you graduated? Think again. Even though it tastes like paint-stripper on its own, cheap vodka is actually great to use as a base for drinks because it kind of goes with everything. Personally I’m a big fan of running to the corner shop and picking up as many 55p cartons of Rubicon as I can carry, then using them to mix with my Glens in a martini glass. Vodka and lychee? SO fucking sophisticated.
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