Cheap Drinks

Colt Classic

What to buy with $3

By John Chandler March 2, 2010

Last night. (Below) This morning.

I feel your pain. Lest you think the Bar Pilot is some hoity-toity, well-to-do toffee-nosed twit with more dollars than sense, I would just like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that our current state of economic suck-it-tude also affects those of us whose business it is to booze.

Contrary to popular opinion, my office is not stacked floor-to-ceiling with complimentary bottles of Napoleon brandy. Nor do I spend my days sitting in a leather easy chair sipping single malt scotch with my feet propped up on a nearby intern. Sadly, my discretionary budget for drinking and gadding about town is roughly equal to that of Greenland’s highest-paid comedian.

Take yesterday for example, For myriad reasons (my losses at the Baccarat table have been staggering) I was reduced to my last $3 in spending money. Ordinarily I would simply whip out my Mastercard, but I recently discovered that my identity has been pilfered by a juvenile delinquent from Sandusky, Ohio who maxed out my credit on internet porn.

To further complicate matters, there was a Trail Blazer game on TV, and I will not watch a televised sporting event without a beer in hand. I can’t. I won’t.

So I swallowed my pride, went to the corner quickie mart where I am revered as a connoisseur of name-brand swill, and bought a 40-ounce bottle of Colt 45 malt liquor. Mr. Lee rang me up and eyeballed me with newfound contempt, like I was a priest buying a copy of Hustler. Big deal, right? I mean, this is what we drank all the time before the advent of employment. And for $2.74 it didn’t break the bank.

Still, I can’t remember the last time I was reduced to such a pitiable financial state. In order to fool my snobby sensibilities I poured my purchase into a glass normally reserved for a premium ale.

How did it go? Not too bad. I’ve had much, much worse beer in my life. Colt 45 is a relatively smooth and full-bodied brew, and what it lacks in nuance, it more than makes up for with a buzz factor that’s off the charts. In terms of bang for your buck, Colt 45 is the motherlode.

On the downside I had neglected to eat dinner so I soon found myself lost at sea. It’s been my experience that when one tipples in excess with a top-shelf spirit even the resulting intoxication is usually more of a charmingly comic episode. That extra change you’ve plunked down for the good stuff means you’re typically on solid ground even whilst inebriated. Not so with cheap malt liquor. It was a reckless sort of a drunk, like one attained by an underage drinker with hooch stolen from Mom and Dad’s liquor cabinet. I was unsteady and not terribly witty and my dogs stared up at me with alarm in their little brown eyes. I was an unfrozen caveman—a graceless savage and soon I was snoring away on the couch with x’s for eyes.

This morning I awoke with a sour taste in my mouth but thankfully no hangover. Which leads me to ask: What happened to me? I used to drink 40s all the time. I was a happy prole. A lovable lout. Have I become an effete member of the upper crust? A shameless elitist with no soul?

What do you say drinking buddies? Is the consumption or alcohol a matter of economics? Is it worthwhile to drink cheap or are you better off abstaining until you have the coin for something decent? After the age of 40 are you required to maintain your dignity 24-7? As for me, I’m not in a hurry to quaff another Colt, but it was not without its brutish charms.

After all, it’s good enough for Lando Calrissian.

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